From Darkness to Dawn: Adjusting to Spring

04 March 2012 0 comments
Just when it seems as though the darkness and cold are all I can bear, something wonderful happens:  the light changes.    Suddenly, but almost imperceptively, February brings the morning light of pink and longer the crisp white and blue light of deep winter.   I am not the only one to notice, you know.   With the change of light the birds begin to sing again.  You are smiling because you have noticed it as well.   This year it felt as though Spring might come early...but again, snow has returned.  A Spring snow.

A few weeks' back, I did notice the change outside and also many changes inside myself.   First, I began to feel "excited".  Spring always does this to me.  Not just regular 'excited', but the 'I can't focus because I am excited' kind.   This was my first indicator.  Next, I began to feel a bit "out of whack" -- but if you are experiencing this as well, you will know what I mean.

In Traditional Asian Medicine, we characterize the first week of February (around the time of the Asian New Year) as "The Waking of Insects".   Indeed, that first week I bet you did have one day, wherever you may live in this hemisphere, where it seemed as though the insects had returned.  It was pretty cold here most of that week...but one very, VERY sunny day...and we saw flies.   Strange but true.

With "The Waking of Insects" comes the beginning of the rise of the Spring "energy"...and you know you felt it and can understand what I mean.  The apex of the Spring is March 21, with the equinox, but the actual rise of the "Wood" energy begins six weeks' previous.  Thus, the singing of the birds and the changing of the well as any 'internal' differences you may feel.

The rising of this "Wood" energy (in terms of Asian Medicine language), mostly affects the Liver and Gallbladder -- and their concomitant systems in the body.  Common "Spring/Wood" symptoms which begin at this time include:  sinus difficulties, migraine or other headaches, eye problems/infections, ear problems/infections.   Sometimes dermatitis of the scalp can worsen during this time as well.    We can feel especially irritable and/or depressed ironically with the return of Spring because of the Liver channel involvement and/or very excited, very angry...for the same reason.   You can experience sleep disturbance or feel like napping constantly.  The one thing that people do not feel in the Springtime is:  stable.

Springtime -- the Wood Energy -- is associated with expansion.  Opening up to a big wide new world.  The Liver, it is said, houses the "Hun", the Creative Soul.   Creativity, ambition, productivity are all on the rise in Spring.   No wonder we can't think straight!

So...what can we do....what can we eat to help our bodies to better adjust to this that the transition is not such a wild ride?

Normally, we say that the Liver and Gallbladder like sour food.   They also like it when we eat green foods...things that move upwards in the a little plant breaking through the soil.    So...beginning in February, continuing through now...until around mid-April when you will begin making Summer adjustments, we eat for Spring.

Some Spring Eating Tips:

1.     GreensGreensGreens.  
Sauteed, blanched, raw in salads.  Kale, Dandelion Greens, Napa cabbage, round cabbage, mustard greens, lettuce, arrugula, baby or big bok choy.   At least two servings/day.

2.     GrannySmithApples.   
Yes, they are green.  True.  They are also sour.  Wonderful!  Juice them, grate them and eat them for a snack.  One per day.

3.     Lemon.                           
Put in your room-temperature water.  Add to tea.

4.     Back off on Bread.        
Baked flour is not your friend.   Cookies, crusty bread, cereal and crackers.  They can all 'stagnate' your Wood Energy, especially as it flourishes in Spring.   You will feel better and you will thank me.

5.      Green Juice.                 
If you have a juicer, try this at least a few times a week, every day if you can:  one granny smith apple, one cucumber (peel if not organic), one cup mung bean sprouts, four ribs of celery, one-quarter of a nappa cabbage.  Lovely!

6.      Mung Beans
Those teeny little green beans....make them into soup, salad, whatever.  This is their season.

7.      Mushrooms   
Legal and edible ones.  Eat them.

8.      Salads/Sautes
Use lighter cooking styles....raw salads, sautes, blanching, As the weather warms, bake less.

9.      Dream                            
You will notice that your body does need more time to daydream.  Allow yourself a few minutes per day to do this.

10.    Outside   
Thirty minutes per day.  It doesn't have to be to run a marathon...but nature is inviting you to its party.   You need the fresh air and frankly, it is impolite not to show up!



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