Five Elements (TCM)
Acupuncturists and those who study Eastern Medicine recognize Five Elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Every element is associated with a season, color, emotion, taste, smell, and even environmental quality. With the arrival of Spring, we are welcoming a robust and complicated Yang energy, otherwise known as the Wood Season. For many of the following reasons, we as a collective society might want to put an even greater emphasis on social distancing during this transitional Season.
The Spring Season is Yang
GASP! I know, how dare I even suggest isolating ourselves for even longer! Hear me out. As an acupuncturist, I have been thinking about this a lot. It has been consuming me since this weekend. Sunday was a perfect Spring day, bringing many restless and antsy people out of their homes for the first time in weeks. I was shocked to see how many people were out and about, running a muck, without face masks, and not practicing proper social distancing. Then, I sat back and reminded myself that we are officially out of the Yin Winter and entering the Yang Spring.
Yin and Yang are a balancing act. We need both. Yin contains Yang, and Yang contains Yin. Yin is dark, Yang is bright, Yin is cold, Yang is hot, Yin is slow, and Yang is quick. Make sense? The Yang energy is prevalent during this time of year, making the reality of COVID-19 even more challenging to cope with. People are eager to get outside, to be social, and drive fast with music blasting as loudly as possible. This is all Yang energy. Being told to stay inside, to stay away from socialization, and to sit still goes against the nature of the Yang Season of Spring. Resisting what is a natural urge of the cyclical calendar is extraordinarily challenging. Which can lead to rebellion.
The Wood Element (Spring Season)
Rebellious energy leads me to my next point; the Wood Element energy. Wood is strong, unwavering, moves upwards and outward, and can be angry at times. New York City is the best example I can offer up. Despite being a concrete jungle, New Yorkers are filled with angry, loud, and opinionated Wood energy! Imagine telling an angry New Yorker, filled with Yang energy in the Spring time, that they can’t go outside and drink White Claws with their friends? Yeah, good luck with that! The angry volatile Wood Element temper is likely to rebel and expand out its energy, just like roots of a tree.
As we move into the Yang Wood Season of Spring so many people simply want to push through and move forward. Even if that means rushing to open up before it is truly safe to do so. I can’t say that I blame anyone for feeling this way. It is simply the nature of the Season that has fallen upon us during the COVID19 lockdown. Yang doesn’t want to sit, Yang wants to socialize, and Yang wants to move upward and onward. Same with Wood; Wood wants to grow tall, thrive, and expand outwards.
The Wind Carries Illnesses (TCM)
Fascinating right? Well, I am not quite done yet. Just adding another layer to this mix; the environmental factor associated with Wood/Spring is wind. Wind being extremely dangerous for carrying contagious diseases and viruses. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, it is believed that illnesses travel with the wind, which can then enter the body through the nape of the neck. Thinking about an illness as contagious as COVID-19 traveling with the wind is highly concerning. Frankly, starting to “reopen” the country during the windy Spring Season, (all while cases are still on the rise) stresses this Acupuncturist the f*ck out!
Fighting the Yang Urge + Wood Temper to Move Forward Too Quickly
However, what can we do? We are not a society that does well with isolation. We thrive on being social and simply moving forward. At some point our subconscious starts to come into play and blocks out the real catastrophe that is COVID-19. Once the subconscious starts to block, our bodies begin to cope, and eventually we as a society move on. Again, I can’t blame anyone. The human body is extremely intelligent and simply knows how to cope, in order to propel us forward.
But for now, I am begging people to remain present, and to appreciate the seriousness that is still our daily reality. Don’t let the Yang energy pull you out too quickly. Don’t allow the angry Wood energy to take over. Stay grounded and keep your roots planted. If you do want to expand your branches and enjoy the Spring Season, simply continue to practice safe social distancing. Now is not the time to get cocky or complacent. Like the wind, COVID-19 can appear out of nowhere.
Let’s continue to think of our families, our friends, and our neighbors. Wear your masks (and for the love of all that’s holy cover your noses), wear your scarfs, and maintain a safe six foot distance. If we allow the Yang energy to move us too quickly, we risk losing something far greater than simply being outside with friends during the Spring of 2020.