Embracing the Creative Power of Growth

In 5 Element Theory, we could consider Wood to be the first element in the generating cycle, because it represents this initiatory, generative time, but really, the 5 Elements are a part of a continuous circle with no beginning and no end. For the Wood element, the springtime energy, as long as there is Earth, Water, and Fire (solar energy) –  life will flourish.

Our human bodies are connected to that Wood energy, and in us it manifests as a creative, expressive force – it’s the energy of change. In the body, the primary place we see the Wood element expressed is in the Liver organ network, which also includes its paired organ, the Gallbladder. In traditional Chinese medicine, the Liver energy is all about the free movement of Qi – the energetic force of the body.

Liver energy is very powerful, and it needs space to express itself freely, especially this time of year. If it is not given the space to express itself completely, if it doesn’t have room to grow, the Wood energy will start to build up, like water pushing up against a dam. Although it is always important to provide avenues of expression for the generative force of the Liver, it is even more important during the springtime months.

The Liver is often associated with the emotion of anger, yet it is more accurately associated with the creative force of change. It is essential, and it is powerful. When the Liver’s creativity is suppressed, when it is over-controlled and not allowed to express itself,  we begin to see the manifestation of what we think of as “anger.” In Taoist thought it is the repression of creativity and expression that leads to the friction and resistance that underlies frustration and anger, which are the pathological states of the Liver/Wood energy. What starts to happen is that the energy, the water against the dam if you will, increases, and without somewhere to go, it starts to build into what we call stagnation – a pathological pooling of energy.

Stagnation leads to other pathological factors in the body, such as Heat and turbidity, and eventually starts to manifest physiologically in the areas most directly connected to Liver. The eyes are one of the first places we start to see a breakdown of the Liver, with the development of cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, etc. which are all representative of a breakdown of the Liver’s detoxification network. We also see issues in the digestive system, the cardiovascular network, and in the Lungs.

Paying attention to our environment, we see that dandelion and burdock begin to push upward and outward this time of year. In herbal medicine these plants are considered to be cholagogues, meaning they enhance the flow of bile through the biliary tracts in the liver. While the liver breaks down toxins and then conjugates them for excretion, bile is the primary pathway  for their excretion via the common bile duct, which empties into the small intestine via the sphincter of Oddi. There, the bile emulsifies fats making them absorbable and stimulating our digestive process.

It’s astounding to observe how many different ways the generating energy is expressed in the world around us, where each of the individual lines of evolutionary growth bifurcate in myriad patterns. Each of us is also a unique expression of life, and through our creative expression we are able to enhance the flow of energy and materials in our bodies, relieving stagnation and generating health.

What were you doing in your life when you felt the most happy? The most exquisitely you? I encourage you to ponder this question deeply, and when you find the answer, make some time and space in your life to do more of that.

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Jade Mountain Medicine

Jade Mountain Medicine Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic in Ashland, Oregon offers affordable, compassionate, comprehensive care for the whole family. To view our team members' specialties, please visit our Practitioners menu on The Clinic drop down bar above.Our extensive apothecary includes high-quality herbal and nutritional supplements, customized Chinese herbal formulas and patent medicines, tinctures, pediatric formulas, topical liniments and patches, and first aid products.?

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