Spring and Bamboo
By the time Spring arrives officially in late March, we have been longing for it to appear. In China, the Spring season begins with Chinese New Year’s, usually a month or more earlier than our season in the West.
This may seem very early, before we can even sense it, but in fact spring is beginning. The water collected underground in the winter is now absorbed unseen by established roots, and by new seeds, which swell up until they burst open and the Sprout is born. In total darkness, it finds its way to the surface by following the tiny bit of warmth, which begins to appear.
Once it reaches the surface, the little Sprout begins to grow. The first thing to appear with every tiny sprout are two plump leaves, full of qi, containing inside the message of what that plant is to become. A tree, a flowering bush, a tomato plant. It contains the history of all its ancestors in its DNA, and enough essential strength to grow from this tiny being to full maturity.
In the tiny sprout there is enough strength to break through rocks or concrete to get to the light. The power of the Wood/Spring season is the upward surging, forward moving energy that gives a plant this ability to grow towards the light and fulfill its destiny despite obstacles in its way.
Wood gives us self-assertion and self-direction and helps us break through whatever obstacles are in our own path, to fulfill our own destiny as a human being. This upward surging energy can manifest in us as a rising of anger. On the positive side, we have the energy to get things started and done. On the negative side, we may experience frustration as we when we cannot achieve our goals. Just like a plant, our process along the way requires creativity, flexible plans, adaptability, and on the spirit level, the ability to maintain our direction towards the light.
In the move ‘Grow Bamboo’, we become the bamboo itself. With the power of Springtime’s growth and strength within us, our roots spread beneath us, our body is upright, yet relaxed and flexible as a stalk of green bamboo. Our arms extend out like the two little branches that emerge from each node. When we shift back, our weight entirely over the back foot, we have a moment of challenge, even difficulty: which way to grow as straight as possible towards the light?
This is the node of bamboo, from which grows the new shaft, the next step in the plan. The plan may be about work or family or just what to have for dinner. Ultimately the energy of this Element, embodied in this posture and move, is the energy to fulfil our destiny and to reunite with the Light, with the Tao, with all that is.