the wood in me

one of the five elements is wood. its green, prominent in the spring and controls your liver and gallbladder. if your wood element is strong than everything runs smoothly. peachy if you will. if not, which is a common issue for most, things get a little choppy. and what i always seem to forget is physicality is emotional. and being emotional is physical. distressed livers can make everyday stresses seem unbearable. bothered gall bladders make the mind run in circles. constantly thinking, never relaxing. you can nourish your wood elements quite easily. drink more water. less coffee and booze. eat dark greens like spinach and kale. put lemon in your tea. than why do so many people have liver qi stagnation. a question i got a scooby doo clue to during my yoga practice tuesday. and i think i might have really solved something.

when i was in high school i played piano. before that is was violin. after college i was always carrying plates and trays of drinks. always using my wrists and lanky fingers. as a massage therapist, its nothing new to my fingers. but as far as my wrists go, with all the massaging and yoga ive been doing lately, there a little sore. so im sitting in yoga class, and i start to warm up myself before the class starts. without noticing it i put myself in downward dog and start to breathe.

it occurs to me here that although im attempting to, and have felt like i have been successfully releasing tension through my breath, my whole body is rigid. my shoulders are tense, my elbows were locked and all that presuure was hammering down on my wrists right where theyve been sore. my ankles running up to my inner knees were doing the same. my whole body seemed to be holding on to something even when i was actively trying to relax. was this me not relating to my body? thats what i thought at first, but i think it was more than that. i was trying to ground myself thats for sure, but i think my problem was that i was trying too hard to do it.

the wood element is most represented in the trees on earth. without them we would be nothing. they live die and rebirth themselves every year. their cycle of change is what we look to for the change in ourselves. the reason the wood element is associated with the spring is because that is when wood comes back to life. wood is resilient and strong. yet needs to be flexible. in the cold winter nights when the wind blows strong, it is the give of the wood that keeps it safe. the trees must blow with the wind keeping an even flow with the air. if not there rigidity will cause them to crack and die. even the strongest trees can break if they can not comply with the wind. the ability of the trees to adapt with the earth is the same property that must live in all of us to keep us safe.

so here i am in yoga, forcing my roots to the ground, because i didnt have the understanding that if im present and im breathing it will happen by itself. and it occurred to me its cause i was forcing. and then i started thinking about my yoga practice and my life and wow, there it was. im always a forcer. i force everything. when people talk about surrendering to something i always cringed. but there it was staring me in the face that that is what i have been missing. i dont need to force myself to be grounded in my practice, all its doing is hurting my joints. i dont need to force myself in my massage practice. if im present and intuituve, the work is good. if things dont go exactly the way i thought they would...its okay. i dont need to be in charge of everything. i just need to be there and remember that i am taken care of. everything will be okay. i cant force my life into this mold ive made. there is no mold. it doesnt exist and the faster i realize that, the less tension will be running through my body. less wood energy making me nuts.

so right then and there i tried an experiment, and im still doing this right now. i started my practice with the intention of putting the least amount of weight into my hands and feet. moving with the softest amount of pressure. and i wasnt on my fingertippys and toes either. i was grounding. i just want forcing it. i immedietely realized that not only was my yoga practice just as amazing as it always is, i actually felt even more grounded than usual, and my post yoga bliss lasted longer, and my wrists didnt hurt. i went to my intership that night and decided to keep the wood experiment going. i used less pressure on my first two clients and asked if they felt the same results. just a little less pressure kept them from tensing up, and kept me from pushing, and i felt more rejuvenated instead of drained when i was done.

the tension didnt come back till my third client. she wanted tui na and that is not a modality im very confident in. immedietely the tension came back and i realized i was trying to force this client into thinking i was better at this than i was. i could have just been intuituve and felt it out, but the lack of confidence i had sent the wood energy rushing back. afterwards i thought that maybe a lack of self confidence was a trigger for this tension and i realized that controlling everything and forcing everything was maybe a part of that too. i acknowledged that, realized that is something im working on in my life, but didnt try and control it. i just tried to let myself go with it.

all week ive been practicing yoga and massaging with this mentality. to let go and let what is there be enough. and to believe that im enough. and i think this will change everything.