It’s March. Time for blustery days.
Winnie the Pooh: Happy “Winds-day”, Piglet.
Piglet: [being blown away] Well… it isn’t… very happy… f-for me.
Winnie the Pooh: Where are you going, Piglet?
Piglet: That’s what I’m asking myself, where? W-Whoops! P-P-P-Pooh!
Winnie the Pooh: And what do you think you will answer yourself?
Piglet is having a springtime problem that many of us experience- not being able to decide what to do with ourselves, or else getting swept away by circumstances.
I can definitely relate to Piglet here! The energy of spring is all about movement and growth, yet when we have too much movement or stifled growth we can feel a pressure or mania building up. This spring I’ve been extremely busy, yet I have been constantly inspired with great ideas and feel like my mind is going 500 mph. Along with this hypomanic energy, I’m experiencing shoulder and neck tension, stiff joints, and blurry vision. It turns out that these symptoms are not merely a result of staring at computer screens too long, working long hours hunched over, and not getting enough exercise… no, they are also the exact manifestations of the gallbladder channel imbalance. J.R. Worsley pulls it all together:
“The real expertise of the Gall Bladder lies in our mental abilities. All of the words we associate with this Official- deciding, judging, evaluating, coordinating- are faculties which we use in almost all of our mental processes…The better the health of our Gall Bladder the clearer our thoughts and thought processes will be… The Gall Bladder alone is able to bring a wonderful power of judgment to the body, mind and spirit to evaluate the worth of the goals which we set ourselves…(110)
“Problems with eyesight, headaches, tense and stiff shoulders and neck, abdominal distension, hip pains which are sometimes called arthritis and rheumatism, sciatica, muscle cramps, sore and itching shins, rigid ankle joints, and tendon problems in the lower leg- all of these can and do arise from malfunctions in [the Gall Bladder’s] pathway.
“Someone may literally not be able to see, or to hear, or to talk as the Gall Bladder withdraws from contributing to these faculties. A headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea all effectively remove someone from the responsibility of deciding and acting, and this Official is important enough to the functioning of all the other Officials to have these direct effects(113).”
The video below shows how the winds of springtime can literally become trapped in your body, and create true wind! This refers to Worsley’s mention above of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (and gas) manifesting as gallbladder imbalances. Often, the irritability associated with springtime gallbladder imbalances can lead to a flaring up of digestive symptoms, which interferes with our daily life and ability to function clearly, exacerbating this gallbladder imbalance in a vicious cycle:
So yes, this type of symptom too can be exacerbated during the springtime. To get back to our analysis of how the gallbladder plays such a large role in this windy debacle, we go back to the ancient classic, the Huangdi Neijing:
“In the spring the wind comes from the east. Illness then occurs in the liver channel and rises to the head, causing bleeding from the nose. Acupuncture points on the neck and gallbladder channel should be used for treatment (14).”
Why is there such a focus on the gallbladder channel, when the liver channel is the one that originally gets impacted by the springtime wind? It seems that the gallbladder needs to be able to carry out the function of the liver, and in order for the liver to heal, the gallbladder must heal first by providing a correct beginning.
In The Secret Treatise of the Spiritual Orchid, Claude Larre explains the importance of a healthy Gallbladder Meridian:
“The gallbladder [has the] quality of shao yang which gives it the capacity to give good direction to things in life. It is because of this that it governs the first aspects and the beginnings of things. For this reason all the other organs come to the gallbladder in order to have it make decisions…
“Why does shao yang have this directness and firmness that enables it to give the right direction in life…? Let me just return to what we were saying about archery. To hit the mark the arrow must fly in the right direction, but it must previously have been held in the most stable position on the bow itself, held firmly between two or three fingers in the hand of the archer. But this hand is itself firmly at the end of the arm, and the arm is connected with the stability of the trunk. The stability of the trunk is given by the mind and the breath, and if the breathing is not correct or the mind not peaceful, and if the eye is not in a position to see the relationship of the tip of the arrow with the target, then there may be some deviation. So we can see that the correctness, and the straightness of shooting the arrow is based in the most profound origin of life in the archer, and we know that shao yang has something very close to this quality of the fired arrow.”
Today I took a walk by the Willamette River and encountered this arrow:
The next post will follow-up with methods for balancing the gallbladder channel during the springtime. The basic idea is, however, FLY!
To be continued…
Larre, Claude and Rochat de la Vallee, Elisabeth. 2003. The Secret Treatise of the Spiritual Orchid. Norfolk, England: Monkey Press.
Ni, Maoshing. 1995. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine: A new translation of the Neijing Suwen with commentary. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Worsley, J.R. 1998. Classical Five-Element Acupucture Volume III: The Five Elements and The Officials. The Worsley Institute of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture.