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Complementary Corner

Time for spring cleaning!

Renee Lehman

(4/2016) Wow! We are really moving into Spring! How many of you have felt trapped inside because of the Winter weather? I bet that you cannot wait to go outside and enjoy the warmer weather, longer days, and the beautiful Spring flowers! 

Have you ever considered that we are a hologram of the universe, so what is happening in nature is happening within us? Canít see it? When you look at nature during this time of the year, it is a time of beginnings and renewal, flourishing, growth, enthusiasm, and a lot of "activity." Overall, there is more activity, action, and excitement happening in nature during the Spring than compared to Winter. Now can you see the Spring energy within yourself?

Many of you are cleaning up your gardens and yards from Winter in preparation of planting, etc. Plus, you are probably doing spring cleaning inside your home by opening your windows to allow fresh air in, putting away heavier winter clothing, and bringing out your lighter spring and summer clothing.

In the same manner in which you are preparing the gardens outside of your home for planting, and cleaning out the closets inside of your home, it is important to consider a "spring cleaning" for body/mind/spirit! Get rid of the "things" that you accumulated over the cold Winter time that have you feeling slower, sluggish, and "heavy." How might you do this?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the season of Spring is associated with two organs within your body, the Liver and the Gallbladder. Other associations include your tendons and ligaments, the emotion of anger, the voice sound of shouting, the color of green, and the taste of sour.

In TCM, the Liver and Gallbladder have many functions on a body, mind, and spirit level.

The Liver is considered to be the "architect of your life" or the "commander of the armed forces in defense of life." Just as an architect creates a blueprint for a home, and a commander creates a plan of attack based on observing what s/he is up against, the Liver is responsible for assessing the circumstances within and around us, and creating a plan on how to flourish in life given these circumstances.

On a physical level, the Liver is responsible for regulating the smooth flow of energy in the body. These include but are not limited to: smooth blood flow and hormone release within the body, regulating the menstrual cycle, supple joints and tendons, and flexible muscles.

On an emotional and mental level, the Liver is responsible for the planning and organization of our life. It is constantly, accurately re-evaluating and reorganizing your plans to meet your goals, creating new objectives once goals are met, all the time doing this in a way that keeps you at ease while achieving these goals. The Liver is also responsible for the smooth release of emotional baggage that we tend to carry. Who wouldnít want to be able to let go of the "stresses" of our lives and feel more freedom?

On a spirit level, the Liver is responsible for your "inner blueprint." To have a sense of purpose, to take up your space, and to be able to grow and develop your spirit are things that you can strive for. What a great joy it is to feel fulfilled!

The Gallbladder has the ability to see what is "just and exact" to fulfill your plans. So, if the Liver is like the architect of your "inner blueprint," then the Gallbladder is the "site foreman" who carries out the plan. It has the ability to make determinations about what is "right" for you (the inner wisdom that comes from your Heart), and then makes the decisions necessary to carry out your life plan. Sometimes it takes courage and initiative to take action toward a goal Ė this falls under the realm of the Gallbladder. Just think about the phrase, "That took some gall!"

On a physical level the Gallbladder is responsible for the flexibility of your movements and proper coordination of these movements, and for healthy vision.

On an emotional and mental level, the Gallbladder is responsible for the ability to make good decisions based on accurate judgment, to be able to see all sides of a situation, and to turn resentment and anger into effective action.

On a spirit level, the Gallbladder gives us the courage to follow our own unique path in life, self-confidence, and the ability to follow through on goals while integrating the "inner knowing" of your Heart.

By supporting your Liver and Gallbladder energy, you can give your body/mind/spirit a good "spring cleaning," therefore, giving you the opportunity to revitalize your health. So, what can you do to complete your body/mind/spirit "spring cleaning?"

First, and foremost, support the healthy functioning of your Liver and Gallbladder (and thereby your overall health) by reducing the number of "stressors" in your life, and by changing the way you deal with the "stressors" in your life. Go for a gentle walk outside in nature! Give yourself time to be outdoors and "lighten up." Enjoy the Spring breezes, the fresh air, listen to the birds singing, and feel the healing warmth of the sun. This will enrich and relax you.

To deal with the "stressors" in your life, Shake them off! Shake your body from head to toe, all the while imagining that you are "shaking" off all of the pressures and tensions that you are carrying around. Shout, "I donít care!" as you are shaking off your burdens. You might just find yourself chuckling when you are finished, and we all know how healing laughter is!

Do some Spring Cleaning. This is the season of rebirth. Ask yourself, "What do I no longer need in my life?" or "What no longer serves who I want to be?" Donít be afraid to let go of things and let things flow. Look at other areas of your life. Let go of what you donít need (physical, mental, and emotional habits that undermine your health), and bring in what you need anew (accepting positive health habits that will satisfy your soul). By doing this, life will feel and look cleaner and lighter at the end of your "spring cleaning," and your life will have space for new things!

Reach Upward and Outward. On a physical level, do some gentle movements and stretches. Do activities that uplift your Spirit. Trust your heart and feed it joyful experiences. Doing for another builds community, which is good for our spirits.

Enjoy Natureís Bounty. Seasonal greens and vegetables are wonderful. Foods that may help the Liver and Gallbladder function more smoothly include: sour-tasting foods (like lemons, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, scallions, and vinegar), bamboo shoots, bee pollen, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger, and safflower oil. Also, avoid saturated fats, over-salted and over-processed foods (they may congest your Liver).

Finally, if you would like to participate in a program for "spring cleaning," TCM World Foundation is doing a Nine-Day Liver Cleanse from April 10-19th. Anyone, anywhere, can participate in this program because it is virtual! For more information and to register for this cleanse, go to: www.tcmworld.org/programs/.

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist and physical therapist with over 25 years of health care experience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA. She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

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