LIFE Cycles Retreat Spring, 2018

LIFE Cycles is a series of workshops where we reflect and move through the seasons. Each season relates to a different element in Chinese Medicine, including Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire. Based on John Kirkwood's teachings of the 5 Elements we reflect on the current season, the  qualities it brings to our life and ways we can use this knowledge to facilitate health and wellness.

Occupations shape our life.  What we do and how we feel determine health, happiness and self awareness. LIFE Cycles teaches practical ways of doing, being and becoming in alignment with the natural cycles. We meet 5 times a year to explore the occupation of Life In Five Elements (LIFE).

LIFE Cycles Retreat Spring, 2018

Join us to Celebrate Spring in the element of Wood with meditation, mindfulness, yoga, self acupressure techniques and other practical ways of bringing balance into your LIFE this Spring. 

When: Sun Oct 7th 9.30 am - 12.30 pm
Where: Beeliar Regional Park, Bibra WA
Cost: $80
Register: email
Facilitated by: Sasha Wray and Zoe Cole

About the Facilitators

Sasha Wray and Zoe Cole are occupational therapists who share a passion for holistic health and healing. They offer this retreat for all people who have a desire or need to bring balance, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social or cultural, into their life. 

Zoe is a Yoga Instructor and Occupational Therapist. Sasha is a 5 Elements Acupressure practitioner, Naturopath and Occupational Therapist. Their work delivers an integration of Ancient wisdom with contemporary science. 

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Spring Element Wood

Most of the following information is either directly taken or inspired by John Kirkwood’s book The Way of the Five Seasons (2016) Singing Dragon: London

Spring has sprung and with it comes new energy in our lives. We find ourselves moving, thinking and feeling differently. You’ll notice a subtle shift from inward qualities of Winter to an outward engagement in life. Like a petals unfolding to a flower, a butterfly opening from its cacoon or a sleeping child emerging from slumber.

In Ancient Chinese philosophy, the element wood is one five subtle energies or frequencies that make up life. The others being water, air, earth and metal.

This is the natural cycle of LIFE

The Wood element helps us to move toward what we need and want in life. The branches of a tree reach toward the light, growing upward in search of sunlight and its roots grow strong toward earth’s nutrients. This is an innate and unstoppable force of life.

Wood element helps to keep our vision healthy. It helps us to see literally but also to view things clearly ‘from the tree tops’ so to speak. Wood element helps us to plan and make necessary decisions to implement our goals. This relates to the liver and gall bladder meridian pathways.

This is the energy of wood in Spring.

Wood is both flexible and resilient, bamboo being the classic symbol of these qualities.

As the days become lighter and air temperature warmer after the dark cool days of winter, we naturally begin to look outward with optimism and conviction. Inspiration and optimism is in the air! 

So what happens when our ‘Wood’ is out of balance or unhealthy? Or what if a person is unable to express the natural emerging energy of Spring as can happen when you have pain, injury or illness.

You can imagine the pressure build up if there was no way of expressing natural renewal of inspiration and upward energy of Wood. Like a corked bottle pressure builds up and can manifest emotionally as anger or physically with a range of health issues relating to liver, gall bladder, vision, tendons and ligaments. Even the odour of a person can turn from that of freshly cut grass to rancid fat.

The emotion of Anger correlates with Wood element. The anger spectrum are “like winds that range from a gentle breeze to a gale”. It shows its face in our impatience, our moments of frustration or annoyance and in more extreme bursts of uncontrollable rage. This emotion appears when there’s a gap between what we want and what we have. A reality gap!

The qualities of Wood help us organise ourselves so that we can live a rich and meaningful life. A healthy Wood element helps us to know what we want, set goals, make plans and set about the task of putting this into action. It gives us the ability to not only see the truth in obstacles but also to work out how to grow around them.

5 top things to do this Spring to keep wood in balance

1.      Eat a healthy diet that supports your liver and gall bladder. The colour of Wood element is green and these foods conveniently help the bodies natural ‘detoxification’ pathways.

2.      Support the body with herbs such as Barberry, St Mary’s Thistle, Schisandra and Dandelion if you have digestive disorder. And see a Naturopath for expert advice on using medicinal herbs in a safe and sustainable way.

3.      Review you occupations! These are the things you need, want or are expected to do. Occupations encompasses both the ‘doing’ and ‘being’ of our life. Review how you spend your time in daily living activities, leisure or work. This is a great time to Spring clean, take up a new hobby or sport or apply for a new job.

4.      Use self-awareness to honestly examine how your anger is expressed? Do you turn your anger outward or inward. At what level does your inner critic interplay with this expression of anger?

5.      Spiritually do you know your values? What in your heart of hearts do you want this season, this year and in future? Where are you heading and what is the compass of your life?

In LIFE Cycles Wood Retreat we explore these concepts further and learn techniques for keeping the powerful force of Wood in harmony so that we may continue to be flexible, resilient and inspired by life.

We learn self-acupressure points, have group discussion about how this dynamic energy manifests in our life and how we can bring it into balance even further so that we can live a life that matters. And we celebrate the unfolding into the next season of Fire and Summer.

The Summer LIFE Cycles retreat will be held beach side, of course, on Sun Dec 9th (Date TBC)