Here in NYC we had an absolute Winter of Brutality, so of course we've been desperate for Spring. Every second of 40, 50 degree weather is like a tropical blessing. Soon we'll feel that soothing warmth of sun on our skin. Our eyes will be treated to pretty blossoms and lush greenery sprouting all around.
But right now in this early stage of Spring, you might also find some other things coming up too - like cold sores, acne, irritated itchy skin or scalp, aggravation, irritability, thirst. If you're experiencing any of these or similar symptoms, it's perfectly normal. It's just the energy of Spring surging up and out through your body - the very same energy that is responsible for the upward shooting of the soon-to-be snap peas, arugula, peonies, and tree leaves.
Spring energy is all about moving upward and outward, opposite of the contractive direction of Winter that pulls our energy inward for storage. Yet, this energy is not selective, it pulls everything up and out with it. On the one hand it's revving up libidos, raising general energy levels, inspiring new motivation, and simply making you want to go out and do more.
On the other hand it can also bring out any dormant toxins and pathogens hibernating deep in your tissues from Winter. Have you noticed your skin behave a little funny lately? Maybe a few blemishes, rashes or some dry scaly patches perhaps? Or maybe you've been a bit irritable and impatient, or outright angry in a primal, can't-control-myself kind of way?
This is the surge of heat and what we call "yang" energy in Chinese medicine. It's a natural characteristic of the Spring season. If you were an ancient Chinese person who lived in deep connection to the seasons and the movements of nature, you would know this. In fact, you wouldn't be the least bit phased by any of these symptoms, because you would know exactly how to create balance in your body, and harmony with the season.
So allow me to serve you a slice of this ancient 411...Here are some ways you can conjure up some double happiness into your lotus body this Spring, courtesy of my peeps from way way way back in the day:
OPEN WINDOWS: Now that it's warmer, refresh the air in your home by opening all your windows daily and leaving them open for at least 20 minutes. Put a coat on if it makes you feel a little chilly - it's worth it for the fresh oxygen.
INDULGE IN SOURNESS: Stock up on lemons, limes for their sour flavors - which cleanse and stimulate movement of your Liver. Squeeze the juice into a tall glass of filtered water with a tiny pinch of Himalayan or celtic sea salt to promote better absorption of the fluids. This is important now because Spring energy puts greater demand on this super organ of detoxification. Vinegars or anything sour and tart will also do the trick, so start making some pickles or homemade dressings. I personally love a good Chinese (or Japanese) sour plum, or two.
GET ON THE MAT: Yoga, pilates or anything else that gets your tendons and tissues stretched and awakened is important right now. In Chinese medicine we regard the tendons as tissues of the Liver, meaning of the same network or system. So getting them moving and stimulated is a great way to keep Liver energy flowing - which will provide soothing and calm to any out of control aggression or irritability you might be experiencing.
EXPERIMENT WITH MINT: This is an herb used often in Chinese herbal remedies that clear heat and calm the nerves. It promotes movement of Liver energy, which equals softer, more relaxed moods. It's also helpful in venting out skin rashes.
TRY CHRYSANTHEMUM BLOSSOM TEA: My current obsession! The perfect tea for Spring with it's ability to calm livery agitation, detoxify, clear heat, promote good circulation. It even clears the eyes and can soothe itching - which makes it a really helpful remedy for Spring allergies. If you can't find Chrysanthemum, Chamomile is a good substitute.
GET TO SLEEP BEFORE 11PM: You wouldn't believe the push-back I get on this one. But sorry, 11PM is not "early" for earthbound creatures of nature, which we are. If we didn't have smartphones, tablets, laptops and tv's we'd probably be in bed by 9PM. By the Chinese medical circadian clock, 1-3AM is "liver" time (not Miller time). Getting yourself into deep sleep by 1AM will restore your hard working liver, which worked hard all day to process all your stressors. So be good to your Liver - and go to bed!