Matching an element to a season and an organ is a pretty foreign concept for us in the West, but the longer I practice and study qigong the more natural it seems to embrace this traditional Chinese concept. The more time I spend in nature, the more awareness and curiosity I have for it and myself. The more I feel the energy of nature, including my own, the more the five elements theory makes sense to me and becomes a means of understanding myself and nature.
Spring is the first season in the cycle of nature and wood is a good representation of this beginning. This season has the energy, the Qi or life force, of wood—like a tree rooting into the earth at the same time it reaches for the sky. A lovely balance, like the balance of yin and yang energies in spring.
In the five elements theory, wood is said to regulate our vision, both physically and spiritually, as well as our ability to adapt to the changes and possible obstacles that this fresh new season brings. If the energy we need to act on our vision and adapt to changes is blocked or stagnant, we may instead experience the energy of anger and frustration.
I know a woman who quits her spiritual practice in the spring and summer because she feels she is too busy with company coming and going. Instead of committing to the practice that keeps her grounded and honours her deepest calling for creativity, balance, and meaningful growth, she endures panic attacks and visitors and waits for the rains of the fall and winter to then recover before beginning the cycle all over again.
Instead of feeling the pressures of mainstream society’s spring season—more commitments, company coming, and gardening to catch up on—spring can be a time to match nature and be inspired, energized, and supported by the balanced energies of wood.
Working with the liver and its meridians—the wood element’s yin organ—can help to get our wood Qi flowing. When we have strong wood energy we can clearly see our opportunities for new growth, new beginnings, fresh and new ways of being. With the help of the wood element’s yang organ—the gallbladder—we can be decisive about our goals and act on them with calm confidence and wu wei, effortless effort.
Root down into what nourishes and supports you and reach for the sky to grow and blossom naturally in whatever way feels absolutely perfect for you on this natural and incredible journey. When life seems to get busy, it is even more important to commit to your practice—to move and breathe with the natural rhythm of your deepest self.
Lao Tzu said, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
© Sandra Tonn