After several false starts, it seems that Spring is finally here & following the still & quiet of Winter, nature has begun to move.
And maybe you also feel the urge to move, to start new things, to dust off those ideas & plans that have been on the back burner for a long time, to get out into nature, see friends & take action.
Spring is a time of transformation
It’s hard not to notice that Spring is the season of transformation, new life is emerging everywhere, even under the shade of trees, what was bare ground only a few weeks ago is now a carpeted in vivid green leaves of wild garlic & bluebells. Plants are pulled inexorably towards the light, growing flexibly round objects in their path.
It’s also time for us to move, to start new things, perhaps to let go of old ideas & ways of being, thinking or moving so we can grow towards who we really are.
Perhaps you’re tempted to rush off in different directions but this year, like no other it’s important to be mindful of how we emerge from what feels like a 2-year Winter. If you read on, I’ll show you how to do this.
This is one of a series of blogs based on my learning about the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) seasonal approach. The element for Spring is Wood, the colour is green, the Organs are the Liver & Gallbladder & the sense is seeing. There is much to explore & I’m focusing on one tiny area & 3 questions for you to reflect &/or answer.
1. Who am I (how do I want to emerge from Winter)?
As we slowly emerge from Winter hibernation; like a butterfly from a chrysalis, you can take time to slowly examine your wings to ensure that their colour & shape reflect who you are now & who you’re destined to be. Personally, I’m determined that the life ahead of me reflects the changes I’ve made in the last 2 years & that I consciously fill the spaces left by no longer supporting childless women with what nourishes me.
It’s also the time of year to question old habits and ways of thinking, to let go of what’s no longer serving so you can move ahead with new ideas and ways of being which support you in this life now.
So I encourage you to consciously reflect on who you are & who you want to be & how what you do supports you.
2. What do I want (& which of the seeds I planted last year do I want to nurture)?
Each plant has only one way of reaching its potential, but for us, life is more complicated as we’re faced with an infinite number of choices. And answering one of the biggest questions of Spring is around goals, so ‘what do I want?’ or maybe Do I have a vision of what I want for my life?’ can be a challenge.
But it’s important, because if you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how can you decide which path to take? You could also ask Can I see far ahead into the future? And if not, what’s getting in the way?
I use these tools:
In my last blog I described my path as to discover who I am at the deepest level, to find my natural alignment, feel it & follow that feeling.’ That I saw no specific route before me, instead, it feels like an exciting partly completed canvas; there are features (such as yoga, creativity, travel, time with family & friends) so my task now is to draw the contours & add more to the map of my life, always using my values as a guide.
The seeds I planted last year
Last Autumn I wrote a blog called ‘what do you want to take forward to next year’ In it, I suggested that you ask yourself some questions & consider your answers as seeds, some of which will sprout in Spring & some won’t. I asked you to plant them in your heart & trust that it knows what’s best for you & will reveal it in good time. And to be patient & wait to see what emerges.
How they developed over Winter
And in Winter I expanded this, suggesting that setting these as intentions was like setting the compass of our heart, that you take them out from time to time, & ask whether they’re still important.
And which I want to grow
Now is the time to go back to each seed & ask yourself which you want to nurture & which you don’t, perhaps also going below the surface of each, asking what they bring to your life, will get you closer to who you want to be, or not & do you enjoy it, is it fun?
My list of seeds was quite lengthy &, after reflecting I realised that health is the foundation & enabler so that’s my main priority. I have other smaller goals which add fun & joy to my life.
So now you’ll want to develop those goals into a plan.
3. How will I get there (how can I use my imagination & creativity to see my future/path)?
In TCM, as I wrote above, the sense related to Spring is seeing, both what we see with our eyes plus inner vision, the ability to imagine and be creative. If you’ve answered the questions above, perhaps you have a vision for how you’d like your life to be, maybe there’s a specific path ahead of you, or perhaps there isn’t. Either way, it’s good to test your assumptions with questions such as:
Is my future one full of potential & possibilities & or is it limited, based on past experience or tunnel vision?
And if it’s limited, what’s getting in the way of being able to see clearly?
Seeing far head is a challenge for me. As I’ve written previously, I prefer to follow my curiosity one step at a time & as I write, I’m connecting the dots as to how this also shows up in my creative projects. For example, I struggle to imagine a finished embroidery project from a blank canvas with no instructions so here also, I sometimes take small steps. I also don’t like the discomfort of uncertainty, so other times I’ll jump in before I’ve formed a detailed plan & determined the outcome.
Knowing these things about myself is supporting me in harnessing my creativity to imagine the path of my life which reflects the qualities and gifts that I’d like to include.
If you see yourself in my words, perhaps you’d like to follow these wise words from my favourite book about this subject, John Kirkwood’s ‘The Way of the Five Seasons’ ‘The deepest Essence of Wood provides us with guidance for our life. When our Wood is in healthy balance, it’s gifts of vision, clarity & perspective provide us with the tools to know our direction & purpose. This guidance comes as a simple knowing. When we drop into that still place inside us, the way forward becomes clear.’
A final few words
I hope you’ve found the questions helpful in supporting as you move forward into Spring. If you only take one thing from what I’ve written, let it be not to rush off in all directions at once but be mindful in the ways you move so that each step brings you closer to becoming the beautiful butterfly you’re destined to be.
I took Inspiration from John Kirkwood’s book, The Way of the Five Seasons, Mimi Kuo Deemer’s book Qigong & the Tai Chi axis, Gail Reichstein, Wood becomes Water, Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life & Emma Peel’s teaching & training
Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear what you think & especially if you’ve found this helpful. You can read my other seasonal blogs here