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FEELING TIRED WITH CHANGES IN THE SEASONS

As we move into Spring you might expect to become more energetic.  Yet many people feel tired at the change of each season.  The Spring brings pollen and even if you are not allergic, your body fights against pollen’s foreign protein and this requires a lot of energy. 

This points to one of the most basic principles in Chinese medicine.  The body is like an ecological community, with each of its types of tissues like the many different species of plants and animals in an ecological community.  As the Spring changes the face of the landscape, so it changes the face of our internal landscape. 

In modern times we try to maintain a constant environment in our houses to overcome the changes in temperature, humidity, etc. outside.  Yet, no matter how much we control our environment, our bodies and even our minds and emotions are at the mercy of environmental and seasonal changes.

This is why many cultures have festivals for each season, welcoming these changes and preparing us emotionally for the fact that we are entering a new phase of the year.  We can do the same, for example, by spending a day in a park for no other reason than welcoming the Spring, or spending a day planting seeds.

We may like to think that our bodies are machines that we own, but the Tai-chi perspective (and that of most ancient cultures) is that the body, mind, emotions and spirit are all interweaving living energies.  The impression of ourselves as a single identity is a reflection of the relationship among all those “elements”.  When that relationship becomes rigid (because we cling to a rigid identity), we cannot adapt to the changes in the seasons of the earth or the changes in the seasons of our lives.

Rigidity leads to battling against the changes in the environment rather than adapting.  There is an old story about a Zen teacher walking with his student in the woods.  They saw an old man fall into a rushing river and the student was about to run to save him.  His teacher stopped him.  The student asked, “Why are you stopping me from saving that man’s life?”  Soon they saw the old man emerge downriver unharmed.  His teacher said, “That man is a Zen master.  Where the river flows in, he flows in with it.  Where it flows out, he comes out”. 

The quality of the Spring is to “lift” up the sluggish parts of yourself which were lying dormant in the Winter.  Your sleeping spirit has been wakened but is still groggy.  As the flowers blossom, your spirit will be affected in the same way.  The inside of your body is affected in the same way as the flowers.  It will take time for the stem to push its way through the earth but soon the plant becomes vibrant and beautiful.  Give yourself time to flow with the energies of the Spring.  Allow your “elements” to adapt and participate in those changes so that your internal environment becomes vibrant and alive.