I suppose it is a bit ironic to be writing my spring letter when there is 14 inches of snow on the ground. However, it is the pause of the snow day that has given me the opportunity and the time to actually sit down and write something. I love talking to you all about the elements/seasons/energies. It is so fascinating to realize how we as human beings actually fit into and resonate with the natural world. Of course, it is easy for us to forget that we are part of nature. It is my hope that with this letter you may be more able to recognize how the season of spring shows up in you as well as around you.
Since the winter is beckoning so hard for attention today with this somewhat unexpected Nor’easter, I will pay it a bit of attention as well. This snow day is a perfect example of what winter is meant to be for us. Unfortunately it takes mounds of snow in order for us to obey the mandate of the winter. The winter/water energy is about hibernation and stillness. The earth has taken its potential underground for a rest in order to gather its power which will become evident in the seasons to come. The days are shorter allowing for less activity and growth and more inward reflection and rest. This yin energy can prove to be difficult for many of us. Really our culture does not value the yin and the stillness. We are so over focused on the productivity of doing that we forget that the balance of doing and being is what brings wholeness and good health. The stillness can often resurrect fear or anxiety. Not knowing what might arise when we are still can provoke enough fear in us that we learn to avoid being still or introspective; or as my favorite poet Pink puts it, “the quiet scares me ‘cause it screams the truth”. Wisdom lives in the stillness, but we must allow ourselves the time and space to sink into our own heart’s wisdom and not let the fear of the unknown keep us from it.
I am hopeful that since you all have been stuck at home today, away from work, school and errands that you have taken the opportunity to simply… be. Remember the peacefulness and the restoration that can come from a break in the routine; a quiet, peaceful and beautiful passing of time in your hearts and in your bodies. These are the gifts of the water/winter that will allow for a reservoir to be established within that will fuel us through the more yang and active seasons. If we neglect the restoration of the winter, our health and productivity will be compromised year round. So I encourage you, and remind myself to honor the yin with some sort of daily stillness practice throughout the year. It does not have to be a big time commitment, only a commitment of intention from your heart to be present to your biggest picture.
The snow coming down outside is keeping me from my thoughts on spring, the supposed topic of this letter! So even though we can’t see much of the spring today, we hold out hope that it is forming its entrance soon. The spring/wood energy is actually rising up and beginning to pull the potential of the winter into manifestation. The buds will be showing up on the tree limbs and then the flowers will be pushing up through the soil.
The spring/wood has a lot more yang energy than the winter/ water. It leads the charge of new beginnings that start with those buds popping out on the branches. In the Chinese analogy of a kingdom representing the elemental order within the mind, body and spirit, the spring official is characterized as the general of the armed forces. That is exactly how the spring energy shows up in us and in nature. It has a plan of action which it carries out with clarity, direction and efficiency. Who do you know that operates that way? How are those attributes reflected in you? Are you able to have a vision, make a plan and follow a path that will lead to the desired goal? The health of your wood element is probably depicted in your answers to those questions.
The wood energy is very directive. It has to be in order to create what we know as spring. Think of the change that occurs outside from winter to spring. It is one of the most dramatic changes in nature all year long. If there was a “mamby-pamby” energy in charge of this transformation, it would never happen! Now, as with any successful general, there also needs to be a complimentary amount of flexibility incorporated into the execution of this vision and plan. If there is too much rigidity, the wood will snap! In nature this may show up as a dry and brittle tree that breaks when a strong wind comes along as opposed to bending and bowing gracefully to accommodate the power of the wind. In people this rigidity can show up as an inability to alter a plan or snapping at someone in anger or being so over focused on a goal that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
It is only mid February and already I have gotten emergency calls from several of you with reports of feeling extremely irritable. This tells me that the wood energy is indeed on the move. This spring energy is what motivates us toward spring cleaning, beginning a new exercise program, or brainstorming new ideas. It is a forceful energy that pushes it way through the hibernation of the winter/water to kick us into gear. Unfortunately it is not always a very tactful energy. It can be pushy and aggressive and leave us feeling that way as well. Pay attention to yourselves and those around you during the next several weeks. You will probably notice more horns beeping and blow ups at work and at home. The comforting thing to remember is that this is just the wood making its sometimes ungraceful entrance. It doesn’t have to be about anyone or anything in particular. It is simply nature’s energy moving through us. That perspective may offer some freedom from trying to identify who or what is making you so mad!
Anger is the emotion of the wood element. It is also the most creative energy. Let it move you and let yourself harness its creativity into something productive. I will do my best to balance the wood energy within you all during your treatments. Strenuous exercise and moving in different directions is also a great way to settle your own wood energy. Once the spring is in full bloom, the General can relax a bit and that irritability should subside. Then we can all get outside without coats and enjoy our favorite aspects of nature.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about this extraordinary time of year, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also visit our website and find previous letters and information about the elements.
On this Valentine’s Day, (and every day) I wish all of you, my beloveds, great love and connection. Please know that whether our paths have only recently crossed or if we have been on the trail together for years, I honor you and hold my experience with all of you as sacred.
With great anticipation and hope,