Spring has arrived and boy has it been dramatic this year! Chinese Medicine associates Spring with the Wood element, Liver and Gallbladder Qi, the colour green and the emotions of anger and kindness.
From the quiet of winter, spring and the Wood element are born. It is a time of incredible, irrepressible growth, both within nature and ourselves. Yang energy is stirring and the Liver and Gallbladder energies are heightened within us. When our Liver and Gallbladder are healthy we resonate in harmony with the energy of spring and the Wood element. We find ourselves moving smoothly through the world adapting easily to the challenges life throws our way. We are able realise our dreams and live life to its full potential.
Functionally the liver is responsible for over 500 metabolic processes in the body, most importantly aiding digestion and purifying the blood. The gallbladder supports this function by storing bile, releasing it on demand after the ingestion of a heavy meal. In Chinese Medicine, the Liver has the additional function of ensuring smooth movement of Qi through the body, while the Gallbladder is responsible for nourishing the tendons, muscles and ligaments.
Together they keep us supple and flexible, much like a sapling tree being able to bend and sway with the whims of the world.
When the Qi of the Liver and Gallbladder lose their health and harmony, they are likened to an old tree that is stiff and set in its ways, change becomes hard and it is likely to break in the wind.
As a pair, the Liver and Gallbladder energy are responsible for planning and decision making. The Liver energetic is the dreamer. It houses the Hun, or the ‘ethereal soul’, where our dreams reside. It’s where we see the big picture and come up with the grand plans. The Gallbladder energetic is the doer, it takes those plans and makes the decisions necessary to put them into action.
Anger is the emotion associated with Spring and the Wood element. When our Wood energy is balanced within us anger is the energy that instigates action. If our Liver and Gallbladder energetics are healthy we are able to see clearly, set goals and plan towards getting what we want without giving up. However, if our wood element is unbalanced, it is hard to see things for what they are and we meet obstacles with frustration and irritability.
When we can’t process anger productively, we often project outwards towards others with blame, violence or passive aggression. Anger goes from being productive to destructive and potentially violent. It’s this unbalanced, volatile Yang expression of anger that does so much visible damage. The Yin response is anger turned inwards with self blame, shame, guilt and depression. We become timid, lacking in courage and unable to make decisions. Less obvious, but equally as destructive.
On the other side of anger is kindness and benevolence. When we think of random acts of kindness our bodies soften and our hearts open.
It is this softening that helps to clear the emotional blocks leading to anger. Being kind to oneself, and to others, can help soften the response to anger, enabling more productive and less destructive processing of the emotion.
It is said that the ethereal soul represents the aspect of our life that allows us to perceive our interconnectedness with humanity and nature. Being filled with benevolence toward one’s fellow creatures, and having an understanding of where we stand in the big picture, can pull us out of the petty day to day and help to set us free from the turbulence of unbalanced emotions.
To keep the Liver and Gall Bladder energies healthy and harmonious, start the day with a little warm water and lemon juice followed by gentle yoga stretches like cobra pose, or some gentle twists. Walking is also an excellent way to activate the Liver energy. Bringing the essence of Spring into your diet with lots of green foods like snow peas, beans, leak, bok choy and spinach helps too.
Try our new Detox Tea: Green Tea, Albizzia Flowers, Jasmine Flowers, Kudzu Flowers, American Ginseng & Globe Amaranth.