IMG_3070.jpgPhoto: JAMay: “raising baby ducks”


It’s early days yet but the signs of Spring are everywhere. The Canada Geese have returned as well as the summer resident ducks. Tufts of green are sprouting everywhere and it is amazing to me that anything green could be living under what was 5 feet of snow last week. We made it through a cyclone blizzard which was a once in a lifetime event. ( I hope)  It took 5 days to dig out and yet signs of new life are everywhere. March is a crazy month for weather… 70 degree days one day and snow the next.   But we are clearly moving into a new season.

I started thinking about Spring cleaning in a greater context. What were the places in my life that needed cleaning out?  What and who was I ready to release that no longer was supportive? Last month I wrote about Tapestry, how the threads of our lives are like a weaving… with some relationships having a long tenuous thread throughout our lives and others that are a short thread, with us only for a short period of time. Perhaps just a stepping stone on this journey of life. But what I realized is that  I had failed to share what was the sometimes very real and necessary possibility that we may need to be the one to cut a thread.  There are times when taking inventory that we realize that the friend we cared so much about just didn’t take the time to invest in a relationship with us. Maybe their pain is greater than ours and we may need to recognize this. Or they just may be too self involved to really participate in a relationship and were never there for us. As we grow some people remain stuck in their old patterns and habits that no longer meet us where we now are.   Plus people are busy now, busier than I have ever seen in decades.  Many  of them simply are just not able to keep up. All this and more are many of the reasons why people are unable to be fully in relationship.

But real evolution means that despite your  own pain you still reach out to those you care for and enquire about them. In a way it is a giving outside of yourself. That is the sign of a spiritually evolved person. I am not saying it is easy.  I know how hard it really is. However it does get easier as we grow as individuals into our best selves.

Nevertheless, when a relationship becomes one sided and there is no real exchange then it may be time to release. Does that mean you cut someone, out of your life completely? Absolutely not. But you change your expectations,…. perhaps you don’t invest so much anymore.  Either way we decide what we can live with and we release with grace and compassion. We honor both our limitations. And most of all, we look forward for a better fit.


We all have family or friends that fail to support who we are and what our values are. Navigating these relationships requires skill and presence. We have to ask the hard questions and find a way to love but perhaps not be too attached or too involved. A caring love but from a bit more distance. In a way this kind of boundary or release,  is a dying process. A process in which we let go of old expectations. And a process which needs to occur in order to more fully “Spring forward” into a new beginning.

Letting go requires flexibility. We need to be flexible in order to adapt to new realizations. Where we are now is not where we were 3 years ago, 5 years ago or 10 years ago. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Season of Spring is governed by the Liver. When the Liver is constrained we are no longer adaptable. We become rigid or dogmatic in our beliefs and actions. We no longer can go with the flow… the flow of life or the flow of change. But change is inevitable and yet we, as a culture, are generally resistant to change. What would it have been like for us to have grown up learning to lean into change rather than fear it?  The simple truth is that the more adaptable we are, the greater our ability to thrive and grow becomes.  The Liver governs the smooth flow of Qi ( our energy) and Blood. With this, our emotions flow smoothly. When I was as young student my teachers reminded me that the best way to understand flow and adaptability was to envision young willow saplings. They bend easily, they are green and grow to great heights but they weather wind, rain, sun and snow by staying flexible.

It is an art and a gift to be so adaptable that we can release what no longer serves us. Remember Gumby? I used to have a Gumby on my desk and kept it there to remind me and my patients that flexibility and adaptability is a great gift. Flexibility in our joints, our bodies, our minds and our expectations.  And the flexibility  to release what no longer serves us.



Next week is the recipe for the GREEN OF SPRING!




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