Half-way between the Winter Solstice (height of winter) and the Spring Equinox (height of spring) is the beginning of spring. You can see it in the quality of light, the slightly longer days, and the sensation that things are coming alive again. An impatience is growing with the cold of winter and some trees are daring enough to send out a few buds.
If you are feeling sick, fatigued, or easily injured this spring, remember the teaching of winter from the Su Wen
to go countercurrent [to the movement of winter]
would injure the kidneys,
causing in spring [impotence and deficiency]*,
through the insufficient supply for
the production of life.
*atrophy, paralysis, fainting (additional translations from the Chinese)
The remedy in this case will be recovery – rest like it’s deep winter and wait patiently until you are ready. There will be time for bud, leaf, flower, and fruit. No rush.
The 3 months of spring
are called springing up and unfolding.
Heaven and Earth together produce life,
And the 10,000 beings are invigorated
This movement represents the emergence of the yang – the force of warmth and activity, but it is barely here.Stay cautious and stay warm. Do not rise up too quickly and suffer the same effect as a plant who buds too quickly and then experiences a harsh frost… this will surely set you back for the next few months and maybe even into summer!
At night, one goes to bed, at dawn, one gets up.
We start to resume our outside work, our practices, after a restful winter. It’s time to re-begin some light exercise, perhaps a longer walk, but not yet a full run. The body is recovering from the short days, long nights, and cold of winter – and there is still more cold in store.
The direction of the spring is upwards, but SLOWLY at first. The yang and the year (Chinese New Year was last week) are young and fragile, like our health at this transition period. Now is the time to transition slowly to spring and pace ourselves for the spring and summer. Soon enough, spring will peak and we’ll be quickly approaching summer.
Let the year unfold and allow your movements to align with nature. Hopefully you’ll feel the ease of an inward-outward harmony and move through the year with a radiant grace and robust health.
For the full text of the passage about spring, please click here.
The text quoted is from The Way of Heaven, by Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Valleé, chapter. 2.