Welcoming Kindness Into Your Life

Kindness is the gift or power of Wood.

You already understand the nature of Wood if you have observed plants growing and overcoming obstacles. A tiny little acorn has the long-term vision or blueprint within that directs it to become an oak tree and nothing else. This type of long-term vision, essential to manifesting our greatest potential, is an expression of the yin aspect of Wood and is also known as Liver qi.

Obstacles like concrete sidewalks and metal fences do not stop tender shoots of grass or would-be oak trees from growing up and around them. When our own bodily and spiritual Liver qi is unable to navigate around obstacles, we may experience great anger and frustration as we push against impenetrable blocks. Over time, if we fail to see a new pathway around the obstacles, our energy may be depleted, then depression or collapse may replace the anger.

Ideally, we move beyond anger or collapse, and find a flexible way to meet an obstacle – like that tender blade of grass that persists in its direction up through the pavement by finding spaces in the pavement where it can grow, or a young tree finds a way around a fence by adapting its shape while continuing to grow. We should want to flex and bend with the wind, much like the Willow tree. Kindness is a way for us to meet obstacles – creatively finding ways to persevere in our ultimate direction without demanding that the fence (or other challenging factor) move for us. Allowing for the presence of the apparent obstacle and effectively adapting often looks like kindness, unlike anger, which demands, often ineffectively, that the obstacle move.

Acupuncture points that govern Wood energy occasionally have names that reflect this creative kindness, like Walk Between (Liver 2), a point located between the large and second toes, and Bright Eyes (Gall Bladder 1) and Bright and Clear (Gall Bladder 37). These names imply that we each have the capacity to see clearly. This clear vision facilitates good navigation and flexibility in our environments.

Welcome More Kindness

Acupuncture promotes flexibly – physically, mentally and emotionally. The Gates of Buddha is an example of one way an acupuncturist can support the release of frustration, making way for kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. Point names that include “Gate” in their name are typically effective in promoting greater flow through areas that are easily blocked. When qi is flowing rather than blocked, it is easy to experience flexibility and compassion. The Gates of Buddha is the name of a pattern of points that supports smooth flow of qi in the body using one of the most important points on the Liver channel called Happy Calm (Liver 3).

Ease of Mobility

Becoming more flexible in the body supports more ease of mobility in how we navigate potentially frustrating situations. Stretching can be a powerful form of stress management. Stress can easily spill out in words, tone of voice, or body language that others perceive as angry. Breathe deeply, slowly and smoothly while stretching. Focus on lengthening the exhalation to encourage the muscles to lengthen, releasing tension. Yoga is an excellent tool for moving energy. Adding or lengthening the time you spend stretching after cardiovascular exercise or weight-training will also support the flexibility of your Wood qi.