By Northshire Outpatient Clinician Barbara Kingery
We spend a lot of time and energy seeking stability – of relationships, emotions, physical well-being. We live as a mobile – balancing one situation with others. And, like a mobile, we respond to the needs present at the time; we make adjustments to regain a sense of steadiness. We are of nature and we need to be reminded that our transitions are like the seasons.
This time in May, we moving from one season to another: from youth to adulthood, 30s to 40s, middle age to old age, ignorance to wisdom perhaps. Just as our 30s are great grandparent to our 60s, so is spring the mother of summer.
According to the Chinese Law of 5 Elements each time of year has its own characteristics. Those traits exist to regulate the balance and are preparation for the next season. In spring we are aware of wood and plants and, of course, the greening of the earth. The wood in turn provides the fuel for the fire of summer’s heat and the color changes to red. We see the green blossoms of spring explode into vibrant full blown flowers. The Chinese Law identifies anger and jealousy as the emotions of spring. Those transition into laughter and joy and passion with the arrival of summer. And associated with anger, the liver, the organ of bile and jealousy and ill humor, may be more a problem in the spring. Then, as this period moves into summer our own “heater” and perhaps our heart becomes vulnerable if we have not dealt with our anger. Our internal thermostats and our hearts are the organs of summer.
And so on – Summer is parent of Late Summer (the Harvest) which prepares for Fall which provides for Winter and then gives us Spring again. The seasons appear as a mobile – each time of year a part of the mobile – creating a new balance. Winter, spring, summer, late summer, and fall allow us, in mind/body/heart/spirit, equilibrium and we understand that there is always need for amendment.
The transformation provides occasion for natural adjustments. Change generates balance – and it is the catalyst for creating stasis when the balance is askew. What has happened to date prepares the ground for what will come. Every moment of our lives has brought us to today. And each experience has offered us a life altering opportunity.
Maybe everything we do is to maintain equilibrium. When the time of year does not restore us or if we are already dysregulated, some unconscious mechanism takes charge and we find ourselves in a new state. Perhaps too much drinking/drugging has landed us in CRASH, a partner has found a lover, we fear for our future, or our suppressed rage has hurt our heart. When we are unstable enough, modification will happen.
Seasonal change is “normal” – it preserves the balance. When emotions, behaviors, or thoughts go beyond what we believe is functional – then a more dramatic “ righting of the wrongs” or compensation needs to occur. Ideally, we become the architect of this shift.
The difficult part is knowing that you need to make an adjustment in order that change not “happen to you”. Balance is not what is comfortable for us – it is what readies us for the next stage of our season. When we feel out of balance, we will create a revision to bring about a new equilibrium.
In simple speak – We need energy and so we drink coffee. We worry that we said the wrong thing and so we make amends. We feel scared and so we call a friend. We hate ourselves and so we drink, we do drugs, we binge, we overwork, we avoid. We are being abused and so we leave. We cannot live with our need to be perfect and so we seek help.
Those examples restore equilibrium: some are subtle adjustments and others are more dramatic. Most of the old patterns and habits that we find ourselves in have created for us a sense of stability – and those will change because we will not continue to hurt ourselves (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually) without consequence.
Do you recognize your mobile? Can you identify your seasons of change? Do you see where your balance is shifting? Or needing to shift? Can you identify how your mobile was one way and is now resetting itself?