The Strength of Snowdrops – Springtime tips to nourish your liver.
My first memory of Spring is very clear in my mind. I was about four and beside my Granny who was showing me her snowdrops in the garden. She loved to explain things to me. ‘These are Plúiríní sneachta (the Irish word for snowdrops) Emer’ she said. ‘They mark the end of harsh Winter and the beginning of beautiful Springtime. They look fragile and like pretty little drops of snow but make no mistake Emer- every Spring they push forth up out of the hard Winter ground. They are a very strong little flower’. I love this memory of my Granny and of Spring. Even as a child I knew at that moment she was telling me something important. She was a very strong lady, a wonderful School teacher, mother of five, cook and gardener. I remember coming back to her house as an adult (she had long since passed away) and being so pleasantly surprised to see that her snowdrops were still thriving
Nature is a great teacher and in that simple interaction between me and my granny, I learnt about Spring and that appearances can be deceptive when a fragile looking little flower like a snowdrop is one of the first things to push through the harsh winter ground without failure year after year. Lao Tzu the Chinese philosopher commented that softness triumphs over hardness and spoke about the importance of adaptation. I think its really important to remember that in relation to ourselves and others, truly it is through softness and really giving ourselves time to blossom that we overcome any obstacles in life and ensure that we go on to thrive.
Spring is my favourite time of year. All of nature feels like it is truly alive and sensually saying one, big ‘yes’ to the world. Spring in Chinese medicine terms is a real time of growth and expansion. It’s a time when we transition from rested life force to releasing our energy more outwardly once more. The organ associated with Spring is the liver. The liver in Chinese medicine terms is the organ that oversees the entire system within the body and it also has the task of storing and renewing blood. The livers co-ordinating action is expressed through the nervous system and affects the neurons and chemical messangers. Psychologically, the liver nourishes us towards the realization of our full potential. It is associated with anger and creativity which, chanelled in positive ways, can help us to push through difficulty giving determination and energy. Healthy assertiveness nourishes the liver so that we can be determined without being a bulldozer and easygoing without being a doormat.
Exercise, stretching and walking is great for our liver as is martial arts which is wonderful for relaxation and channelling anger in positive ways. Creativity and flexibility also nourishes our liver. My favourite creative practices are dance, writing and painting. I allow myself a free relationship with them and to really enjoy the process of what I do when I do it. They nourish me and my life force. Creativity is such a nourishing and powerful force and can certainly help one embrace ones full potential and embrace the joy of being alive.
Food wise sour foods such as lemons nourish the liver. Sour foods stimulate tissues in contraction and releasing toxins from the body. Dark green foods which combine mild sourness with blood nourishing qualities are also very supportive for the liver. A liver detox around this time of year can be excellent for our gallbladder and liver.
Enjoy this time of growth, expansion and the sensual deliciousness of nature this time of year. Let it all put a beautiful “spring” in your step. Give me a call if you have any health issues at the moment that you would like help with or if you would just like to enjoy some lovely shiatsu and support your health this time of year.