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Germinating Seeds

This week I have woken up to the sound of a Robin singing. It has given me the distinct sensation that Spring is around the corner. Although our weather may not speak the language of Spring just yet, the warmth that is coming from the sun tells us that it is indeed moving closer to us.

My first instinct when that sensation of Spring washes over me is to start preparing my garden. Gardening is something that I have done on some level every year since I left my childhood home, though growing plants indoors is not my greatest strength I seem to be able to do it outside. Maybe that is because watering the garden is a daily ritual, so it is easy to form a daily habit of doing so. I’m happy to say that my habits have inspired several of my friends, colleagues and clients to do the same. It has also drawn me towards new friends with similar interests.

In the Five Element system of Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine, the phase that we are currently in is the transitional phase during the change of seasons. During this time, it is said that the Earth energy, or Spleen energy is the most active. It is considered an auspicious time to pay attention to our health, and to take extra time to nurture ourselves. Winter which is the element of water and the kidneys is a dormant season, and many people slow down and become less active. This is a natural process, as it follows what is happening in nature. Springtime is the element of wood and the liver. This is the time when we start to see the little sprouts of life appearing, and when the energy of rejuvenation and growth is the strongest. It is quite natural to feel more energized in the Springtime, as the sun moves closer to the earth, and its energy powers growth and movement.

This time of the year, when all is in a state of relative balance with nature, my nurturing instincts are activated, and I begin to think about how to prepare my garden for the upcoming year. I set my gardening goals based on what my plans are for the season, and who I will be feeding. This has a big impact on how I will set up my garden, as it does take a good deal of time and planning. I try to only plant what I can tend and sow so that these wonderful treasures are not wasted.

For me, gardening has always been an expression of love to my family and friends. My mother was a feeder, cooking and baking was her biggest outlet for showing affection. I think I have expanded my horizons in terms of showing love, but I learned from her how much better food tastes when it is made with love and grown locally. As it turns out, the legacy continues as my son progresses through his training in a farm to table program in culinary school.

Food is a form of medicine if it is treated this way. Understanding the energetic properties of food through the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I understand that the foods which grow during a particular season are generally good food to nurture the element that is active at that time. So, I look forward to picking some sprouted greens to garnish my hearty stews for the next month and then will move on to steaming the greens in the Spring which will help to clean the Liver. Young dandelion sprouts are a wonderful tonic for the liver, its amazing that they are the best in the early spring!!

If you are curious about more dietary theory based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, I recommend the book Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. It can be a great guide to how to use what we must do every day (eat) to help improve our health.

In the meantime, I nurture and grow my acupuncture practice, as I become more settled in my new home of Pickering, Ontario.

Best wishes,


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