“How we treat the environment begins with how we treat each other”
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Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

Spring is in the air! Everything is seething with life and energy! Limbs are filling up with vibrant green leaves, flowers are poking their heads out of long empty stalks, and the birds’ squawking is like a new year’s celebration. Spring is the season of Wood. The Wood Element belongs to the Liver and Gallbladder. Its color is green, taste sour, sound shouting, direction East, it feeds the tendons and moistens the eyes. The Liver represents planning. The Gallbladder houses decision making. Together this Yin/Yang pair propels us forward; as does the Spring bring forth the shoots, buds and flowers.

Spring is the birth of Yang energy, the reawakening after Winter. Wood energy is forceful, vigorous, warming and expansive. It is the activating energy that overcomes inertia. Its movement is upwards and outwards. The Wood element brings a sense of hope, renewal, transformation, new beginnings, rebirth and reanimation. When Wood energy is healthy you are patient, forgiving, insightful and relaxed.

You’ll know when your Wood energy is out of balance when you have one sided headaches, stiff neck and shoulders, heartburn, muscle twitches or joints that feel out of place. If you are feeling overwhelmed by time constraints, pressure to complete your list, or angry because things aren’t going as planned, sit on a park bench, take 10 deep breathes, counting each inhale and exhale with your eyes closed. Open your eyes and soak in the colors around you, the noises of nature and the scent of spring. Tell yourself that all is as it should be and there is plenty of time to accomplish everything. Do this as often as necessary.

Wood energy is healthiest and environmental stress lowest when there is balance between today’s decision making and tomorrow’s vision. Visualize yourself in 5 years, laying out a broad course of action to get there and making decisions each day to bring those ideas to life which is the secret of Wood energy. The power of Wood energy is the ability to manifest your dreams. See yourself as you want to be, be creative, plan, and the energy of Wood will carry you towards your destiny.

We had our first spring rain today. The month of March was exceptionally dry in the Tampa Bay area. Today’s rain has washed away the pollen that has stained the cars, the tree buds that have draped the windows and the dirt that has coated everything for the last 30 days. It makes me think about the element Wood and what Spring has to teach us.

The emotion of Wood energy is hostility. Hostility is expressed as impatience, cynicism, competitiveness, self-centeredness or an exaggerated response to challenging situations. However, anger and depression are the most common emotions attributed to the Wood element. Hostility, anger, and depression are the most harmful emotions to the body, the organs, and related systems. Impatience, expressing anger or getting upset about uncontrollable circumstances activates the flight or fight response and release cortisol into the body. Prolonged excess cortisol levels weaken the body’s ability to regulate itself. Research involving patients with various autoimmune diseases is showing that cortisol dysregulation just may be the beginning of the autoimmune response. Healing these emotions begins with managing your control issues and releasing your attachment to outcomes.

The lesson of Wood is patience. If you learn to lessen the pressure of time constraints, develop empathy for others, practice smiling and even laugh at yourself, you help your body control cortisol levels, promoting a healthier you.

So, next time you find yourself tapping your foot, losing your temper, about to yell at the person behind the counter that doesn’t care about the last 10 minutes of your lunch hour, take a breath, smile and laugh, just a little, at yourself, let the person behind you go first and trust that everything will be okay. Not only will you feel better, but your body will be healthier!

The following article was written for TheEcoDivas by a guest blogger and my friend, Mike “Green”wood.

The holidays are over. Snow blankets the ground and the frigid mid-January air is more ruthless chomp than nip. Just as I have for the last several years, I am spending much of my free time working on my garden.

Well, I’m not in my garden – not much anyway. I am sitting in my living room making calculations, drawing up plans, ordering seeds and supplies on-line and taking time to visit the local horticulture supply or hardware store. Having a garden changes your relationship to time and the seasons. Some believe that it brings us into a closer relationship with the natural world. Compared to a typical urban or sub-urban life, I have to agree. But the horticultural revolution that happened thousands of years ago presaged something far different – it was the first step on humanities’ long path to subjugating nature. Well, attempting to subjugate nature.

The hunter-gatherer moves from place to place, using the resources available and then moving on. The gardener takes a piece of the natural world and separates it, declaring it his own kingdom even building fences to keep others out or domesticate predators like wolves and cats to patrol his realm. I doubt our hunter-gatherer ancestors had ranges which they claimed as their own. It was the gardener who first built permanent settlements and walls. The gardener laid the foundation for civilization.

Many of us yearn to bridge that very divide. While few wish to return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, we sense that something has been lost. We romanticize nature. We think dualistically about it: Nature is everything pure and innocent, while we are everything corrupt and debased. Alternatively, we view the natural world as brutal and unpredictable, and see our world as both reliable and just. We are alienated, not only from the natural world, but from a part of ourselves. In our psychosis we both glorify and vilify nature.

In the garden we confront the divide between humanity and nature at its foundation, a divide that extends even into our own being as “mind-body dualism.”  Gardening is a kind of time travel. We walk to the edge of that great divide and find that while it exists in our culture and psyches, nature does not recognize it. We can come to the beginning, when man was at the mercy of nature, seeming capricious and cruel yet beneficial and kind. But we bring to this place a power our ancestors lacked; we are in many ways only at natures’ mercy to the extent that we hold back this power. We can bring in great machines, chemicals, even enclosures of plastic, glass and steel while taking little notice of the seasons. We bring with us our modern mentality. Many of us do not often fear nature – and perhaps this is a good thing; but we often hold nature in contempt, an attitude I believe to be unjustified and even dangerous. Above all we survey nature and we believe we can do better.

Can we? Across the wide spectrum of gardening philosophy and practices there is a universal assumption that we can do better, from accelerating and augmenting natural processes to replacing those processes entirely with synthetic chemicals and machines. To assume we cannot improve on nature, at least for our own selfish benefit, is to abandon gardening entirely and become foragers. Even planting food bearing crops in the wilderness and then leaving them to themselves is an attempt at an “improvement.” Can we make such “improvements” respectfully, without contempt? Perhaps more important for our survival, can we make such improvements without being idiots?

How each of us negotiates the relationship between our world of artifice and the natural world determines how we garden – and gardening is an incredible opportunity for constant re-negotiation of that relationship. We encounter nature directly, which incurs choice between antagonism and partnership.

From year to year my gardening values don’t change much. On one hand, I want to grow the most productive, nutritious and flavorful crops as sustainably as possible, while being as cheap and lazy as I can get away with. On a more subtle level, I seek an honest communion with the natural world without the need or desire to pretend that it’s any more or less than what it is.

In a few weeks, I will be starting my habaneros, followed by peppers, tomatoes, then on to sprouting sweet potatoes . . . The frenzy of spring feels as if it’s almost upon me.  I couldn’t be happier!

The above photos are of Mike’s lovely garden.

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"The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit"
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