Tag Archives: spring

Vision, Action and the Element of Wood

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

In Chinese Medicine theory, every season has a corresponding element, spirit, sound, flavor, network of channels, and set of energetic properties. In Spring, the element is Wood, the spirit is Hun (soul), and the energy is action, renewal, metamorphosis, and growth. Spring is the beginning of the new cycle of life, representing hope, creation, and the manifestation of dreams and potential. Just as the world around us is blooming and flowering, we too are called to express the notions of our souls and actualize the inspirations of our hearts.

The element of Wood, deriving from trees, is the symbol of expansion. With deep roots in the earth, it stretches is limbs far and wide, reaching for the sun, bending to the wind, and winding its way around any obstacles that cross its path. It does not strive for perfection. It simply holds steady through the storms and advances, undeterred, toward its highest potential. The self-assured aspect of ourselves, determined to stretch farther and aim higher, is supported by how much of this element we posses. The strength of our own personal Wood element is what gives us the stamina and resilience to create, self-actualize, achieve, and persist.

The Wood element is directly connected to vision – both literally and metaphorically. When properly nurtured through action, activity and unobstructed expression, our Wood energy provides us with creativity, foresight and clarity. It drives our ambition and provides us with the courage and stamina to implement our wildest ideas and execute our boldest creations. As Henry David Thoreau aptly states, “In the long run men only hit what they aim for.” Where will you set your sights this Spring, and how will you harness the energy of the season to bring your visions to life?

Eat For the Season: A Spring Recipe to Soothe the Liver and Keep the Qi Flowing

asparagus“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

There is a symbiotic relationship between man and nature, both of which can thrive when we choose to live in harmony with the space that we occupy. Eating seasonally and locally is about much more than just being socially and environmentally conscious. The health implications can be quite profound.

In every season the foods that grow in our region have the added bonus of providing us with the taste and temperature properties that help our bodies adjust to the season. The cycle in which plants flower, and fruits and vegetables grow and ripen, corresponds with the changing needs of our bodies from season to season.

In Chinese Medicine theory, Spring is the season of the Liver meridan, who’s function is strongly associated with nourishment, movement, and the smooth flow of qi. When the channel is out of balance, symptoms such as anger, irritability, muscle aches and pain, stiff joints, spasms, headaches, red itchy eyes, constipation, and feelings of heat or agitation appear.

Foods that help to keep this channel system functioning well tend to be sour in flavor and green in color. Examples include citrus, berries, leeks, leafy greens, and vinegar. Conversely, greasy or spicy foods, alcohol, and amphetamines can have a negative impact on this channel system.

If you’re feeling irritable or stuck, or allergies are stalling your momentum, try this simple but delicious spring recipe to help get your body back on track!

QUINOA SALAD WITH SPRING GREENS & LEMON BASIL DRESSING

Serves: 4-6, Prep Time: 5 min, Cook Time: 30 min, Total Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar snap peas, remove stem and string and cut in halves or thirds (original recipe calls for frozen peas)
2 cups fresh arugula (original recipe calls for 1 avocado, chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small bowl or medium jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake with the jar lid on tight. Set aside.
2. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus and sugar snap peas. In a large
skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus, peas, and fresh
lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, sugar snap peas, and arugula. Pour
the dressing over the salad and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil and serve.

I found this recipe on: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/

Modifications to the original recipe are indicated in parentheses. Enjoy!