Balancing your Wood Element with Benevolence: Is Your Internal Wood energy a Leader or a Fighter?

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Balancing your Wood Element with Benevolence: Is Your Internal Wood energy a Leader or a Fighter?

Those of you who’ve been around the block with me for a few years have heard me talk about how essential it is in the Spring to have clear goals, and to be moving towards them with ambition.  This is because according to Chinese Medicine and acupuncture theory, we are in the season related to the Liver/Wood Element.

But in this post I’m focusing on common pitfalls that occur along the way; which often stem from, or cause, an imbalanced Liver/Wood element.

Tools Chinese Medicine has to help you avoid common Liver/Wood Element pitfalls

Because the Liver is the warrior energy within us, it can be called upon to achieve amazing things.  When we have pinpoint precise levels of focus on our projects or tasks, huge accomplishments can occur in a very short time. That warrior energy goes through life with blinders on, avoiding distraction at all costs.

You may see yourself in descriptions of the “Wood/Liver Type”: extremely driven, competitive, hard-working, focused, high-achiever. These can be wonderful traits to have.


Positive/Negative: Is your internal warrior a leader, or a fighter?

Although this level of focus and dedication serves incredible functions, it can also create immense levels of self-absorption, runaway egos, and an “ends justifies the means” kind of attitude. 

At its worst, its the ruthless corporate executive who doesn’t care whose lives must be harmed in order to make a profit.  Or the tyrannical ruler so obsessed with power that they are willing to kill anyone who even questions their dictates. These are the people I would call fighters.

While these are extreme examples, I think we all can either see some of this warrior quality in ourselves, or know someone who, perhaps, seems to bulldoze over everyone in “their” path, so they can get done the most important task, which is always whatever they are working on.

These type of people feel no qualms at all about butting in line, or walking straight up to the front of the newly opened register while others who have already been waiting stand right next to them. (please tell me you’re not one of those people…) :-/ 

The Wood energy can be EXTREMELY “me” focused, at the expense of everyone and everything around them.  Know anyone whose marriage has ended because one partner refused to break away from work long enough to give the basic requirements to the relationship?  That’s Wood energy.

So what do we do with this, when the same personality traits used to accomplish so much good in the world also lead to selfishness, disaster, and inequality?

Enter Benevolence defines benevolence as: the desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one’s fellow creatures.

And so benevolence is a concept we talk a lot about when discussing the positive traits of Wood; for Wood is not just about getting ahead, but about leadership. 

Great leaders lift everyone up along with themselves. 

They have a great mission, but the wellbeing of all is included, if not at the root of, their mission. 

“We all move forward, or no one moves forward” is a beautiful (and very mature, although not often seen) manifestation of Wood energy.  This requires great Vision, which is also related to the Liver, as it is not just with the physical eyes that we see what needs to or can BE, but with our inner eye as well.

In Chinese medicine, we say the Liver is related to the eyes, and this includes this greater meaning of being able to SEE what can be.

Metal “controls” Wood

All of our Elements interact to nurture and control the others – an internal checks and balance system that works wonderfully when we are in balance.  The Metal element happens to “control” the Wood element, and Metal is all about value, integrity, proper judgment, and doing the right thing.

So the exercise for all of us especially this Spring/Wood season when our Wood element may get out of check, is to call on those qualities of Metal to examine our own mission, plans, and goals. 

Are we stepping all over others to accomplish our wishes?  Does getting “our way” come at the expense of someone else?  Are we willing to go against what we know is right in order to “succeed”?

Tips for bringing out the positive traits of your Wood element:

  • If you find yourself feeling impatient or ruthless, or answering “yes” to the above questions, take some time to call on your more lofty intentions, and connect back to the core of your goodwill; either through meditation, prayer, an inspiring book, a talk with a good friend, your spiritual counsel, or life coach.
  • Perhaps examine your goals on your own to explore whether you can step them up a notch even higher to include others in the beneficial outcome.
  • Get some acupuncture which is great for balancing your Liver energy and therefore bringing balance to your Wood element as well.

All of these things will keep your Wood in check and set you up for the Fire (summer) season which is right around the corner, and which is all about connection and joy shared with others.  Runaway Wood energy can tend to alienate the very people we need the most to be on our sides, and how horrible to turn around suddenly and discover we’ve lost those closest to us in our quest for success.

As always, if you’re my patient I look forward to hearing your stories in the clinic this week about how benevolence resonated with YOU in your life and challenges.

To schedule some acupuncture to start working on balancing your Wood energy, click the button below.

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Tags: Wood element liver qi stagnation