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Spring is a Marching Band

Published: March 19, 2021


At first the ground is cold. The earth, parts of it, are still sleeping from winter. Buds flower and awaken pollinators and people.

Action is the call of spring. Movement is the motion. It is more yang than yin. We leave the yin of winter for the yang of spring.

The element of spring is wood. The wood within asks us to bring a sense of growth, purpose, and hope to the body, mind, and spirit. Bright green is the color of this season, like the new growth we see everywhere.

Spring is the force of the diving board once depressed, now released, lifting us upward and out. It is vitality.

Look at trees for how to be. Reach outward while being rooted. Embody suppleness, flexibility, and strength. Keep your branches pliant like willows to avoid becoming stiff, grumpy, and trapped. Try not to hold yourself or your beliefs in rigid or fixed positions as they are more likely to snap.

Spring is a time for vision, momentum, and action. We can be with the season by closely matching its energy. Our silent winter seeds are awakened and ready to shoot upward, reach, take hold of things and be seen. We can reach and step into the returning light.

The energy of force opens. Doors, buds, ideas, windows, rivers, seeds, birth… they all need force at a certain point. Spring has the force to further growth. It is vigorous. It is a time of propulsion. We have other seasons for deeper contemplation and stillness.

Emotions can feel especially intense. When our growth is blocked, whether by ourselves or others, we can feel anger, frustration, and rage. It’s like we have all this energy but it cannot be released or directed in a way that brings fulfillment.

There is an acupuncture point on the liver channel called Qimen (gate of hope). It is said to help us see our “way out of darkness.”

See this time as an opportunity to guide a sense of purpose. Without purpose or direction, it’s easier to fall into despair. When in despair, keep it simple, not every purpose has to be big. Some days my purpose is to wash dishes and feed the cat.

The organs associated with spring in Chinese medicine are the liver and gallbladder. Liver controls the flow of chi. When we have liver chi stagnation, which a bunch of us have, we tend to be irritable, grumpy, stuck, depressed, and frustrated. What can we do to release the chi, let it flow free, be a “free and easy wanderer?” That is literally the  name of an herbal formula for soothing moods.

Everyone is different, so my suggestion is to find what softens you, makes you feel lighter, less aggressive, more peaceful.

When our liver is not bound up and restricting our energy, we can have kindness and patience for others. This easygoing, flexible energy attracts people, dogs, poetry, and sailboats as it’s easier to breathe and move with.

from Mary Ann Petersen, Eugene Friends Meeting (3/14/2021)