Over the past 8 years, I have been continually fascinated by the Chinese 5 Elements system and how it provides so ways to support our bodies with the seasons of nature. There are other systems like Ayurveda that also have beautiful ways of doing this but 5 Elements theory has always drawn me.
I thought some of this information might be beneficial for you to as a way to look at how to support your body in this spring season.
So let’s dive in…
The organs associated with the Wood Element and Spring are the Liver and the Gallbladder. That means that spring is a nice time to support your body with cleansing (I always recommend gentle cleanse work and getting support from a professional on this. I’m no expert on this topic but can connect you to others as a resource. You can also add some of the foods listed at the end of this post to your diet).
The associated emotion of the Wood Element and the Liver and Gallbladder is anger so this is a powerful time to also reflect on anger in your life and to help clear old stored up anger from your body and mind. Anger in a balanced state is about movement so when we don’t let it move, that’s when we get more explosive anger that can be unpleasant or scary.
The movement energy of Wood is about expansion and growth which perfectly reflects springtime and coming back to life after winter. How can you support those energies in your life?
The taste that supports the Wood Element is sour and some foods that are beneficial to eat to support the Wood Element in the spring include:
Leafy Greens, Lemons, Vinegars, Saue
Take a few minutes to think of ways you can easily add a little Wood Element support to your life in the next few weeks. I’d love if you share in the comments what approach you are taking to nurture this element in this season.
We are quickly approaching the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice, which happens on December 21 this year.
I’ve always found that particular day a powerful time both symbolically and energetically. As we experience the shortest day of the year and the most darkness, it can be a time to go inward, to reflect, and to get ready for a new cycle and new beginnings. It has also been a time where it is said that the veils between dimensions is thin and a powerful time to connect with Earth energies.
In a year as intense as 2020 has been, taking some time for reflecting and releasing seems particularly important.
This particular Winter Solstice seems extra potent because it coincides with the Great Conjunction, an event that happens once every 20 years, when both Jupiter and Saturn align in the same degree of the same zodiac sign.
While I am certainly not an astrological expert, reading about this particular event highlights this as a powerful moment for change and new beginnings. Some astrologers point to this time as a shift to a new era where we are more focused on community-based living and shifting away from big business and big government. It is also heralding a potential shift to focus on equality and our deep interconnectedness.
Since this is a particularly potent moment in time (which happens a week after a solar eclipse), I thought I would share a simple idea of a ritual to help you use this time for your own healing and growth.
Make sure you have a bit of time to be undistracted and focus on this simple ritual. You can do it alone or with family or friends.
Begin by taking a few deep breaths and allowing yourself to become more fully present in the moment. As you become present, use any grounding practice you like. I like to visualize a cord coming down from the bottom of my spine and into the earth. I prefer to see it as wide as my hips but you can use what feels good to you. Allow yourself to take a few minutes connecting the the Earth’s energy.
Spend some time listing the different things that you are ready to release as this cycle comes to an end and a new one begins. I like to do this on a piece of paper that I can burn so you might not want to write in a journal for this. What things are holding you back? What things are you ready to let go of?
On a separate page, you can journal or reflect on what new things you are calling into your life during this new cycle and new beginning. Try to be as specific as you can.
After you’ve written your lists, you can read the list of what you are releasing out loud, saying goodbye to each item on the list and then burning the list at the end.
There are definitely other ways to work with this powerful day but I find this is a simple ritual that is easy to do.
If you are wanting to dive deeper into using the power of this time for your own healing and transformation, I invite you to check out my virtual retreat on December 19 or my group healing session on Winter Solstice.
Yesterday morning I made a big mistake in how I started my day…
While I typically begin my day with my exercise routine and meditation to get physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the day that’s ahead, yesterday I got on my computer to send a login to my website designer that she needed.
When I logged on to my computer, I happened to see something related to politics and the elections that triggered me…
While I believe that I would have still been triggered by this particular article had I seen it a few hours later, because I wasn’t really grounded in my body and I hadn’t meditated and centered myself, reading what I read sent me down a spiral.
I felt waves of emotion wash over me, some fears that had been hanging out in the back of my mind came to the front to take hold, and I felt tension fill my body and a headache start.
The result was that I was completely thrown off kilter for the whole day.
I truly believe had a done my morning practices, I might have bounced back a bit more easily but since I hadn’t the emotions I was suddenly swimming in seemed to take over the day.
I share this story because I truly believe that it is ESSENTIAL these days that we practice good self-care, that we develop our own key practices that we use daily AND that we also have some boundaries for ourselves around all the information we can be bombarded with– from social media to the news to family and friends sharing things they are reading and hearing.
As the 2020 election approaches here in the US, I believe there will be more and more pieces of news and information that can be triggering to us and that we need to work to stay grounded and centered, to set and maintain good boundaries, and to practice good self-care.
If self-care is a challenge for you, stay tuned as next week I’m hoping to release a little digital self-care toolbox that you can purchase for a very affordable price (just $19!).
Here’s to taking good care of ourselves!
I have to be honest… I used to spend more time listening to my body every day. It feels vulnerable to admit that since I’m so passionate about the message of listening to our bodies but that’s the truth.
I had a routine of starting each day with meditation and with gentle, mindful movement inspired by therapeutic yoga.
Somewhere along the way, probably about 6 years ago, I got busy focusing on my relationship and my morning routine got put in a box on a shelf that I would get back to “later.”
Yet 6 years later, I still struggle to find the depth of that morning practice that I once had. Yes, I do still meditation but I’m less consistent with it. Now I focus on starting my day with cardio exercise, which is also very important to my body and health, but that slow, meditative movement practice is still long gone from my mornings…
Looking back, that morning practice was an important part of how I tuned into my body-mind, how I listened to what my body needed, how I prepared my body– my vehicle for life– for the day ahead.
This practice also supported my mind and helped me feel in touch with my emotions, my thoughts, and what I really needed for that day.
Lately I’ve been working with a somatic therapist and one of the themes I’ve been exploring is coming back to a deeper listening to my body and what it needs…
It has gotten easy to get caught up in the to-do lists, “shoulds,” and productivity and to forget to slow down and ask my body-mind what does it need today.
After last week’s therapy session, the answer was putting on a salsa station and dancing my butt off in our living room! I can’t remember the last time I did that and yet it brings me such joy to move and dance to the music! I’ve been doing a lot more of that in the last week.
Today the answer was walking in my new favorite park, breathing fresh air, and connecting to nature. And then sitting on my favorite bench there and meditating out in nature, as well as writing this blog post in my journal.
I’m reminded of the saying we are human beings, not human doings and yet it is easy to get caught up in the doing…
I’m committing to more being, more listening, more slowing down and really asking my body, “What do you need today?”
The past 6 months have been challenging in some very unique ways. While the first few months of being at home, I felt a burning passion to use my tools and skills to serve others, by June my energy was flagging and my body was signaling to me that I really wasn’t as ok or as unaffected by the situation as I was telling myself.
I’ve spent some time slowing down, getting out in nature and recommitting to listening to what I really need on a deep level.
I hope reading this post inspires you to reflect on how you have or haven’t been listening to your own body.
Have you been caught up in the mental chatter, the stress, the fear Or are you taking time to really listen to what your body needs and to honor that in your daily life?
If we don’t listen, as my own health crisis in my mid-20s taught me, our bodies resort to screaming at us. And I certainly don’t want to go back to that…
There are some “spiritual” schools of thought that seem to lead us to believe we should always be happy, upbeat, joyful, grateful, and only things that are positive.
And that if we feel anything less than that, well we aren’t doing our work or that we are doing something “wrong.”
Yet this constant false positivity is dangerous because it doesn’t allow us to acknowledge where we are at in the present moment and that it is part of being human to sometimes feel less than amazing.
I believe it can even contribute to things like illness when we are constantly suppressing how we feel.
We all experience up and down cycles within our emotional and mental states.
It would be unreasonable to think we should always be positive, upbeat and happy and never experience feelings of sadness, frustration, or depression.
In my own life, I have come to observe this pattern where after weeks of feeling good about life, in the flow, and happy, then I hit a low patch.
In the low, everything feels heavier, more challenging, more emotionally overwhelming. Feelings of sadness, grief, or frustration can come to the surface. The low definitely doesn’t feel so good.
In fact, right now, I am in a little bit of a low.
Yet when I start getting into thinking that I should resist the low, force myself out of it, or when I judge or blame myself for experiencing the low, that is when things get worse.
It is natural to experience this ebb and flow cycle in life and the more we push against the low, get frustrated by it, or judge or blame ourselves for feeling it, the harder it becomes to move through it.
Resisting the low or thinking negative thoughts about ourselves because of the low doesn’t honor that it is a part of our natural cycles of life AND it also makes certain feelings and emotions seem WRONG.
If you are sad and down, allow yourself to feel those feelings.
If you are frustrated and feel stuck, again allow yourself to feel those feelings too.
ALL EMOTIONS ARE JUST ENERGY.
When we give ourselves space to simply be present with what we are experiencing and we get curious about if there is a deeper meaning or message to how we are feeling that we need to examine, things can begin to move and shift in a very natural way.
When we fight the feelings or we suppress them, the energy of them often grows stronger and it becomes harder for it to dissipate.
It is only when we become stuck in the negative and spiral downwards over a longer period of time that it becomes problematic.
If, instead, we feel our feelings, whether we see them as positive or negative, and we let them show us what we need to see, that is where true healing and transformation can occur.
INSIDE I CRINGED WHEN EVERY CONVERSATION BEGAN WITH “HOW ARE YOU FEELING??”
After I was told (incorrectly) that I had leukemia back in 2004, I remember feeling like all the parts of me, all of the pieces of my identity that had existed before were gone.
The Lyn that was the daughter, the friend, the grad student, the dancer, the healthy and alive woman… all the parts of me, suddenly disappeared.
One minute all those parts of me existed and in that instant of hearing that I had cancer, it was like “poof” those parts of me were gone.
In the months that followed my diagnosis, I felt like the only part of me that was seen by anyone was “the sick person” or “the cancer patient.”
Every conversation with a friend seemed to begin with “How are you feeling?” or “How is your treatment going?”
While it was nice to know that people did care about me, it was also extremely painful to feel like I was reduced to this one identity of sick person.
I longed for all the other parts of me to still be seen, acknowledged, talked to and talked about…
It felt really lonely to be seen in only this way.
Yet I felt like it wasn’t ok to say, “You know, I’d really rather talk about something else…”
WHEN WE ARE GIVEN A LIFE-CHANGING HEALTH DIAGNOSIS, IT CAN FEEL LIKE THIS ONE THING BECOMES OUR ENTIRE IDENTITY… LIKE WE LOSE ALL THE OTHER PIECES OF OURSELVES.
And it’s painful…
Maybe you can feel how much you long to still be seen as wife, as mother, as friend, as daughter, as business woman, AS YOU.
Because this diagnosis is NOT YOU.
Let me say that again…
THIS DIAGNOSIS IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT WHO YOU ARE.
You are still all of the parts of you that you were BEFORE you heard that diagnosis pronounced.
You might feel a bit worse for the wear, a bit more in pain or symptomatic. Yet those parts of you that seem to have vanished or be ignored are still there.
And it is totally ok (in fact, I encourage it!) for you to voice your needs and desires to talk about other parts of yourself and other parts of your life in conversations.
It is wonderful to say, “I appreciate your concern for me AND I also would love to talk about our relationship and the fun things we can do together today.”
THE LESS YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME AND IDENTITY WITH YOUR ILLNESS AND YOUR DIAGNOSIS, THE HAPPIER AND MORE WHOLE YOU WILL FEEL AND THE EASIER IT WILL BE FOR YOUR MIND, MIND AND SPIRIT TO HEAL.
When we don’t let ourselves become identified as this diagnosis, when we still acknowledge all parts of ourselves, we empower ourselves to feel more whole and alive.
And that is a powerful fuel that can be used to heal and transform your health.
Sitting in a room filled with hundreds of people there to see him was powerful. I was initially struck by just how amazing it is to live in a place that hundreds of people would buy a ticket and spend a day hearing such a thought leader!
The day was focused on the topic of “Becoming Supernatural: How Common People are Doing the Uncommon” (I highly recommend you check out his book with the same name!). Dr. Joe shared stories of people who had healed themselves from conditions like Stage 4 cancer that doctors said was terminal or a condition that caused partial blindness and resulted in a woman losing her driver’s license, her job, and her independence (again deemed “incurable” by Western medicine).
These examples were mind-blowing, even to me. I work in the field of healing and transformation and I witness amazing things like clients going off of medications for chronic illness and having more energy than they’ve had in over 20 years and yet the possibilities that Dr. Joe revealed through his stories were incredible.
Are You Living in the Present Moment?
For much of the day, Dr. Joe talked about how many of us spend much of our time living from subconscious programming. We wake up in the morning, begin thinking the same thoughts, go through our same routine (get up, make coffee, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, etc), and we are stuck living in either thinking about our past and all the horrible things that happened to us (traumas, people who wronged us, our struggles, what our parents taught us) or we are always focusing on the future (what we need to do next, how long it is going to take us to get to our goals).
Dr. Joe said “We are becoming addicted to a life we don’t even like—but at least it’s predictable.”
What we are missing is being in the present moment. It is only in the present moment that we are really PRESENT and it is from that space of the present moment that we have the opportunity to step into new possibilities that exist for us. As Dr. Joe said, “If you aren’t being defined by creating a new future, your brain is already in the past.”
Tapping Into Infinite Possibilites
Dr. Joe has travelled the world and teaches week long retreats where he works with participants to develop meditation practices that help them to detach from their bodies, their personalities, their possessions and work with different brain wave patterns to tap into the quantum field and connect with the infinite possibilities that exist to create whatever new reality (health, money, relationships, etc.) it is they are wanting to create.
One of the key parts of this process is to feel the feelings of the new reality before that new reality exists. It is in this way that we can signal our genes ahead of the environment.
He says, “To change is to be greater than your environment, and your body, and time.”
What is amazing is how at these events, Dr. Joe and his team use scientific equipment to measure participants brains during meditations and some of what is being observed is blowing scientists’ minds.
Observing My Own Patterns
Since Saturday, I’ve been spending a lot of time observing myself, observing my habits and patterns, noticing when I am checking out and going into an old habit or thought pattern. For one thing, I’m noticing how much I can get hooked into looking at my phone, checking social media, email, and more. This is one of the things Dr. Joe talked about was how for many of us, all these pieces of technology really reinforce our current identity and personality and keep us stuck in the past or future.
So now I am not looking at my phone until AFTER I do my morning meditation and am ready to shift into “work mode.” I’m noticing how when I feel bored by a situation, I tend to want to mindlessly scroll Facebook to “check out” and I’m working to curb that pattern.
I’m catching myself if I wake up in the morning and immediately jump into thinking about my schedule and all that I need to do today. And then working to bring myself back into the present moment once again. I’m excited to start working more with the meditations Dr. Joe has created and to see the transformation in my own life.
What Is Possible for YOU?
I truly believe in the power of possibility and that we can heal from any condition we currently experience but it takes discipline and changing habits and patterns of going unconscious. As Dr. Joe shared in the story of the man who healed Stage 4 cancer (with over 50 tumors in his body), it does take WORK. And sometimes we will feel resistance and not want to show up and keep doing the work but if we do, we have tremendous potential to change our lives.]]>
We chatted about my new book, “You Are Not Your Diagnosis,” how to listen to the wisdom of your body, and how to not have your diagnosis control your life!
Last week I was interviewed by Kole Hansen on her Warrior Women with a Purpose Podcast and it was SUCH a great interview that I wanted to share it with you all!
Kole is also a healer with an amazing story (which she tells on one of the podcast episodes) and we really jammed about the wisdom of our bodies, how things like illness are a wakeup call from the universe and more.
I hope you’ll take a listen and if you enjoyed it, leave a 5 star review on iTunes for the podcast!