Seasonal Cleaning: 7 Steps to Bring in Spring

springIn front of the sink, where I wash my hands every time I finish a massage, just outside the window there is a big, beautiful Ginkgo Biloba tree. This tree is my seasonal clock: naked in the winter, budding in the spring, verdantly green in the summer and golden yellow in the autumn. Every week I get to see it change and do its thing – following some innate wisdom rising through its sap – it knows what to do next and exactly when. I often think it would be nice to be as in tune as this tree to the yearly cycles of nature. How come this wisdom doesn’t just flow naturally through my veins and tissues, telling me when to blossom, when to give, when to shed? Then again, maybe it does.

Right now the asparagus are beginning to sprout, the cherry blossoms and magnolias are having flowery orgasms, farmers are beginning to sell strawberries again and the sensuous scent of jasmine is filling the air. This can only mean one thing: Spring is here!

Spring is the season of sprouting, blooming, regenerating and cleansing the body as well as renewing the spirit and making space for what is fresh and new. So, in that spirit, the following is a quick list of things to do to make way for the vibrant energy of spring.

1. Love your Liver  In Chinese medicine spring is the season correlated with the liver. So to care for your liver, eat light meals and get good rest at night. Eat lots of bitter and sour foods like dandelion, fresh lemon, apple cider vinegar, raw green things and sprouts, and bitter spices like turmeric and milk thistle.

2. Acknowledge Anger  Anger is the emotion of the liver, if you are pissed off, let it out! Punch your pillow, yell in the car, or talk to a friend about what’s stressing you out and then let it go!  Stagnant anger can accumulate in the liver and cause dis-ease later on.

3. Cleanse your body  This is the season to naturally shed off the extra pounds we gained while eating heavy winter foods that kept us warm. Perhaps try an ayurvedic kitchari cleanse or liver flush diet for a week or 10 days. You’ll feel re-energized and renewed!

4. Stretch  Eastern medicine also says that the liver maintains tendon health and flexibility, so don’t forget to do your morning stretch routine, learn tai chi or go to yoga class.

5. Get a massage  Therapeutic massage or any other kind of healing bodywork increases blood and lymph circulation which will help you detox if you are cleansing or just help you relax into the freshness of the season.

6. Clean your home  A clear space to live in makes it easier to feel clear and spacious inside. I encourage you to clean out your closet, get rid of stuff cluttering your home and get yourself a new plant to bring fresh life into your space.

7. Go outside  Fresh spring air makes your liver Qi flow. Go on hikes more often in this season and, while you’re at it, take in the fragrance of the blossoming trees.