Spring is almost here! We can feel it in the air. The birds are singing, the sun is staying out to play longer and if you look closely, little baby buds are starting to peak out on the tips of trees. It is such a promising and exciting time to be alive.
For those of us who have made it through a long winter season and survived several pathogenic attacks, our bodies are in need of deep replenishment. It is time to slowly and gently begin preparing our bodies for its spring awakening. Resist the urge to jump into a shocking liver cleanse this spring, let’s be gentle with our bodies, we all need a little tenderness now don’t you think?
Our bodies have begun to give us subtle signs that it is time for change and that it needs a different life force energy to balance the energies of transition. We may be feeling sluggish, drained, stuck, or perhaps have experienced migraines or headaches, or are feeling overly angry or indecisive. Fogginess in the head especially in the mornings may have us reaching for caffeine or that extra cup of coffee to get going. Our quality of sleep perhaps is off as the earth energies shift and our bodies seek alignment, feeling tempted to stay up late as we begin to feel the charge of more sun in our bodies. These are all signs that our bodies – our liver specifically needs some extra love.
Change of seasons and daylight savings is a reflection of a deeper transition that is occurring deep within our bodies. We can help this process happen in a smoother fashion by observing nature and mimicking the requirements of earth in our own earthly bodies. Use this transition as a time to gently strengthen our organs specific to the season so it can provide longevity for us through the Spring and into early summer.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Spring time is the time of the Liver and the element Wood. It is the time of growing and a time of green. Our liver is where blood is stored and nourished in our bodies, as well the liver is responsible for directing the flow of blood into and out of muscles and sinews. Traditional Chinese medicine and Taoism also speak of the liver being the house of the Ethereal soul (Hun), which is defined as the tangible consciousness or the consciousness that lives on in other realms after our physical bodies die. It is the force behind our visions, imagination, direction and decision-making. Spiritually it is a guide to finding our true path. Cosmological associations are clouds, mist, tree branches and it is associated with the sixth Chakra – third eye. Therefore supporting a healthy liver provides a peaceful home for your Hun, your dreams, imaginations and goals.
The element Wood holds a strong energy of clear vision and goals, and the ability to bring them into action. This year in Chinese Astrology, being the year of the Green Wood Horse means that this season will be particularly powerful for everyone if we use it in a state of balance. For those born in the year of the horse or even those that were born under the element of wood, pay particular attention to your goals and visions and expand on them, you are being universally supported. Nourishing our livers, clearing away stagnation and gently rising up out of earth is a positive and exciting goal for us all this Spring of 2014.
If you have been suffering from chronic illness, or illness that re-occurs every spring, seek the support of a Holistic Practitioner to receive professional support to sooth or cleanse your liver and break the cycle.
Here are some suggestions for food/diet and lifestyle to help support us and our livers this Spring.
It is all about GREEN GREEN GREEN. Since this season is all about the liver and green is the color that nourishes and supports the liver, let’s get excited again about our greens! We have all enjoyed rich and heavy foods over the winter that supported our bodies through its hibernation, but our bodies are now craving something different.
Mustard Greens - Hold on! before you say yuck… let’s learn to appreciate the bitter beauty of this gorgeous green. Full and vital in body and color, crispy and yes bitter and spicy-hot, this green is so powerful for cleansing and nourishing the liver. Give it a try and you will feel her wake your body up to spring.
Dandelion Greens – simple and ancient, misunderstood and yet humble. Dandelion is a beautiful overall cleanser for the liver. No one can do his job!
Baby Kale – slightly more bitter than full-grown Kale yet delicate and gentle. This baby is happy to be added to other dishes, it knows its power and will get the job done.
Can you see a theme? Bitter, bitter and more bitter greens. Yes the liver is a tough lover, but we must comply.
Try this gentle plan for 7 days. We are moving into a full moon in Virgo on March 16, this is a great time to amplify our visions and intentions and clear our foggy brains. Enjoy these greens daily in all their bitterness;
2 – 2 1/2 cups of washed and cut mustard and dandelion greens together.
Wash greens and cut off a small portion of the stems leaving the greater part of stem to eat. Cut up leaf and stem. In a pot add a small amount of water and bring to a bubble, then add a tiny drop of olive oil. Add greens, sprinkle with sea salt, toss and cook uncovered for about 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and squeeze some lemon on top of the greens. Serve and enjoy. Eat alone or with other foods but savor the bitterness of these palate cleansing greens. These greens can even be enjoyed for breakfast if you are feeling extra foggy. Resist the urge to camouflage the bitterness of these greens with oils or sauces. Try to invite them in and appreciate them for their willingness to heal us. For children, baby Kale mixed into dishes will do the same job and be easier for them to enjoy.
Avoid the temptation to juice your greens or eat raw salads. In Traditional Chinese Medicine raw cold foods are disruptive to our digestion and our spleen. Although there are some of us that would benefit from small amounts of raw foods, the majority of us especially living in a cold climate would do better service to our bodies to enjoy steamed greens in abundance. If you choose to have some green juice or a raw salad, have this after 5 pm and not daily.
Upon rising in the morning, start your day off with warm water and some lemon squeezed in. Then follow with three glasses of warm water each with one grain of sea salt before eating for deep hydration.
Taoism speaks of the Hun being that which reaches for the qi or natural energy of nature, therefore increasing our time and intimacy with nature will serve as nourishment for our bodies, visions and soul. As it warms up spend more time connecting to the energies of budding trees, melting snow and the playful sun. However let’s not put away our parkas yet, as tempting as it is to throw off our winter wear when we feel warmth, our body is still in defense mode and invasion of cold will weaken our systems and leave us vulnerable for illness in the following season.
Make sure our bedrooms are clean of clutter and dust. On warm days open our windows for short periods to move stagnation. Vacuum under our beds and make sure they are free of clutter. Under our beds should be clean and clear at all times, placing a crystal underneath is beneficial. We need to amplify the quality of our sleep and dreams especially during times of seasonal transition and changing of clocks, to support our bodies and spirits.
Unplug your internet when not in use if possible, turn off cell phones at night and avoid sleeping with electrical devices in your room or at least by our heads. This will support better sleep.
Bring flowers into your home, especially beside your bed. Flowers will help connect us to the change in nature, and particular flowers such as Gerber Daisies give off a high amount of oxygen at night which will help purify the air and increase the quality of our sleep.
Essential Oils are always a supportive way to ride through transitions. At this time Lime, Lotus, and Rose Otto are particularly clearing and supportive. Add a few drops to your bath water or use in the shower, or simply anoint your body with a few drops when you are feeling especially cloudy.
Using a gentle body scrub on our skin once a week will lovingly help bring our skin back to life. Sugar or gentle sea salt scrubs work well.
Finally, support yourself by finding a Holistic Practitioner in your area to receive a few healing sessions from. Energy work, Acupuncture, Craniosacral Massage, Reiki and Shiatsu are some modalities that can be very supportive during seasonal transition to help move stagnant energy and revitalize energy flow.
Although there are stronger ways to detox and clear the liver using concentrated versions of herbs such as Milk Thistle and Dandelion or combinations that are common in Liver Detox kits purchased from most health food stores, it is best to seek the support of a Holistic practitioner for professional advice to make sure that your body can support the workings of these herbs.
Please feel free to leave me any questions you may have in the comments below, or for more a more personal dialogue email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy your awakening into Spring!