Happy Chinese New Year, Imbolc, and the First Day of Spring!
This time of year, beginning with the last new moon in January has the potential for recalibrating our sense of life. There is a tremendous potential for renewal, inspiration, and freshness. It is like being a child young and new. Yang is returning and below the ground, some seeds are beginning to sprout. It is a fantastic time to let go of the old, break up habitual patterns, and move towards the people and things most nourishing in your life.
"The three months of spring are a time of birth and pervasiveness. Grasses sprout and the trees bud. All living beings/things flourish in the new, dynamic qi that opens up and outward. People, like all phenomena, are included." - Neijing
For more information about all of this plus dreams, sleep, and conduct for the beginning of Spring please check out my Spring Begins Podcast.
To encourage spring to grow it is auspicious to practice acts of renewal and generosity. The first month of the new year is an important time to invite for a meal the people closest to you in your life as well as a great time to go out and meet new people.
"Spring is characterized by Wind. Wind is spring qi. It is the invisible inspiration that initiates change. It is unstable by nature and can be stormy. Patience, education, and modesty are the ways to develop and stabilize spring qi. The spring qi naturally rises out of the inactivity of winter and should not move too quickly towards the vitality of summer." -Liu Ming
Feel the spring, inspiration, and morning rising up inside of you. Find ways to encourage the growth of the hope that spring qi has embedded in it. We can find this hope in ourselves.
Seek inspiration with reading, studying, and going to new places. It is also a great time to begin the cultivation of new projects. As we evolve in our lives we need to let go of old patterns in order to break into higher levels of consciousness. This is the time for new years resolutions. If we don't shift stale and outmoded ways of being the summer will be difficult and tiring and patterns of illness may harden.
Spring "is thawing ice. It is a relief from the cold stillness of winter. The pattern of ascending yang (spring and summer) is accretion - acquiring and growing. The true conduct of spring is unpretentious - modesty, freshness, and openness" - Liu Ming
The conduct sensible this time of year all begins with the word MODEST. The main caution is to not try and use the little bit of yang energy available. Even though yang may be giving a few signals that it is back, it’s not really ready to be used.
There is not really a special food this time of year. It is still great to eat nourishing foods stored from the autumn, (root vegetables, winter squash, grains, beans, etc) as well as small amounts of toasted and/or soaked seeds and nuts. Micro-greens, arugula, mustard greens, and sprouts are perfect. Eat small meals more often rather than big meals. Refresh your appetite by being curious and modest in what you eat so you can recalibrate from old habits.
"One should breathe in the freshness of spring qi. Since spring is the season of renewal, one must not interfere with new growth. One should offer one's qi to help the new and weak survive and not kill. One should give not take; reward and not punish." - Neijing
"To be synchronized with the seasonal qi one should retire when night turns dark and rise early in the morning (dawn)." - Neijing
During this qi node, the energy is most vital at 3 am. If you wake up at 3 it's not a medical issue if you can go back to sleep easily.
"One should practice neigong in the courtyard (wearing loose clothing and untied hair). One should breathe in the freshness of spring qi." - Neijing
Qi Kung, yoga, or neigong should be done modestly with sessions of ten to fifteen minutes in the morning facing the north-east. It is best to let the yang qi play rather than overexerting oneself.