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Spring: The Season of Liver Wood with Mason & Tahnee (Ep#90)

In this wonderfully conceptual discussion, Mason and Tahnee cover the emotions that may arise during Spring, the Spring archetypes and how to essentially, live more aligned to nature and her exquisite rhythms.

In this wonderfully conceptual discussion, Mason and Tahnee cover the emotions that may arise during Spring, the Spring archetypes and how to essentially, live more aligned to nature and her exquisite rhythms. The dynamic duo discuss their fave Liver Yin herbs to support your Spring experience. Tune in, to be invited to explore seasonal living and what that may look like for you - you are going to enjoy this one.

Mase and Tahns explore:

  • The Mason term: Spring trap, just what is it?
  • Just how important grounding is
  • We are a part of nature (can I get a hell yes to that)!
  • Frustration, feeling stuck, menstrual challenges, hay fever... why are these things common in Spring?
  • Exactly what is Wood energy and how does it translate in our day to day lives
  • The Spring archetypes... the general, the artist
  • The natural tendency for us to seek out bitter, cleansing foods during Spring
  • Herbs / mineral to consider: Beauty Blend, Schisandra, MSM



How To Get Grounded When The Seasons Change (article)
Why Chinese Medicine is Failing Us Rhonda episode
YinYang Wuxing Rhonda episode
Dan  Sipple Gut Bacteria podcast episode
Spring Shopping List (below)



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Check Out The Transcript Here:


Mason: (00:00)

Hey everybody, how are you going?


Tahnee: (00:01)

Hi, everybody.


Mason: (00:03)

Time to talk about some springtime magic. Wonderful season.


Tahnee: (00:07)

Favourite season.


Mason: (00:08)

Favourite? It is a season, though. This is something that happens in the West is Spring, is just this transition. It's like the half caste of the season, same as Autumn, where it's just that bridge between from when it was cold to when it's going to be really warm.


Tahnee: (00:25)

Yeah, we sometimes act like we're in transit, I guess. And we forget to actually stop and enjoy the scenery in springtime, and it's beautiful. Springtime has been springing for a few months here, and we've had all the baby buds and the new shoots on the trees, and all the deciduous trees have their leaves back. The sun's different. It's in a different position in the sky. I'm getting up earlier and staying up later. It's just a different energy in the air at this time of year.


Mason: (01:03)

It's definitely an interesting season, and if we're going to talk about seasons. We're going to talk about transitional periods, and remember that there is going to be that time when you're coming from Winter, even though it's not an absolute moment when it's Winter, and now Winter's stopping, and now you're in Spring.


Mason: (01:23)

But you'll definitely feel you're entering into a transitional stage between the dominance of those two types of Qi, going from the watery Qi of Winter to the woody Qi, that uprising Yang Qi of Spring. And it's important to remember that between all of these elemental seasons, there is that little bit of earth.


Mason: (01:45)

This is the biggest. It's the 'spring trap', I call it, when people will be quiet, especially if you're respecting Winter and you've been really quite dormant, and you've been patient, and you're gathering wisdom, and you dip it into that sage, meditative, more nourishing kind of vibes in the coldness of Yin.


Mason: (02:05)

And then you go, "Oh my God. Yes." The days are starting to go and they'll get a bit longer and, "Oh my gosh, it's a little warmer." And all of a sudden everyone goes complete barefoot, and straight away, they snap into that Spring time, bouncy, Yang energy, which you can maybe do when you're younger. But as you get a little bit older, get a little bit wiser, you just want to remember, you want to just stop, step onto the earth for as long as you need.


Mason: (02:33)

If you've been out of whack and you haven't been living seasonally, you're going to need to go and step on the earth between the seasons a bit longer. As you go living in with the seasons longer and longer and longer, you can just jump on for a couple of days and then Spring into that woody type energy.


Mason: (02:48)

I know, if you haven't been in this conversation for a while, this might be a little bit conceptual, but stick with us. We're going to explain what we mean by the Wood Qi, where that comes from, what its characteristics are, how to navigate the Spring, what the opportunities are, what the emotions are that will be processed. How you dip into the aspiring energy, so you can use this time to really ensure that you're on track with life and you're in flow and in a sustainable flow with the seasons, as well as the herbs to take, so on and so forth.


Mason: (03:21)

But just remember, ground yourself between the seasons. If you can just be patient, ground, lots of nourishing foods between the season. Obviously, as Tahns said, we're a bit later in Spring now, so that opportunity would have come and gone. But connect to your body. Don't leap into that generic conversation around Spring. That it's like, "Oh, it's this time to get creative. And it's time to come out and stretch and crack and go hard, and plan lots, and have a big vision for life.


Mason: (03:57)

Just make sure you go and ground as you're coming out of those, in any season, especially Winter, for a long time. Connect to your body, and then you can gently feel into what the Wood Qi feels like for you in this season, and the kinds of opportunities it's going to present. Sorry for going off on a bit of a conceptual vibe there.


Tahnee: (04:16)

No, I think what you are talking to is well explained by people like Rhonda Chang who we've had on the podcast recently. It's this idea of Qi is energy changing form in different phases, depending on different orientations. Just like if you're facing the sun, you get hot and sweaty on one side and you might get less sweaty on the other side.


Tahnee: (04:46)

As the planet shifts around, we're coming into a getting hot and sweaty on our side time. And so there's going to be certain energies that shift in nature and that shift in us. We are part of nature and we're responding to that. So, I think the old traditions really beautifully capture this observation of nature and what's happening. And then they paint a picture around that instead of maybe what we try and do in the West, which is to overlay our agenda on nature a bit.


Tahnee: (05:17)

And I think that's what's so beautiful about connecting to this Five Phase theory, which is what we're really talking about when we're talking to this Wood energy, and what makes us about going back to this earth energy. If you imagine a compass and you've got the North, South, East, and West directions, and then always in the middle, you've got you, Earth, the orientating point, the pivoting point on which everything spins.


Tahnee: (05:42)

So, what Mase is talking to is you need to stay close to centre in order to navigate these kinds of shifts in energy, and these shifts in the phases of our lives and our days. They're really circadian rhythms. They're really seasonal rhythms. They're really annual rhythms that we're talking to. And every culture, really, except ours, was aware of how much nature and the solar system and the spin of the earth, and everything, was affecting the life of the human.


Tahnee: (06:15)

And so I think one of the gifts of the Taoist lineage is to revive that connection to the stories that nature's telling us. And Spring time's a beautiful story. It is about renewal and rebirth. I've been watching trees that I was like, "Maybe they died." You know? And suddenly they're covered in leaves.


Tahnee: (06:37)

I was thinking I might have had a brown thumb all of a sudden, but like plants that I'm not used to growing suddenly bursting forth with life out of nowhere. Our grapes, this different, strange thing that I've found when we bought the house. And it's the same with watching the whales come through with their babies, and we're watching this playful, joyful energy of, "Oh, the sun's here and the cold's starting to go. I can reach for the sun. I can reach for the stars. I can express myself in that way."


Tahnee: (07:05)

So that energy is really there. And if you tune into yourself, it obviously depends on how far South you live. Like those of us a bit further North have had this vibe for a while, but you can feel that you're starting to maybe become a bit more active and feel a bit more drawn to the outdoors. It's a transition.


Tahnee: (07:28)

And I think what our culture does is get stuck. We get stuck in, "One way is the way, and this is the way we do it all the time." And the invitation of seasonal living and seasonal thinking is, "Well, no. We're cyclical beings and we're constantly churning and turning." And the phases embody that. The Wood is about that upright growth. Trees grow up toward the sun, and they go out.


Tahnee: (07:54)

And the energy of Spring is a little bit wild and it's vigorous and it's energetic. It's the winds of change and it's a big energy. It's not always a fun energy. It's in us all the time. Just because it's Spring time, doesn't mean we don't have Wood energy in us all the time. But it's worse in Spring time because nature is in that Wood energy phase, and so we're attuning to nature, like a little harmonising kind of pitch fork.


Tahnee: (08:23)

Suddenly, we're going, "Okay, well nature's doing that. I'm going to do that." Even on a very subconscious energetic level. And so if you're already a bit out of balance in that area, which would show up as things like hay fever, menstrual difficulties, irritability, and frustration, and anger, feeling stuck, feeling stagnant, poor Blood circulation, those kinds of issues.


Mason: (08:43)

Eye issues, losing vision in life.


Tahnee: (08:46)

Yeah. Those are all things that are going to indicate that, in general, your Wood energy's out of whack, and now, because the season is so strong and wooden, and it just can easily overdo it in you, and then you're going to end up expressing some of these difficulties.


Tahnee: (09:02)

So, it's this really interesting. I always am curious when a season shifts to see how I respond, and how my body responds. We talk about it's like a report card on how well you honoured the previous season's energy. We were talking before we came on that maybe we could have been a bit more Yin this Winter.


Tahnee: (09:24)

It's hard, sometimes, to remember to honour the energy of the seasons. And none of us are perfect, and we're not trying to be, but it's just a nice point of reflection of like, "Well, we had a beautiful year, but what would I do differently?" I would maybe socialise less or give myself less commitments over that period of time because my energy, naturally, wants to withdraw.


Tahnee: (09:48)

So, those are things that each person has to work out for themselves. Some people thrive in certain seasons more than other people. But for me, springtime has always felt like a new year for me. It's a bit early in terms of the actual new year, but yeah, there's a sense of new opportunities and new vision and new growth. And there's juicy young leaves that you see on the trees, that are just so ripe to be of service to the rest of the plant. They're just soft and young and vibrant, that verdant green colour. Yeah. They really embody that.


Tahnee: (10:28)

And that's what the Taoists were pointing to. They were pointing to the colour of Wood energy is green. Their embodiment of it is bamboo, which is long and strong and flexible and -


Mason: (10:40)



Tahnee: (10:40)

Yeah, and really powerful, but also yielding. And these are things, like we often think of Wood and think of a big Oak or a big dry, crusty piece of wood that we put in a fireplace or something. But the Taoists, being around the China area, the kind of references were really those beautiful old trees that lived forever and held the wisdom of forever, but also kept bringing forth new life and new growth. And then the bamboo, which is this incredibly interesting plant that embodies so much of the Taoist kind of philosophy.


Mason: (11:17)

What she's talking about is nature is unfolding at this time of year, but it is unfolding in relation to the position of the Earth in relation to the sun. And so, what happens is the Qi of our world, of where we are, and the Qi of our atmosphere and the Qi of Earth takes on a particular quality. And then nature, the trees, us, our organs, animals follow the new formation of that Qi. And when they look at the characteristics of the Qi, they said, "Wow, that really reminds us of the characteristics of wood."


Tahnee: (11:51)

It's a metaphor. It's a story. It's a story to help you understand what you're seeing. I'm watching, every single year around the time when the sun hits this point in the sky and the days get longer, that these sorts of things start to happen. Well, what's a great metaphor for that? It's the young sapling, it's the piece of bamboo, it's the ancient, wise tree. So, they teach us these beautiful stories that help us to remember. And if you don't have writing, if you've got a verbal lineage, you need stories because otherwise you forget stuff. And so, it's a gift to have this stuff written down, for sure. But it's also beautiful to tell the stories, I think, so that we can start to understand.


Mason: (12:42)

I mean, even beyond those stories, you can see the qualities if you're living in a non-colonised manner. It's why it's important to ground between the seasons, so you can really connect with yourself. Coming out of Winter, especially, where, ideally, we have had less aspiration during that time.


Mason: (13:03)

Ideally, we have had less aspiration during that time. We've had less agenda. We're not looking for kicking goals and getting these big gains, which isn't always possible. And we need to see how that works in with the lives that we've crafted for ourselves, but then to go from that energy to the aspiring energy and audacious energy of Spring, it's why it's important to get out of our head, because if you just transition in your head too quickly and you get into the 'spring trap', you haven't gone into your body and felt what quality of the quality of Wood is there for me this year. And so I'm going to elaborate on this now because there's archetypes I like to use, especially going, kind of taking the... running with Charles Moss's archetypes, the Walley? Matt Walley? Not Matt Walley, that's the-


Tahnee: (13:54)



Mason: (13:55)

Walsley. And it really helps me tune into... if I look at the archetype of that Liver Wood season as we go in, we know there's that shade of the Liver that's that artist, that creative artist. And if I don't ground between the seasons, I just jump into mentally knowing that Spring time's all about creativity and coming up with these big visions and coming up with these big ideas of where I'm going to take myself this year and into the future, but there's a big balancing act to that Wood Qi energy, which is described as the general of the army. And I really like it. Some people don't really like relating to a general, but there's nothing else really that encapsulates.


Tahnee: (14:46)

Well, the other one that I like is the architect. So I can't remember who taught me that one, somebody did, but yeah, the general is a great one. I mean, so you look at where this comes out of a feudal kind of society. So there's a lot of metaphor in Taoism, especially as it became codified into a kind of medical system, there's a lot of reference to feudal characters. Emperors, and generals, and ministers of the grain and all these kinds of things. And yeah, if you think about what a general does in an army, it's a strategic role, it's a role where you're making plans and controlling resources and allocating resources. And you have your assistants who are incredibly important in making sure that the orders are followed through.


Tahnee: (15:35)

And that's really the Liver and the gallbladder in the body. The Liver with the Blood, taking the Blood and filtering out what is necessary for continuing health and longevity, what needs to be eliminated, what needs to be kind of transformed, what needs to be stored. It's a huge role. And then the gallbladder with the bile, taking that bile the Liver produces and concentrating it and transforming it further and then eliminating it into the digestive tract so it can be excreted or recycled. There's this kind of supporting role, I guess, that that organ plays kind of on a physical level, but also on a metaphorical level.


Mason: (16:19)

Well right hand to the emperor, the Heart.


Tahnee: (16:21)



Mason: (16:22)

Right? And so the general in the system of the Liver is the one kind of actually doing all the work. Most important, like head of the organs is the Heart. Heart goes, everyone goes.


Tahnee: (16:34)

Well and the Heart sings to the right... it sings to the Liver really, because the Liver is the dreaming, it's the visioning of the Heart. So again, we can segment these things out, but really what we're looking at is kind of different functions of really the same kind of energy. It's all Qi, but the Qi that wants to dream and look to the future and envisage where we're going, that we manifest as Wood Qi, as Liver Qi. And then the Heart overseeing the whole operation, but kept separate because you don't let the emperor see everybody, you don't let the emperor talk to every person that comes through. You give the emperor space and protect them so that they can do the job of ruling the kingdom. And so the Heart is kind of a little bit removed really.


Tahnee: (17:26)

So the Liver is the one doing that work, and it's sitting over in the east of where the sun rises, sitting where we kind of open ourselves to possibility and the dawning of a new day. And if you think about Spring in terms of a daily circadian rhythm, it's that, the sun rising and that zenith toward that peak Yang of full expression, oops, which is the fire time is summertime. So you can think of Spring time as a dawning. If you think of Winter as the depth of night, as midnight, as the kind of time of rest, but also of kind of subconscious stirrings and dreamings and an integration and reflection, then okay, we've done that work. We've taken the time to really, to integrate and to draw the lessons and the teachings out of what happened in the cycle before.


Tahnee: (18:21)

And now we're into a new cycle, we're into a cycle that brings new opportunity to take what's integrated and to create something new. And so this is always happening in a spiral, really. And if you look at the mathematics of nature, the spiral is where... the double helix, all of these things, it's like we're in the same place, but we've grown. So we're now in the same place, but looking from a different place. And we just keep doing that year to year to year. And the idea being that over time... And this is why the Taoists wanted to be a model. It's not because they wanted to live forever, it's because they knew that every year they lived, they gained more knowledge and more insight and better understanding of nature and themselves and humans and heaven and Earth. And to cultivate the amount of healthy, clean, Qi it's required to be a really healthy human and to sort of transcend this form, almost that takes a lifetime. It takes more than a lifetime. So-


Mason: (19:16)

And what you were saying about learning year to year, it's a massive one because as I kind of... I really, really like these two sides of the coin being the general and the artist. That for me, it really embodies... Although it's segmented and I'm going to talk to you about how these two archetypes are emerging into one formula, it really talks to this erect practical uprightness of the Yang, of the Liver that is like a general. And that general will be very pragmatic and going, "I need to ensure the survival of everyone here. What happened last year's campaigns? What happened in the campaigns of the last 10 years? That lofty dream that I've been having and trying to manifest that has once again led to no yields. I don't have enough troops. I don't have enough Jing, I don't have enough energy to go and do it. I'm actually going to have to readjust. I actually don't have the skills to go and do this."


Mason: (20:17)

It's kind of like it clips you on the side of the head, and that's why I like to really bring this up. Because especially in the wellness community, in the woke community, you can go a long way. You go right into the artistry and right into the big vision, you create this massive vision for yourself, which is very supple and yielding and bendy. And sometimes you just don't have quite enough of that Yang to make you erect and practical and plan and strategic, and really create a solid run of events and a very practical onboarding of skills. And then a longterm vision going, we've only got so long this year of if you're campaigning as a general. We've only got so long. We need to really make sure, be realistic about how many Ks we're going to be able to travel and so on and so forth, how many resources we're going to have.


Mason: (21:10)

And if you drop into your body and feel that, eventually you might need to have... like for me, I've had to have a couple of bit more really extreme balancing, sitting in that Yang energy where I've gotten really practical about where I'm trying to take my life, realising some things are a bit pie in the sky, or if I want to do some of these things, I'm going to have to take two steps back and actually deal with with some emotions. I need to just actually get a little bit more clear, which is a huge aspect that comes up in Liver. You need to clear a lot of baggage. You need to cleanse the Blood. You need to get rid of a lot of waste so you can replenish and bring suppleness to the entire orchestra of your tissue.


Mason: (21:51)

And as I've been going along, you can see in the way that you relate as a general being very Yang, all of a sudden blending in is this... All of a sudden the dreaming and the vision comes in to that practical Yang driving energy. And likewise, if you're sitting in that supple Yin Wood energy, all of a sudden in your dreaming, the practicality and the patience case starts coming into your visioning. And so it's a very important time of year. I find a lot of people I've been talking to, especially in this context, have needed to take a couple of practical steps back. And then those people who are living their life 100% practically with no dreaming are learning how to be a little bit more like bamboo and invite some of that suppleness so that they can bring a bit more of their vision and their deep inner dreaming to the way that they live.


Tahnee: (22:47)

Well, and I think that's the core of what Liver kind of offers us, I suppose, or the Wood energy offers us, is the ability to make plans, but then the ability to be adaptable when things don't go to plan. And again, if you imagine a general, they're thinking on their feet, they're dealing with things that they had no idea were going to come up, there's consequences with every decision they make that they have to be really ready to handle. And I think that's why it's such a good analogy really for what that energy does. Because the Liver doesn't know what you're going to go and eat. It doesn't know what kind of chemicals you're going to be exposed to. All it knows is that it's got a bunch of jobs to do and it's going to do them and it's going to do them to the best of its ability.


Tahnee: (23:34)

And that's why you see over time things accumulate with people. And that's why I've become so conscious over my lifetime of learning to adapt a bit more to these kind of natural seasonal trends, because it just gives your body a chance to catch up on the cleaning house. And springtime is such a natural detox time people talk about. And I just know for me, all Winter long I did not have an interest in a green vegetable. Like a couple of things here and there. Whereas suddenly I'm just like, I want juice, I want fresh things, I want to have parsley. I'm looking at the weeds in the garden, I'm seeking those bitter flavours, I'm seeking the sour flavours.


Tahnee: (24:16)

And there's just this natural pull toward those things that cleanse. And that's where we look at things like herbs, you've got your Schisandras and those kinds of things which have that astringent kind of cleansing effect. And you can just feel that that's what's needed at this time, that the body's had that big boost to nutrition and nourishment over Winter time, but now it's time to clean out a little bit, make sure we're light and ready for these big shifts towards summertime. And yeah.


Mason: (24:46)

Yeah. I mean the replenishment of bringing suppleness and freshness to the tissue by bringing cleaning to the Blood, if you don't take advantage of it at the beginning of each Spring, then that's when you find that there's a necessity as you get down the track of needing to do these huge big cleanses, because all of a sudden all these symptoms have started to kind of creep up on you. For me, getting onto, as Tahns was saying, some of those more bitter greens, I still haven't been really drawn to too many salads. I don't think we've really been going down the route of eating too many raw foods still.


Mason: (25:30)

I think where that comes in as well, is that if you've been off track for a while in terms of not really honouring the season, which we're going to be, we run a company, the company doesn't just kind of shut down in Winter and all of a sudden having five hour days and three day weekends. Although we're trying to move ourselves in that direction where we actually can do that. But I mean, opening an American company at the moment probably isn't on our side.


Mason: (26:03)

American company at the moment, probably is on our side since we're always going to be in the opposite season as well, but you need to respect the fact that you've been off-track on the season. You can't just all of a sudden go, "Great, it's springtime. It's heaps of raw food, it's heaps of salads, and it's heaps of juices. I feel heaps of cold foods." It doesn't really work that way. I'll just say it won't work that way for us anyway, but we've definitely started being attracted to bringing a little bit more freshness into all of our dishes, bringing a little bit of dandy. We've been going pretty hard on that Australian bush food, Davidson plum, finger lime, kakadu plum, a touch of native pepper, Lilly Pilly.


Mason: (26:48)

We've been doing a freeze dried one of those every single day. We've been hitting MSM, the sulphur really hard to get the Liver flowing in that way. But then Beauty Blend, at SuperFeast is the one. I went for two weeks. At the change of season, once I've gone and stood on the earth and then I'm ready to ease back into that springtime energy, I always feel Beauty Blend with Schisandra, come up at that time. And a lot of people get drawn to doing the 100 Days of Schisandra at the start of Spring. And whether you're doing that or whether you're doing what I do, just getting onto those Liver herbs, the Schisandra, the Gojis, Pearl, and Longan, what you're doing is... And at the same time you could be layering in beetroot juices and these kinds of things as well, a bit of MSM.


Mason: (27:31)

You're ensuring that you Liver has got the capacity to get in and cleanse the crap out of that Blood so it can be light and it can make sure that all the tissue that's getting delivered, all that Blood, is going to be juicy and supple. And that's really a Yin... These are Yin herbs as well, which is something I find a lot of people in the West are really craving. If you think about if everyone's excessively Yang, we're getting excessively brittle and firm and the aspiration is looking in a straight ahead direction. And we look at what the Yang does in the body. It makes the capillaries and the Blood vessels really nice and strong so the Blood can rush through, but if we don't have the Yin, the Yin brings that yielding and that bending into those Blood vessels.


Mason: (28:19)

And if we don't have that, then the Blood's running hot. And a lot of people are running hot. A lot of people in the West are running Yang, and that's why we have neck issues, tightness of breath. And these are all things that we're looking at when we've got an excess of that Liver Yang. And so that's why I especially find it really useful for people to get on those Beauty Blend Yin herbs, Yin Liver herbs, just to make sure that you're getting supple. As you start bringing a bendiness along with that erectness of the Yang, once you bring that suppleness especially of those vessels, all of a sudden you see the Blood starts running through like a nice babbling brook. And so all of a sudden you can feel it. The Blood cools down a little bit, it's got a little bit more of an inviting feeling. And so that's something I really recommend everyone to be doing at the start of Spring.


Tahnee: (29:10)

And that's that balance of Yin and Yang energies. That's why the bamboo is that perfect analogy of if the wind blows, the bamboo just bends. It doesn't need to resist the wind. And that's always the kind of teaching story of the Liver energies. You don't become brittle like dry wood. You stay soft and supple like a young sapling or like bamboo so that if you're trying to get to the sun or you're trying to navigate a change in your environment, you're able to yield to the change and not be knocked over by it and not be killed effectively by these big changes. And that's what I think if you think of a good leader or a good architect, a good architect drafts his vision or her vision, but then he or she will talk to the builder and talk to the engineer and then things will change.


Tahnee: (30:02)

And then it's just constantly evolving and adapting as the build progresses. And once you're on site and you notice where the sun sets and how the wind blows and things will adapt and change. And so it's this constant ability to be in reference to nature, but then hold your own kind of vision. And that's what this vision of the Liver is, it's revelation, it's keeping the Heart satisfied that the Heart's on its path. It's keeping the Heart open to what's possible so the Heart doesn't become depressed. And we're talking about Shen, we're talking about these ideas lately and that's a lot to do with this function of the Liver and its capacity to move Blood through the body and its capacity to clean the Blood and the Blood being the kind of conduit that Blood and Qi are intimately related and the Heart circulating the Blood.


Tahnee: (30:55)

So there's this real strong relationship between what we see the Liver function expressing as and also the other harmonious aspects of the human being. And so the energy or the emotional aspects when we are out of balance with our Liver is we're going to be frustrated. PMS is just such a classic example. It's intimately related to the Liver. It's this increase in histamine in the body for a lot of women, which creates heat and irritation and frustration. And histamine being, if you think about, well, that's a Liver, what's the word, hormone, and it's sort of irritating and it's flowing through and it's creating this excess heat. And so then we get frustration, irritability, crankiness, these kind of classic PMS symptoms. And then you're going to get also the inflammation and swelling that comes with that, which again, is all part of this overactivity and over Yang activity of the Liver of theW ood energy in the body. And so one of the things we try and do is we try and preserve our Yin throughout our cycle so that when we hit that week or two before our period, we're not depleted and so we're not running hot. We've got enough water in the tank, water in the Blood to keep the Blood cool. And like Mase was saying before, enough suppleness and flexibility to yield to the changes of our cycle as well. And you see that a lot with menopause too, with the hot flushes and women's getting overheated and that's just the body's lost the ability to regulate and that's because we've spent our lifetime depleting that Yin Essence of the body.


Tahnee: (32:36)

And if you're listening to this and you're menopausing, well, frigging great. It's too late now, for sure. But it's just I think sometimes interesting to reflect on what we learn, because I've cooked myself a thousand times and it's been a really good teacher for me to learn okay, well, that's what happens if I push it too hard. My next period is bad, I end up having symptoms in inverted commas of PMS that I don't normally get. So then I know that those were decisions or lifestyle choices I made this month that have affected that.


Mason: (33:07)

Talking about getting yourself cooked, as you said, the Liver sometimes needs to make hard decisions. So first of all, we enter into this Liver season. I've really recognised that because I normally burst in, I fall for the spring trap and I burst out and I really like that this is... I'm a creative, so it's my time. It's like a balm for me coming in with patience. If I can come in with a little bit of patience to the Liver season, what I've realised is we want the spirit to be happy and we want the emperor to be happy. And the Liver does, but if you want to be good leader, you don't just say yes all the time to everything. And this is where it starts. Maybe if you haven't rested properly in Winter, you're not going to have the best opportunity. But if you can come in with patience... Well, say you don't have patience and you come in and you just go I just got all this vision, I'm not bagging out the idea of having your cake and eat it too, but you're going to need patience if you want to do that. And you also want to know how richly you want to go into different sectors of life. Do you want it all, all these four things and four career paths, or do you want to just do two in a way that you can go really down, dig down deep down the well and get that richness? And so when you get to the Liver time, if you have a bit of patience, this is where you can prevent yourself going down, I find for me anyway, the time when you can really start looking down the barrel of your life as you plan and you're practical, how many times am I going to cook myself?


Mason: (34:54)

Right? If I keep on going down the route of in my vision I'm this, and I've got this, and I've got that, then you can start making really big decisions about saying, "Look, I know my spirit would really love doing this right now, but I'm just going to have to possibly shelve that." We've been having these conversations. It's a really hard one for me because I want everything yesterday. And what I'm realising is that it's a big process for me.


Mason: (35:28)

If I'm all of a sudden something that was always in the plan, whether it came up subconsciously, whether I'd consciously decided that was my spirit, my career path, or the kind of expectation I had on myself, or whatever it is, I get to this point in Spring at the moment that I realised if I continue to have this expectation on myself and if I continue to tick off all these aspects of who I am as a professional, or as a person, I'm thinking about the pressure that I had on myself as being a health educator and someone also studying Chinese medicine and then also running the company and just all the things, it's at this season where I start going, "I'm going to start letting go of that now consciously. I can't give that to the Heart right now, but this is going to mean I'm going to be able to double down and really start manifesting some solid shit in my life if I just pick two, a couple of really core parts."


Mason: (36:29)

I feel for me the opportunity to really mourn the letting go. It's going to come up, it's the tag team between Spring and Autumn, that if you can make those practical decisions of your life path right now. In a business sense, it's like for me, I choose for something to happen in four years rather than one year, or vice versa, whatever it is, I can just make that decision consciously and then know when I get around to the Autumn time, I'm going to have the opportunity to really mourn that part of my identity or that part of that aspiration that I'd had and was possibly a little bit juvenile. And I've decided to chop that off. You chop it off in Spring and drop it, and then as it gets down to it, it starts really breaking down over Summer and then creating nourishment for yourself in the soils as you get through late Summer and then Autumn. It's been a real huge realisation for me.


Tahnee: (37:40)

I think it's tricky because these energies are in us all the time, so you might grieve in the middle of springtime and that's fine. There's a stronger pull toward this type of energy. And I think as we create a vision for ourselves, by nature, we have to let go of some things. You don't go to the desert and there's a rainforest in the middle of it. It's just the desert is the desert and the rainforest is the rainforest and nature is smart like that. It knows what to leave out and it knows what to bring in. And I think as we become more natural in our living and our thinking, we then start to see well, it's actually not my Dharma or my Heart's vision really to see this through. That's a pressure I've put on myself from outside. I think when you look at the Liver in its worst expression, it's type A, it's controlling, it wants everything done yesterday. It's full on-


Mason: (38:48)

It's angry.


Tahnee: (38:49)

Angry. It's irritable, it's frustrated. It's can't understand why things haven't happened. It's up and out, up and out, up and out. And that's not ideal and that's why the yielding in aspect of it is so important in that we can soft-


Tahnee: (39:03)

That's why the yielding in aspect of it is so important in that we can softly adapt while holding the vision, but I think also like if you think about the body, it's the tendons and the ligaments of the body, that it's kind of governed by the Liver energy and the eyes, and you think about what the eyes do or how we see, right? They're our vision and you think about the third eye and yes, we've got our day to day eyes, but we've also got this eye that can access to our spirit and that's what the Liver does as well as it's the home of our spiritual vision, really the Hun kind of the aspect of us that's from heaven and while we sleep, but that little guy dances off into the kind of heavens and dreams for us and has those adventures in the astral realms and then comes home to land ready for that expression in the light of day.


Tahnee: (39:54)

And I think that's something that's really kind of important to remember is that Liver energy and that reaching for the stars is an aspect of what this season is really all about. It's about dreaming really big, but then yeah, there's an element of reality to what we can really pull forth and what we've, with the resources we have. And again, that's why the general is an excellent analogy because he can't go to war against an army of 10 million. If he's got 10,000, he has to be sneaky. So he has to plan a Ninja attack or something. Anyways there's so many great stories through history of people, who've been incredibly creative and visionary and how they've tackled problems and projects. And they've done the impossible with their dreaming. And that would be an example of strong Liver energy.


Tahnee: (40:41)

And you can see it in people's bodies. You can see those people that are wound up tight that looked like they were about to snap and that would be someone whose Liver Qi's really unbalanced and really Yang and kind of could do with a bit of softening.


Mason: (40:54)

And at the same time, as you get the Qi flowing through the Liver, if you can honour and respect the energy within yourself, if you start getting onto those Liver herbs and Liver foods that you've got, if there's a little post, we can on SuperFeast a little shopping list, you get onto the dark leafy greens and the beetroots and black sesames and fatty fish and oatmeal and chives, daikon, it's time for garlic and lots of berries, liquid chlorophyll, artichokes, radishes, cucumbers, cruciferous veggies, eating Liver if you're that way inclined. If you you move into that more cleansing energy, you're cleansing the Blood, therefore you're cleansing the skin. You're not having these big, these rashy breakouts. If you do all these things, then all of a sudden the spirit of the Liver, the Hun can come out and express itself.


Mason: (41:59)

It's not frustrated, the Liver Qi is not flowing and not respected. Then you're going to get dysfunctions. You're going to get on one side angry and frustrated, that can become a timidness, right? And so you're just timid and you've lost what the expression of the will of the spirit, as it runs through the Liver is which is an aspiring energy. You're aspiring for something more, you're aspiring to create. And you've got audaciousness in the way that you do it. Is this something like the way that Rhonda was explaining it that really had the penny drop for me and because I know I've kind of talked about it in a little bit of like a getting back on track, kind of like a redirecting your energy into a more of a holistic Liver Qi energy, which can seem like it's kind of taking a step back and being quite practical.


Mason: (42:50)

But once you have amalgamated that upright, confident, very pragmatic and plan-having general with this big creative vision-having beautiful artistry, artist self inside of you, all of a sudden, they kind of can mix into one. As we know, Yin and Yang do emerge into one and you can't separate them. They're just in a constant flow between them. All of a sudden this audaciousness of your spirit can begin to emerge and you can continue to aspire in a way that's practical and linked in with all the other organs. Your Liver is not running off and going, "Right. I'm going to take this show from now." And forgets that it's going to have to work with all its friends.


Tahnee: (43:40)

Yeah. And so that's where herbs can play a role, I think, in integrating that energy and harmonising it in the body and creating that space. And we've talked about Schisandra which not only works on the Liver, but works on all of the organ systems. So I love Schisandra in seasonal transition times. And not just in springtime, but it's especially relevant in springtime the yin Liver herbs that Mase spoke about, the Beauty Blend, especially being the kind of personification of that. But also just like a lot of Western herbs, milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, you can look through most health food stores and naturopaths these days have little Liver supporting tinctures and things you can explore. I'm personally I'm a big fan of dandelion and milk thistle occasionally, but really like Schisandra, I think it works so well for my constitution, but yeah. It's a fun, little kind of exploration of what really supports me in this time.


Tahnee: (44:45)

And some of those foods Mase was talking about, if you think about liquid chlorophyll is such a cleansing and cooling food, but also really providing that kind of nutrition for the Blood and when we end up with things like Blood deficiencies and stuff, we just put extra stress on the Liver. We put too much strain on, and that's why really high fat diets, especially lots of saturated fats can be deleterious to the Liver. Again, I know lots of people are into those kind of keto diets these days, but from a kind of a Taoist perspective, not contraindicated necessarily, but just again, if it's a time when the Liver is already strained, fat is what bile needs. Bile needs, I'm sorry, fat needs bile to process it. So that can put a lot of strain on the body to produce extra bile and to make sure that that's being digested.


Tahnee: (45:39)

So there's kind of always little nuances to each person's requirements and needs and constitutional needs, but dietary fibre is super important because the bile is one of the ways the body gets rid of a lot of toxicity. And if your body is recycling the bile at the duodenum, which can be really good if you don't have a lot of toxicity in your body, but if you're doing something like a heavy metal detox or any kind of big cleanse, you really want to make sure you have a lot of fibre at that stage, because that's where if you have enough fibre, it will sweep past the duodenum and kind of get that bile down into the colon and excrete it out of the body. Otherwise it's going to sort of be recycled into the body and it's going to take a lot of those fat-soluble kind of toxins back into the bloodstream. So, just remembering that it's probably a good time of year to stay high in the fibres and not just be too much, I guess. In a high, fat low fibre diet. So yeah, any other insights?


Mason: (46:44)

I think so. I think you've also just covered on there that there might be a time perhaps Winter might be a time where you're really enjoying a little bit of a high fat period. With any diet, remember a dogmatic stance is going to be something, an ideological stance is something that will eventually, most likely take you out of a seasonal rhythm. So just remember the seasons are a really good way because it's constantly changing every year and it's a constant opportunity for you to tune in to your body and your value system and the reality of what's available. And remember that a part of... It's tempting as a part of this huge global colony is to constantly just forget that we're in the place of we've just got this ultimate choice and then therefore people are looking for what's right.


Mason: (47:37)

Therefore the choice that we make, we want to be right all the time. And it's just generally not going to happen. If you get out of a colonial civilised stagnant way of living, that tries to cut nature out of everything and you step right back into the seasons, it's going to consistently challenge, especially the ratio of calories that you're taking. So it's definitely a good opportunity, I think, to challenge any of that high-fat ketogenic kind of tone that you have there and even if it's just, I'm not saying it's right to get off keto, but just have a look. Have a look at what the potential benefits are of looking elsewhere.


Mason: (48:17)

And likewise, if someone's absolutely shit scared of fat, it's your opportunity at different times of seasons to start challenging that, where that information has come from and the keto one, you can start looking at the data there is on what the types of, I think you can go back to the episode that I did with that bacterial balance with Dan Sipple and you can start getting a few reasons of what the impact of excess fat is doing and the growth of particular bacterial species in excess that then go and create incredible amounts of inflammation.


Mason: (48:51)

Then loosening up at the of the gut wall junctures and leads to leaky gut, so on and so forth. So yeah, I'm kind of like, it's a nice, Mediterranean diet kind of time as well I find in Spring, lots of fibre, lots of colours. There's lots of variety and, yeah. Meats, some meats on the side, bean and legumes on the side and just do a lot of, yeah, and can get that cleanse on.


Tahnee: (49:18)

Great. Well, yeah. Thanks everyone. And go spring into Spring.


Mason: (49:23)

See you next time-

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Transitioning from Winter to Spring

Ever struggle with the seasonal shifts? Mood changes, allergies, just feeling a! Don't worry, we've got a few tips for you that can help your transition from winter to spring. Read on :)

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Transitioning from Winter to Spring