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Home > Newsletters > April 2006 > Being Green


By Laraine Crampton, L.Ac.

There is green and then there are other greens. As we move through the remaining weeks of spring, which is the Wood element season, and prepare for the transition to summer, it may be useful to do a bit of a survey and organize the greens in our lives.

Recently, there was the ‘wearing o’ the green’ to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day — a happy acknowledgement that the challenges of winter are fading and a bit of fun and laughter is good for us all. Jokes and silliness make it difficult for even the stiffest and most rigid among us to hang onto irritation or a critical spirit.

The natural impetus of Wood energy (invested in the Liver/Gallbladder systems) is to push up and ahead, to reach forward, and to be ambitious for growth and accomplishment. So, what ‘greens’ are helpful, and which ones are not?

First, a not-so-helpful one: the green of envy. When we are busy looking at other people’s gifts or possessions or accomplishments, we are not paying attention to the road in front of our own life vehicle. It is easy to crash, to run over innocent people in our pathway, or to miss the turns we need to make. Thus, we fail to honor and follow our path and arrive late or not at all to the remarkable destination we are meant to have.

Daverick Leggett says in his Recipes for Self-Healing (Meridian Press, 1999) that ‘overconcern with other people’ and ‘any chronic state of insecurity’ are related to deficiency of the Spleen (the ability to absorb life for appropriate digestion). Consider applying a bit of spiritual activity mimicking the herbal formula Xiao Yao San in this case: harmonize the Liver and Spleen by cultivating inner peace and self-acceptance to promote rich supplies of blood and smooth flow of nutrients and energy, while releasing stiffness, rigid judgments of self and others and bitterness. Embrace the free flow of your own work and accomplishment, striding ahead on your own path. Instead of looking at others as causing you headaches or drying up resources that you want to have, consider taking a broader view and being grateful for models of integrity and wisdom in your life.

Another type of ‘green’ is the one we hold on to, whether hoarding actual green cash or metaphorical riches of our talents, creativity, resources, ideas and insights. If we hoard and protect rather than freely expressing and sharing, we become overfull and agitated or hot in the middle, irritable, cranky, uncomfortable and cold at the extremities —ungenerous, withholding, concerned only with warming ourselves. In this case, why not open that internal warmth to send vision and generosity to the Heart, as the Wood element properly does, and allow relaxation and nourishment of others and ourselves in order to amplify our abilities and accomplishments.

In closing, though there are many other greens to consider (list a few for yourself while you are reading this and thinking ‘why didn’t she mention this one?’), take a look at the too-green state of over-ambition and over-work. There’s a well-known visual trick in which a test subject is asked to stare steadily at a large green disk on a white page for several moments. When you look away, you ‘see red.’ The exhaustion of the green perceptual components in your eyes leads to a reversal and the perception of the opposite color. All of life is interconnected. When you work, work, work, even if striving for a great and wonderful goal, eventually you only see red. Instead of the efforts of your work, career, vocation nourishing your heart and those closest to your heart, the overly-intense Yang energy of unchecked ambition disrupts and robs what could otherwise be a nourishing flow of love. Anger, even rage, and failure to ‘see’ accurately what is in front of you, replace accomplishment, satisfaction, generosity and joy.

What action or internal ‘formula’ will you develop to direct your ambition with love?

Copyright 2006 Laraine Crampton, LAc


This Month's Articles

April 2006
Volume 4, Number 4

Why You Need To Spring-Clean Your Body

Being Green

Special Exercises for Eye Disorders

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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