Jorge and I are going through a huge transition right now. Never strangers to change in general, this isn’t our first foray into uncharted waters. However, this feels massive.
As fellow creatures of habit, I’m quite sure you can relate to this. Here’s what I know about transitions: 2 parts scary, 2 parts exciting, 4 parts inevitable.
During such undulating times, we have a few choices and believe me, we’ve considered all of them thoroughly.
1) Freak out. Tried that a couple of times. I’ve found that it is neither effective nor productive.
2) Pay close attention to what we all have but often overlook or undervalue: our intuition.
3) Leap….and a net will appear. If your actions are in alignment with your core beliefs, and if they honor your gifts and reflect your true self, everything will work out even if you can’t quite imagine how.
I love the way that transition is thought of and talked about in Chinese medicine. It gives me peace of mind and strength during times of growth and uncertainty. For starters, the spleen is the organ of transition, so it feels useful to explain a little bit about why that is and how we can support and nourish our spleens during dynamic times.
Think about the transition of seasons. Each season corresponds with a different organ: spring corresponds with the liver, summer with the heart, fall with the lungs and winter with the kidney. What’s especially interesting is that there is a transitional time between seasons that is governed by the spleen. Ever gotten sick with the change of seasons? This could indicate a weakness in your spleen energy.
Ok, back up a minute. The spleen? In Western medicine, the spleen is involved with our immunity. However, if it ruptures, becomes cancerous or disease-ridden, it’s an organ (much like the gallbladder or the uterus) that we can survive without. Not so in Chinese medicine. In fact, even if our spleen, gallbladder or uterus is no longer with us, the energetics of the organ remain and are STILL subject to imbalance, leading to symptoms specific to that organ.
In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is Queen. She is the Mother Earth, if you will. As Mother Earth, she is at the helm of the digestive system, and we must worship her in very specific ways. A weak spleen can lead to symptoms like fatigue, bloating, difficulty digesting foods, loose bowel movements, or insatiable sugar cravings. Who needs that? Pay attention to some of the ways in which you can nourish Queen Spleen:
- Start the day with a hot morning tonic.
- Eat until you are no more than 70% full.
- Eat warm, cooked meals and limit raw foods as much as possible.
- Eat slowly and mindfully. Put your fork down in-between bites (i.e. sloooow down).
- Avoid eating within 2 hours of your bedtime.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently (5 small meals as opposed to 3 large ones).
- Shop for and eat fruits and veggies that are in-season.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the brink of a transition, I often have a hard time letting go. Thankfully, there are energetic aspects of certain organs can help us understand why we get hung up or stuck in ways that keep us from letting go of things that are no longer serving us, or from transitioning into a new phase of our lives.
The liver energy is said to influence our ability to plan a life for ourselves and establish a sense of direction. If the liver is healthy and well-nourished, we have the wisdom and vision needed to plan our lives. If the liver is weak, we can feel lost or confused as to our life’s purpose.
And then there’s the gallbladder. The liver and gallbladder depend on one-another to perform their respective functions and there is an aspect of the gallbladder energy that contributes to fulfilling your life’s purpose. The gallbladder controls the capacity to make decisions. It helps to turn our drive and vitality into positive and decisive action. It’s no coincidence that we describe someone who has gumption and gusto as having the “gall” to do something. When it comes to letting go or taking steps towards change, we need courage and initiative. We need “gall”.
Our kidneys are involved in this as well. Chinese medicine recognizes that the kidneys determine our will power. If the kidneys are strong, the mind will be focused on our goals and will pursue them without distraction. If the kidneys are weak, the mind will be easily discouraged or might meander aimlessly.
The tome of Chinese medicine could very well be the Huangdi Nei-Jing, which was written by the Yellow Emperor who reigned in China around 3000 BCE. Here’s what he has to say about transition:
“The birth of everything is derived from transformation, and the death of everything is derived from change. Success and failure are determined by the struggle between transformation and change.” ~The Yellow Emperor
So leap and the net will appear. Or then again, leap knowing that you can fly.
*PS: We are not having another baby, moving or changing careers. Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough.