Season of Irritation
It would really be nice if everybody understood the nature of the seasons according to five element theory. Alternatively, it would help if they were just a bit savvy about the intrinsic nature of changing zodiac signs. For at this time of year, early spring, people are most likely to feel, irritated, annoyed, or frustrated. It’s the nature of wood element energy, which awakens at this time of year and follows a rapid upward-rising vector. This understanding, along with techniques for transforming those discomforting states of mind, can disarm the tendency to project one’s discontent on the world at large, or take to the road in a rude maniac fury.
Awareness of an internal crescendo of annoyance with others these last few weeks put this on the front burner. Then yesterday I was privy to a message sent to all group exercise instructors at the fitness center where I teach t’ai chi. Apparently club members have filed complaint forms in great volumes in recent days, complaining about substitute yoga teachers, and not being told who is covering. The burden falls on the group exercise manager to respond to each of these complaints.
As I read her memo it struck me as unlikely that there was a sudden degradation in the level of substitute teaching. Rather, it’s far more likely that the transition as we shift from winter into spring, has given rise to a volatile energy of irritation, annoyance, and frustration, which is being directed at any and everything that is out of one’s control, not as one desires, and/or fails to meet ones’ expectations. At other times of year, people are more likely to be a little more tolerant, able to be flexible in order to get along, to feel no need to make a fuss. But not so as when we move into spring.
Astrologers will recognize characteristics of Aries energy, an impatience, a desire for action NOW. Familiarity with the philosophy of the Five Elements or the astrological lens helps bring a useful perspective to this tendency toward impatient irritability that surfaces as the sap rises. Armed with the awareness that such a tendency is common at this time of year, one could see it as evidence of our connection with the deep forces of nature that move within and around us. That awareness is the first step in transforming rather than acting on those feelings.
Shifting the irritation, frustration, impatience and anger is a form on internal alchemy. Doing so diminishes outward reactivity. The natural result is a diminished need to project that energy outward, disarming the blame game. By first noticing, and then considering how to deal with their internal environment, people can begin to change the world and their experience of it!
The group exercise manager even mentioned that she found yoga students were complaining about everything even though yoga is supposed to make one less stressed. Maybe “doing” yoga is the problem, if it is done as an activity rather than a practice in awareness. Without understanding that seasonal change contributes significantly to stress levels, which are already high for most people, we do tend to lash out at each other. The ancients’ observed that various emotional states tend to be paired with the seasons. Rather than repressing these emotions, they understood the energetic basis of these pairings, and developed the means to transform them. While it may seem much easier to just dump those emotions on whoever is “in charge”, in turns out that everyone benefits by transforming that energy rather than burdened physiological functioning by holding on to them, or escalating the negative energy in the environment by broadcasting that emotional energy, which it turns out is even more contagious than the most virulent virus and bacteria.
Information about the emotions associated by the Taoists with each organ and the sounds that transform them (as taught by Mantak Chia) is included in both The Be In Better Balance Book, and More Than Meets the Eye: Energy (available from the store at http://HealingPoole.com).
Transforming emotions rather than reacting from their energy requires awareness first. The second step is to connect with the emotional energy within the body. Just bringing full mindful attention to a feeling allows it to dissipate. The emotion is a messenger. Once its message is delivered, that energy just wants to be free. It doesn’t need to be expressed or suppressed if it can be transformed. In the Sedona Method, the process is facilitated by asking oneself three questions. “Could I let that go?” Answer: YES! “Would I let that go?” Answer: YES! “When would I let that go?” Answer: NOW! After a time it becomes unnecessary to ask those questions. If one pauses to connect to the energy of the felt emotion, that alone will allow the energy which has been trapped in the body, to release.
The process itself is really quite simple. Yet it requires us to make a decision to change from habitual reactivity. That intent, to delay action in order to shift from reactivity to a new level of awareness, requires establishing a new habit. It is my wish that the habit become a universal one. My experience, when I’m able to slow down enough in my own life to engage with my emotions at this level is that this becomes the source of magic happening.