Archive of ‘Seasons’ category

Eclipse Season, the Wood Element + What to do When You Don’t Know What’s Next

By Rhiannon Griffiths

We are in eclipse season & it’s BIG, there are three this time, when there are normally only two, & most of us are feeling it in one way or another, I know my patients certainly are, & I most definitely am right now… I have recorded you a video of a download I had late at night about what’s going on energetically for us right now, & what to do when you just don’t know what is next…

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And if you prefer to read, rather than watch or listen, then the words are below…

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I’ve been having a lot of chats in clinic about this “emotionally itchy” energy that so many of us are feeling – knowing there are big shifts & big changes happening or ABOUT to happen, but we don’t know what they are, and things aren’t moving forward, we have to wait…

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Itchy energy is Wood Element stagnation, the frustration at HAVING to sit still, HAVING to wait, not knowing what’s next, not being able to SEE what’s next, not having the Wood Element’s virtue of VISION, to have the vision of the future, to be able to see the bigger picture… There’s a reason for that old saying “you can’t see the wood for the trees” when we are unable to see the bigger picture… It’s all Wood element energy in Chinese Medicine…

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Cross, frustrated, impatient, and irritable feelings are all the domain of the Wood Element – that WANTING to shout “hurry up” to the universe, (or to the moon, or the eclipses), you want the next step to be revealed, but it’s too slow & it’s too uncomfortable to be in this “itchy”, restless energy…

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And whilst we aren’t in Spring right now (in the northern hemisphere), which is USUALLY when we might feel this kind of energy within us & around us, (as Spring is the associated season of the Wood Element) – and think about how we have to sit & wait in Winter, before we can actually SEE the growth of shoots & buds coming through the ground – and in some years, it feels like that wait for Spring is endless, it takes sooooo long that we get impatient & frustrated…

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So it’s the same energy we have here now, although in a slightly different context – and yet it’s potentially no surprise that as this eclipse energy, the bigger planetary alignments, as THEY ask us to make big changes, to grow, to expand, to EVOLVE, to ALIGN with growth, to push through the stuff that is illuminated in this eclipse season, to flow WITH whatever happens, not to resist or block things that are changing during this time of crazy big shifts – THIS is what we recognise as Wood energy in Chinese medicine… It’s about FLOW of energy – the Wood Element Organ of the Liver, ensures we have good & correct flow energy in our bodies & our lives – so if we are not in flow, we get stagnation… when we resist, we get stuck, we get stress and pain…

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And THIS is what the planetary stuff, the new moon & full moon eclipses – this season of three eclipses – THEY are asking us, or maybe even forcing us to GET into flow, to GET into alignment… To leave behind the stuff in our lives that has been creating stagnation, things we have outgrown, things that have been causing us pain, not allowing us to flow, to get OUT of sameness, out of stuckness in our lives – physically, emotionally and spiritually…

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And this is the tree, this is the Wood Element at its finest, it is growth, it is upwards & outwards movement… and this is for ALL of us right now, whatever Element type we are, not just the Wood Element type people…

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So what can we do NOW, in this weird, restless waiting time? What can we do to move this stagnant energy, if we can’t move forward yet (because we do kind of have to wait right now), or if we don’t actually know what’s next?!

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I go through breaking down the big visions and our big plans, into smaller, easier steps to reduce overwhelm, ALLOWING us and ENABLING us to move forward more EASILY, in my online Spring course, but for today focus on JUST ONE SMALL THING that you COULD do today to move forward – it can be a TINY thing, but just STARTING TO SHIFT some of the stagnant Qi, that WILL help you feel better…

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And right now it’s hard because NONE of us, including me, really know what is next for us, what the big vision or big change in our lives is going to look like… so if you can’t even take one tiny PRACTICAL step forward right now, because its too unclear, just focus on moving the stagnant Qi in your BODY and your emotions…

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Drink hot lemon water, or green tea… MOVE your body – walk, dance, do yoga, stretch – all of these MOVE Qi physically and emotionally – if you can’t do something with the BIG life stuff yet, do one of these small things to shift the Qi & get some sense of FLOW back again…

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And obviously, I must say, I am not an astrologer – I have some amazingly talented people that I consult when I need more insight – but Chinese Medicine wisdom very much has the “as above, so below” school of thought, with heavenly Qi & the importance of balancing our connection to the heavens (through the Metal Element) as well as to the earth (both the literal Earth, the ground, & the Earth Element itself)…

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And THIS is how we live a Five Element life & how we live in alignment & flow – we see what the energy of the moment NEEDS, or what it is asking us to do, and adapt or live accordingly, even when it’s challenging & “itchy” – because as long as we let go of resistance, remove stagnation & embrace flow, we have balance – and in Chinese Medicine, balance is key – balance in our bodies, our minds, our emotions & our souls…

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I hope this has been helpful & maybe gone some way to explain some of the stuff you’ve been feeling or wrestling with these past couple of weeks – let me know, & let me know if you’d like me to do more of these kinds of Element energy videos for you…

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Sending much goodness & bye for now

R xx

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If you don’t know what Element you are, download the FREE ebook here

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Learn more about the deep coaching course, “Embrace Your Element – 9 Weeks to Life Changing Self-Acceptance”

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Or check out the all seasonal wellness courses that you can access online & do at home

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Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions & Neither Should You

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I will firstly caveat this whole post, by saying it really applies to those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, where the New Year celebrations fall in the middle of Winter – for all you gorgeous Aussies, Kiwis & Southern Hemisphere dwellers, I will get to you guys shortly…

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Winter Wellness Workshop Thame Rhiannon Griffiths Acupuncture

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So, why would I adamantly suggest that you shouldn’t make resolutions for the new year? After all, I am a coach & massively champion change & growth & positive movement forward in life, emotions & personal development… And I used to make New Year’s resolutions (that often failed in the first week of January!), so what changed?

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Well, first & foremost, I’m also an acupuncturist who has lived a “Five Element Life” for the last decade, so I know the importance of honouring the seasons & living in alignment with the energy of the associated Element. It’s like living in sync with the phases of the moon, or being mindful of the different parts of your menstrual cycle & how varied the energy & emotions & actions can be. It is living out of rhythm of nature that creates more disharmony & dysfunction in our bodies, minds & emotions.

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Winter is the season associated with the Water Element. My own Element is Water, so it is even more important for me to be mindful of what this Element needs; it is integral to my wellbeing. But it is important for ALL of us to honour Water, whatever our own Element personality type is – even nature slows down during Winter, everything retracts inwards and retreats under the ground, animals get cosy & rest & hibernate. Winter is nature’s season of REST, preparing the roots & seeds below the ground, for the energetic growing time of the following Spring. There is very little ACTION at this time.

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This time is for:

+ reflection, like the still, peaceful lake that you can see your face in

+ diving deep into your emotions, like you would in to the depths of the sea

+ pausing, being still – like the animals hibernating during Winter

+ ask the questions, gather the wisdom – the Water Element is renowned for its ability to do this

+ plant the seeds, READY for growth when the Spring arrives – the BIG POTENTIAL is in the seeds hidden underground in Winter

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Spring is really the start of the New Year in Chinese Medicine, it is when we have the RIGHT & APPROPRIATE energy to tackle New Year’s resolutions, change things in our lives, start new things, take action. In January, in the Northern Hemisphere, we are still in the depths of Winter, that is hibernation time, time to be still, time to reflect. The ENERGY of the season just does not match New Year’s resolutions or big bold new beginnings. It is not the time to be planning and doing, we need to wait until Spring for THAT kind of energy to rush in!

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So yes, do your journalling NOW, do take time to be STILL, to pause, to reflect; get the vibes you want to take over in to the new year, identify the feelings you wish to have, & plant the seeds, set the scene READY for 2017, but now is NOT the time to ACT, or expect yourself to DO heaps of things as soon as the clock strikes midnight & we tip over in to the new year… Water & Winter are about BEING, waiting for the potential to blossom into Spring!

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Possible questions to reflect upon:

+ what amazing things can I celebrate from 2016?

+ were there things that didn’t go according to plan in 2016?

+ what could I have done differently in 2016?

+ how do I want 2017 to FEEL?

+ what word(s) will set the scene for 2017?

+ does 2017 have a different colour / logo / mascot to 2016?

+ who do I need to be next year to make 2017 amazing?

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And this blog post isn’t intended to be about MY reflections of 2016, it is supposed to be encouraging YOU to pause & reflect, though there has been some pretty cool stuff for me this year:

+ ran my in-person Spring Health workshop, here in the UK, it was super fun

+ featured in publications including The Guardian, Healthy Magazine, Woman’s Weekly (twice), Women’s Health (three times), Woman & Home

+ went to the Maldives to write my first book, about the Five Elements, & made some little videos for you

+ trained as a Yin Yoga teacher (look out for workshops, classes & online stuff coming in the Spring!)

+ launched my first online course for you, Winter Wellness Wisdom

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You can learn more about the Water Element & how to live in alignment with the season of Winter in my brand new online course, Winter Wellness Wisdom, for physical & emotional wellness HERE, plus the Spring version will be hot on it’s heals in a couple of months, with exercises designed to REALLY get you going & moving forward with resolutions! So put any BIG actions on hold until then if you can…

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As for you Southern Hemisphere dwellers, you guys CAN afford to be more ACTIVE in your intention setting, as you are currently in the season of Summer, with it’s associated Element of Fire. It has busy, upwards & outwards Yang energy – if you choose to make plans & implement them as soon as 2017 starts, you WILL be more aligned with what the season is doing. Therefore you are more likely to make plans stick & be successful in your resolutions, as the energy of the time is supporting you in your endeavours!

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And if you don’t know what Element you are yet, you can download my FREE ebook here: https://goo.gl/NTmEF9

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Wishing you all a VERY Happy & Healthy New Year, wherever you are in the world – I’m grateful you’re here with me!

Sending heaps of goodness

Rhiannon xx

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2016

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5 Ways to Connect with the Water Element for Winter

By Rhiannon Griffiths

This post was first published as a guest post on Aussie health blog This Is Lifeblood – it is most definitely Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, that cold, still, watery, dark Yin time. I often write about the Water Element, as Water is my constitutional element (or CF), but Winter is the season of the Water Element, and it is important to connect in with this energy now, at its most potent, whatever your own Element is.

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Water CF Element Five Elements Chinese Medicine

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1. Slow Down & Think Hibernation

The quickest way to connect with the Water Element at any time of the year, but particularly as we move into Water’s season of Winter, is to slow down! Many of us will have been super busy and outwardly sociable during the Summer, with lots of outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Winter is about stillness, coolness, darkness, hibernation – think about what nature is doing at the moment, everything is retracting inwards, seeds of potential are underneath the ground, barely a bud or leaf above soil, and animals are retreating to warm safe spaces. The Water Element will respond beautifully to increased rest in warm safe spaces! Up your commitment to quiet self-care, scale back your social commitments, and keep the Kidneys warm – no crop tops or showing your midriff! Just remember, the energy you conserve during the Winter, becomes the pot of Qi you have for the following Summer – it’s well worth topping yourself up now!

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2. Activate the Water Element Taste

Each of the Five Elements has a “taste” associated with it. Fire is bitter, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent, Wood is sour, and Water is salty. Salt is a hot topic in health circles, and many people avoid salt at all costs. Processed table salt is not advisable, especially if you have high blood pressure, but in Chinese Medicine, we know that the Water Element and its associated organ, the Kidneys, actually NEED some salt to be supported and function correctly. Add a touch more sea salt or pink himalayan salt to your Winter cooking, or opt for something naturally salty like miso – it is warm, sweet and salty in terms of Chinese Food Energetics. It goes straight to the Water Element organ of the Kidneys, helping to activate their function of fluid control within the body.

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3. Warm the Qi with Food Energetics

As seen above, we can affect the balance in our bodies with that we eat. During Winter we need to reduce raw and cold food intake, cutting down on salads and turning to physically warm dishes like soups, stews and risottos. Apart from being warming, they also have a very “watery” aspect to them, which automatically connects in to the Water Element. Adding energetically hot spices like garlic, cayenne, chilli, ginger, or cinnamon is important in Winter as the temperatures drop down. But note, if you have a tendency to run towards being a hot person, go easy with those very heating spices, even in Winter – nourishing your Yin with rest, and gently warming with thyme, sage or rosemary should be a good balance for you.

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4. Reign in the Fear & Ramp up the Reassurance

The emotion associated with the Water Element is Fear (or conversely, complete lack of it!). This element is all about risk assessing and then reassuring. In Winter, my fear tends to crank up a few notches, as the weather gets worse with snow and ice in the UK – it is riskier to travel, there is more disruption, more uncertainty, and my Water Element has a bit of a wobble! It might not be about the weather, but notice if fear is creeping in and holding you back, this exercise may help you reign in the fear. Write down the issue you are fearful about. Then divide the page in two, with a line down the centre. On the left, write down everything you can think of that is the “worst case scenario”, what you are afraid will happen, what could go wrong, what is stopping you. Once you have really connected into the fear of that column, and exhausted all the potential options (remember, the Water Element WILL find ALL the possible risks, so to harness the positive side of this power, you need to do the same!), turn to the right hand column. You may find it helpful to switch seats or go into a different room for the right hand column – be in a different energetic space!

For each of the risks or fears you wrote down on the left, write down ONE thing that you COULD do, if indeed the worst thing were to happen. For example, it could be the idea of moving to another city is too scary for you, despite your heart knowing it is what you want to do. So in the left column you might write, “I could move away and then not have enough money to support myself”; then in the right column, one thing you COULD do if that were to happen would be “I could find a flatmate”, or “I could move back home with my folks”, or “I could be creative with coming up with new revenue streams”… whatever feels congruent and true to you – this is not a BS exercise, else your Water Element will not feel reassured enough. It must feel as true as possible.

You should find that by connecting to the Water Elements resourcefulness in coming up with contingency plans, you can prove to yourself (and your Water) that even if the worst thing happened, you WILL be ok. Give it a try, it can be really liberating to write it all down and visually see if the bad thing happened, it really wouldn’t be such a big deal – and this is coming from a Water CF girl, who does the risk assessing thing constantly!!

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5. Have Acupuncture!

And of course, having acupuncture will immediately connect us into the Water Element ready for Winter! There are specific points we call “horary points”, which have particular potency during their specific season. Don’t forget each of us has ALL of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water – within us, we just tend to have ONE of the Elements that we resonate most with, or is like our default setting… (read more in my FREE ebook to see what Element you might be!)… So although this post is particularly relevant to those Water CFs (constitutional factors or constitutional Elements) amongst us, we can ALL benefit from connecting in with the Water Element in Winter.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Awesome Aussies – Krys Hansen

By Rhiannon Griffiths

This is a slightly belated post this week, from a skype filming a fortnight ago with my fabulous and beautiful friend Krystal Hansen. The fourth vlog in my “Awesome Aussies” series introduces this gorgeous creature and discusses how May was her month of compassion, and how her next project focuses on making meditation easy and accessible to everyone, including a very interesting way of funding the project via community!

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awesome aussies

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Who is Krys? She is a modern yogi, an amazing yoga teacher and a holistic health coach. Krystal is another kindred spirit that I connected with first online via Instagram – I am @rg_acupuncture & Krys is @practisewellness – and on my arrival to Australia, she noticed some familiar local places in my photos!

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me & krys.

In Australia we met up: on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. This is where my main base was for my trip in March, as I had flown into Brisbane from the UK. We spent hours chatting in Buderim, having had green smoothies and raw tartlets at the fabulous raw vegan cafe, Ground.

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ground cafe buderim with krys.

In the video below we chat about what compassion means and how it creates a ripple effect of energy outwards to everyone around us; how our gifts / vocations, be it yoga or acupuncture, or whatever our paths are, find us when we are in a dark place, and leads us out into the light, becoming our professions.

Krys explains more about her latest project – The Modern Yogi Meditation Ecourse – and the community funding behind it via Pozible, you can pledge your support there right NOW!

And we also discuss what overlaps there are between the three body types in Ayurveda and the Five Elements in Chinese Medicine – how it is ultimately about understanding the seasons, how that relates to you, understanding what you are, what you might be like when you are in balance, and what you might be like when you’re out of balance! And most importantly how these ancient concepts are SO relevant to modern day life and can help you be healthy in mind, body and spirit!

Be sure to listen to the very end to hear about the strength of the HEART energy – it’s a gem of scientific info that will blow your mind!

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IbAlstrUTs%5D

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Although the May is now gone and the month of compassion has concluded, I encourage you to look on Krystal’s instagram feed or facebook, and check out what the beautiful prompt is for the day of the month you are on NOW – it will work for the month of June too! And if you are drawn to connect in with the energy of her latest project – the method of funding and/or the actual meditation Ecourse itself – then please do visit her website or the Pozible site for more details… its going to be an EXCITING project, one I am THRILLED to be a part of! <3

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practise wellness logo.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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6 Ways to Activate The Wood Element Now

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I was recently asked over on my Facebook page, how we can bring more of the Wood Element into our lives? Well, ask and you shall receive! This time last year I wrote about Spring being the season of the Wood Element, in a post called Woody Springtime, but here is a short post on how we can activate the Wood Element, right now, at it’s most potent time… well, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere that is!

1. Activate the Wood Element Taste

Each of the Five Elements has a “taste” associated with it. Fire is bitter, Water is salty, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent and Wood is sour. Drink warm lemon water, or apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning. It will go to the Wood Element’s organs of the Liver and Gall Bladder, helping to activate their function of detoxification and movement of the Qi.

2. Move the Qi Physically

Part of the Liver’s (Wood organ) function is to move the Qi (energy) in the body smoothly to all areas of the body. It is when this movement is impaired that we get stagnation and pain – including stress, irritable bowel syndrome, tight shoulders, painful necks, headaches, migraines and so on… To help the Wood Element out, we should MOVE our bodies regularly to help move the Qi, and keep the flow nice and smooth. This could include running and going to the gym, but it doesn’t have to be as energetic as that, walking, dancing to your favourite song, or doing something slower like pilates or yoga ALL move the Qi physically!

3. Put those Plans into Action

The Wood Element is all about organising, planning, making decisions and acting on those plans. You might find that until you start properly coming out of the hibernation and slowing down of Winter (the Water Element), and into the active season of Spring that you feel stuck, stagnant and a bit low or depressed. This might be MORE of the case this year as we have had a LONG and hard Winter this year, and only NOW are things starting to bloom and blossom and move FORWARD. If you have had something in mind, get that Wood energy flowing and actually START putting them into action! You and your Wood Element will feel MUCH better for it!

4. Move the Qi with Food Energetics

As we have seen above, moving the Qi physically is important in helping the Wood Element and Liver function correctly, but we can also do this with food and drink via Chinese Food Energetics. Green tea is a great Qi mover, which makes it a very good stress-busting drink, perfect to have in your desk at work! Choose this over coffee, which only serves to put additional strain on the Liver. Additionally, it is not surprising to find that many seasonal foods such as new carrots being pulled up at this time, also help to move the Qi – nature does tend to provide EXACTLY what is needed at the RIGHT time! Take a look at how to make my green tea & carrot cake, perfect for activating and supporting the Wood Element in it’s season of Spring.

5. Assert Your Boundaries Appropriately

Another great way to activate the Wood energy at any time of the year, and bring more of the Wood Element into our lives is to assert our boundaries. This can be a tricky one for some of us, and this is where the word “appropriately” comes in. If you think about the way a willow bends and sways in the wind, it is TOO flexible, and if we use that anaolgy with our boundaries, that is not helpful for us, nor those around us – if we take on too many projects, we don’t end up doing ANY of them very well. Conversely, an old oak might not bend in the wind at all, until an almighty gust cracks it in half because it is so rigid and brittle. If our boundaries are too rigid, we cannot grow upwards and outwards as a tree ought to, we cannot change and develop. Check in with how flexible or rigid you are with your rules and boundaries, could you bring more BALANCE to your Wood Element right now?

6. Have Acupuncture

We have a couple of ways in which we can help bring more of the Wood Element into a patient’s life during the Spring. We can use what we call the horary points (Wood acupuncture points on the Wood energy channels) during the season, to ACTIVATE all the virtues of the Wood element, and help a patient embrace the energy and move forward with all the planning, organising etc that they may need to do.

We can also needle the Wood points on the channels of the Element that the patient is… this might sound more complicated, but it isn’t. For me, being a Water CF, I tend to have more points needled on the Water channels (Kidney & Bladder channels because they are the Water organs)… so during the Spring, I wouldn’t necessarily have the Wood horary points, I might have the Wood points on my Water Channels done. This then activates the Wood energy within the context of my Water Element; for example, encouraging action on plans made, might help my Water to not have such a BIG fear of the future, because there is movement going forward, my Water is no longer “frozen”.

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Don’t forget each of us has ALL of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water – within us, we just tend to have ONE of the Elements that we resonate most with, or is like our default setting… so although this post is PARTICULARLY relevant to those Wood CFs (constitutional factors or constitutional Elements) amongst us, during the Spring we can ALL benefit from activating and connecting in with the Wood Element.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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