The Wood Element



THE WOOD PHASE: In Spring, the sprouted seed takes root, and grows into a vine, finding its place in the world, developing into a full-grown plant.

AND FUTURE continued

By Pat Gorman with Stephen Flores
Photos by Stephen Flores

The Wood Element

In Nature a good winter of frost, dormancy, snow and rain is what’s needed to set up for the action and change of spring, a time identified as the “wood” phase of life. Wood here means all growing things—plant life sprouting from the ground, the phase of childhood and growth in ourselves; the time when growth is the dominant principle of life. And since nature repeats itself yearly, springtime is a chance for us to start new projects, focus on our vision for our future, and think and act on growing and changing in ourselves. If done in the springtime, all of nature—inside and out—will support us in our new endeavors.

For many of us, our lives have, by the time we are in our thirties and forties, entered into ever more restrictive patterns of work, and focus on career, family, responsibility, and achievement. So much so, in fact, that any privately held visions and dreams are shelved: our personal growth is set aside. We may even find that those around us—spouse, children, boss, employees—become nervous and even non-supportive of our making a change. This can even go so far as to cause family breakups, problems at work, stress, and illness, if we feel we cannot become who we need to be.

Looking at nature, observe the wood element: it always starts small. A little green shoot breaks through the ground, followed by only two small, fat leaves that contain nourishment. Slowly, then, the plant differentiates itself, growing yearly into more and more of what it can be.

In our own lives this is a good model: to listen to our inner voice, and start small, with something we have been wanting to explore, be it a creative direction like singing or writing, or going back to school for a different career, or trying a different way to organize our family’s home life. Starting small, starting in the springtime after contemplating change in the winter: these are principles that will support us. And it’s amazing how the feeling of bondage begins to slip away when we have even one thing that we are doing weekly to make a change in our lives. This is how all big trees get started.

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