chaos wild with grace
The Walk Between
The experience of transition times can be mildly to severely destabilizing and disorienting, yet it can also be immensely liberating and creative as one phase declines and a new one arises. More than any other seasonal transition, the chaos of spring is one of the most demanding on the body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
In summer we are nourished by months of warmth, light, community, and the abundance of fresh produce all fostering a sense of contentment and nourishment. Our storehouse is filled so that it can help sustain us through winter months. When autumn escorts us from summer to winter, there can be a sense of grief as the warmth and abundance of summer falls away. Yet there can also be a sense of relief, ease and comfort in surrendering to the forces of gravity as the demands of long days and outward movement begin to decline. In winter, our energies become more yin, moving inward and down. Like trees and seeds, if we allow ourselves to naturally be with this time and wait in relative stillness and dormancy, new life gestates and is nourished by the invisible realm.
The first signs of spring emerge in unpredictable fits and starts. One day is snow and freezing cold, another is filled with sunshine and warmth, while the spring winds continue to bring chaos and change. A new energy begins to stir within as the daffodils show their faces, small buds swell from bare branches, and migratory birds leave and return. One day we burst out of hibernation, only to be met by fatigue and a need for more rest the next day. By listening inside to what we are experiencing and responding with fluidity, patience, and care to our current needs, we are more able to find some ease. Flexibility is key.
Like seedlings beneath the earth, our energies are beginning to rise. Instead of the ease of surrendering to gravity like in fall, spring energies must move against gravity toward the light of the sun like seedlings pushing up through the earth. This negentropic movement against gravity requires energy. If we haven’t allowed ourselves enough rest and renewal in winter, energy stores will be deficient and there may be difficulty in meeting or grounding the more active, yang energies of spring and summer.
As spring compels us to action, there can be frustration when winter pulls us back down and in because it isn’t yet time. Or we may encounter some other kind of obstacle (actual or perceived) thwarting the smooth flow of movement. Perhaps a new project, or a new vision has been gestating all winter and you want to take action, but it’s not happening as quickly or in the way we hope for. Perhaps there is a lack of vision, ability to plan or make decisions, or for hope under the dark stormy skies.
Anger, frustration, and depression are associated with the wood element in Chinese Medicine, as are the liver and gall bladder, season spring, and the color green. The liver contains and filters the blood, and gives us vision (physical and metaphorical). The gall bladder secretes bile for digestion and gives us the audacity to take our vision out into the world. When imbalanced, digestive disorders, headaches, anger, depression, mood and energy swings can often flare in the jagged transition between winter and spring.
Frustration and anger are incredibly challenging emotions that we have few skills for working with. Yet anger, in its pure form, is incredibly potent and creative when allowed to flow in a healthy way. Anger often turns to depression and/or physical stiffness and pain when turned inwardly and stuffed. When unconsciously turned outward, anger becomes violence physically, verbally, emotionally, and/or psychically. There are ways to honor and befriend our anger—allowing its expression in a contained way to inquire into and understand its deeper roots. In this way we become more able to channel its power into something of value and transform the pain and suffering underneath.
Emotions live in our bodies as much as our hearts and minds. By nourishing the body, we also nourish the mind. At this time between winter and spring, our bodies still require warm soups, stews, and bone broths. Yet we also need to nourish the rising spring energies by supporting the liver, eating more dark green leafy vegetables, bitter greens, asparagus, sprouts, fermented foods, grapefruit, lime, and lemon. Avoid fried, greasy foods, sugar, alcohol and wheat. Rest when you are tired, play when you have energy and feel creative, but refrain from pushing yourself too soon. Honor your process by staying true to the inner signals that ask for quiet time and reflection balanced by honoring the movement outward toward new things and new forms of expression coming into being. Meet frustration and indecision with as much openness as possible. What do they have to tell you about your deepest truth? What do they need—from the heart? Is there any pruning that needs to happen to make room for new growth?
Whether we are in transition between seasons or navigating the transitions happening in our lives and world community, self care, slowing down, listening inside, and responding with as much self-awareness, presence and compassion as we can to all we encounter internally and externally is imperative at such times.
Acupuncture point LIV-2 Xing Jian/Walk Between supports these in between times. It is a fire point on the liver (wood) meridian. Making contact with this point with loving presence is like offering sunshine to steadily warm all that has been gestating so that it can grow. Xing Jian supports the ability to walk through the phases of our lives—between darkness, gestation, and the guiding light of shen (heavenly consciousness) centered in our vision and aligned with our deepest potential. The steady light of shen transforms frustration into compassion and joy while further maturing and ripening our true nature into its full expression.
May we all find the heart to warm the space between all transitions and polarities with awareness and compassion.
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ’Nourishing Change Through Connection’.