Hi everyone! In light of our current situation we are being invited more than ever to be with ourselves, our home, and to work from within. It is vitally important to stay connected to positive practices which keep us centered and clear. We can choose to not just survive this but to come out thriving if we set the foundational structure to our well being. Nutrition, meditation, exercise, creative activities, continuous education, being of service and connecting with loved ones are fundamental, tangible elements we can work with in order to strengthen our mindset and create a meaningful experience.
In the spirit of self care and continuous evolution I wanted to share this spring seasonal newsletter and offer some helpful practices as well as let you know about a few new things at Sacred Silence Acupuncture! Springtime brings a revitalizing feeling of new life, new opportunity and rebirth of perspectives. Through the rising yang energy of spring that takes us out of the peak of yin from winter, we are naturally more energetic and therefore should look to channel this energy into productive pursuits in order to ensure that it does not become stagnant.
Attention to cleansing the liver and gallbladder which is associated with the wood element of spring is vital, in order to authentically move forward without the weight of old beliefs, habits, and physical lethargy.
During the winter we eat heavier foods, higher in fats, and utilize longer cooking methods in forms of stews, soups, and congees. We eat grounding root vegetables that consolidate our energy during this time of hibernation so that we may burst forth during spring with a fully charged battery to seize the day and blaze a new path in congruence with the reflections and revelations we came to in the stillness of winter.
During the spring the foods eaten should be the lightest of the year. It is not necessary to eat as much as previous seasons. The upward and outward expression of the growing branches of a tree illustrates the expansive, ascension-like, and yang nature of spring. The foods we eat should ideally mirror this natural phenomenon.
Fresh greens, sprouts, grasses, and immature plants such as baby leaves embody this youth-like pattern of kinetic energy.
Ideally, we should strive to avoid overly salty foods and heavier foods because salt descends energy whereas heavier foods can burden the lymphatic system and liver, thereby opposing the seasonal energetic direction of expansiveness.
Sweet and pungent foods carry a lifting expansive character to them. Honey mint tea, and herbs such as basil, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaf are excellent herbs to include in the spring.
The liver is associated with the official position of the “General” in Chinese medicine, associated with the smooth flow of qi throughout the body. The general enables us to make decisions and move forth on them in a clear and concise manner. When the liver is burdened with chemicals, pollutants, toxins and too many heavy foods, the person can struggle with moving forth in an efficient and effective manner, becoming frustrated with themselves or irritable and blaming others.
Cooking Method: During the spring it is best to cook foods for a shorter period of time but at a higher temperature. When using grape seed oil, ghee, or coconut oil to sauté foods, use high heat and sear foods quickly especially when cooking certain meats. This cooking method allows the opening of the life within the food to be released, yet leaves the inside fresh and vibrant so that it can nourish us. When steaming vegetables and greens it’s best to lightly steam until the vegetables are a bright green and drain and remove them before they lose their color and vibrancy. Minimal steaming to maintain the fresh and crispness of foods is indicated.
Emotions: Emotionally it is good to remain equanimous so that our qi may flow around obstacles rather than stagnate and prevent us from expressing the aspirations of life within us. In this regard it also guards against us becoming derailed in our pursuits and destiny.
Exercise: Regular physical exercise and a short stretching routine should be emphasized during the spring season to prevent anger fits and episodes of depression, as well as maintain flexibility.
Perceptively, we should view obstacles as an opportunity to become more agile, skilled, and strive to bend around them. It is best to avoid extreme emotions or forceful exertion in forcing our way through them. Ask yourself the question is this flowing right, and if not, is there something else that flows more?
The metaphor of bending with the wind such as bamboo can be helpful in understanding this parallel to seasonal nature. This is different from passive aggressiveness or denying feelings of anger, frustration, or allowing people who overstep their boundaries to walk all over us. There is an appropriate expression of anger that is often valid when being overstepped and boundaries need to be calmly yet firmly enforced. Avoidance in confronting necessary conflict can also result in stagnation to liver qi. Strive to be solution rather than blame oriented, and pick your battles wisely. Some people are simply incapable of awareness in their present journey and not worth the exertion of our own energy to confront. It is easier to minimize or eliminate exposure to these types of people, as it will deplete the energy we have to give to our own creative pursuits.
Although many people in today's health culture have been excessively fasting, cleansing, and denying themselves of building foods, and I don’t recommend this to all people, cleansing and fasting is best during this time of year. Again, this doesn’t necessarily apply to you if you are already someone who is always cleansing or highly deficient in building foods due to dietary models such as veganism or vegetarianism. In this case, fasting and cleansing could actually deplete you more and damage your system further. If you are someone who has eaten heavy amounts of greasy foods and eat meat often, especially conventional meats not from pastured farms clean of pesticides, eating a meal or two vegetarian or vegan with a focus on fresh foods will support your body’s ability to detox during this time and is worthy considering. Again, everything is medicine, and time and place are also factors.
As a culture we get into trouble when blindly accepting dietary dogmas with no understanding as to where we are as individuals in relation to health, seasons, sourcing, or cooking methods.
Wishing you a free flowing beginning to your Spring season!