March Forth!

We are coming up on my favorite day of the year, March 4th. Why March 4th? It’s an incredible day: March Forth! It’s in the early spring, and what more perfect day to have the spirit of March Forth in the Wood element? 

So what does it take to March Forth, with a sense of confidence, clarity, organization, and an underlying peace?  

It takes a lot of things. 

It takes a lot of things that, actually, this time of year is all about. It takes emergence from our depths, without losing touch with our depths—and it takes a clear sense of direction: I’m heading for the light. 

Spring is a time of year when there is a lot of pent-up energy bursting forth. Sometimes this is expressed as anger, and sometimes as progress towards our goals. If this rising energy is blocked by a sense of hopelessness, it often becomes despair and futility, then we see many examples of illness that manifest internally or manifest externally. 

On March 4, we have an opportunity to catch this early, in the moment when we are returning to the time of light, but we have not lost our rootedness in the resources of the healthy dark.  

We can take the time, together, to do exercises, and to learn various practices to be able to be in touch with our depth even as we rise—to learn certain energetic organizational skills, especially around how to overcome hopelessness with realism and resource.  

When we speak of being rooted in the dark and heading towards the light, what does that mean exactly? In East Asian medicine, springtime is about the Wood element, and so it is signified by the behavior of plants. One thing we notice about plants is that their roots are down in the dark. There is a vast unknown that is unseen—that is, in fact, supporting the life of the plant. That’s true of us, too. 

A sense of direction is very important to the Wood element. It has to do with growth and progress, and moving towards our goals. When you look at a plant, what direction is it headed? You might initially say “up,” but that’s not actually true. That’s why you have to keep turning your houseplants on the windowsill. They are not growing up; they’re growing towards the light. In the microcosm of the human being, that light is the heart. We are growing towards the light of the heart.  

In ourselves, when we get angry—the emotion associated with Wood—that is the time when we are most likely to lose our sense of direction. One moment ago, we were about peace and justice. Then somebody pulls some crap and we’re shouting, “Off with his head!” Suddenly, we’re not constructive anymore. Suddenly, our goal has completely changed to “see brains on the pavement” versus “a better life for all of us.”  

So the question is, where am I headed? What is my goal? Can I keep my sense of direction even over rugged terrain, just like a plant? It doesn’t matter how many times you turn that plant around. It’s headed for the light.  

How about you? 

Would you like to learn more? Join me at the upcoming Wood/spring recharge event, March Forth! Or, find more spring acupuncture resources on my Wood Resource Page.

To join the discussion, find us on my Perennial Medicine discussion listserv (all are welcome)

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