Healing Obstacles

Healing starts with removing obstacles. The greatest obstacles being inside our body and mind.

Healing is creating change needed to remove blocks. Anything that is blocked is not whole. Healing is the natural desire to move towards wholeness. 

When we align ourselves with our Heart we intuitively know what our purpose is and our healing path is illuminated. When we know where we are going, then it is just a matter of discovering how to get there.  That process begins with removing obstacles. 

In Chinese medicine there is a saying that the Hun must follow the Shen.  The Hun is the spirit of the liver. In 5 element system the liver is like the General. It’s the visionary, the function in us that makes plans, judgements, assessments and determines the course of action to move forward and accomplish our goals.  It is structure and facilitator.  It is that energy in us that has a sense of the right way to live for ourselves (and often others).  The energetic is the expression of frustration and anger. 

The Shen is the spirit of the Heart.  In 5 element theory, the Shen is the emperor, the center, the Sun.  It is the energy of higher and lower frequencies of love and joy.  When the Shen is awakened we have access to our Higher Heart, a very fine energy/information field.  When a sense of order comes through us, we find the elements begin to relate to one another in a more coherent and integrated way.  As the Heart frequencies strengthen, the lower frequencies of Earth, Water, Metal and Wood bow down and begin to entrain to higher aspects/vibrations. 

Obstacles are simply energies that are denser than our desired state of being. We remove them by raising our vibration, and there are many ways to do that. Here are a few ideas:

  • There is no exercise that will make up for poor eating. You cannot simply burn it off.  A diet of poor foods creates mucus in the body which creates blocks.  Keeping your diet simple, eating organic fruits and raw or lightly steamed veggies in combinations that are few, help empower the body to resolve mucus and eliminate toxins. 
  • Everything is in resonance.  When we are lonely, depressed, in grief, in anger.  When we feel isolated, in pain, or misunderstood. We are experiencing a vibration. Be curious about it. Spend a few minutes tuning into it, listening, perhaps having an inner dialogue with this part of you. Hold yourself gently with your mind as you do this.  Then move your body. Change your scene.  Listen to upbeat music.  Change your vibration. The combination of tuning in with loving kindness and curiosity, and then intentionally uplifting your vibration is much like a mother consoling a child after the fall off their bike.  If there is too much dwelling on the pain from the fall it can smash out the courage to try again.  If there is too little attending to the pain it can smash out our natural humanness.  If we tend to ourselves with just the right amount of both- love/tenderness and strength/discipline to make a change – then we find one level of the meaning Hun Follow the Shen.

This process of refining ones energy to a higher vibration is spontaneous yet effortful. It takes focus, yet arises from nothing.  We can sabotage it with our actions, yet the reason for doing has a lot of wisdom in it. We can only be where we are, we can only take action from what is experienced in this moment.  As the Zen saying goes, chop wood, carry water.

The Path of Wellness

In the western paradigm, we are prone to a rather narrow view of health and healing.  In this disease-centric model we perceive healthcare as managing/responding to a disease or attempting to prevent it. This is like going from negative to zero and only focusing on half of the health picture.  Wellness, is the best term I have come across to describe what happens beyond zero and into the positive.  Wellness is not about prevention, it is about expansion.  There is always a place for the healthcare of disease management.  Illnesses are to be respected and cared for tenderly. We have ample, highly qualified, incredibly knowledgeable practitioners that offer services to effectively give this kind of care.  But those who are awake to the new paradigm of wellness may be looking for alternative tools to assist them on their journeys of expanding.  This is a response to such seekers.

If maintenance, such as in the western disease-centric model, takes us from negative to zero, wellness takes us from zero to positive.  As mentioned, wellness is about expanding consciousness.  Expanding consciousness entails a shift in one’s vibrational field.  Energy is information and is expressed at various density levels.  The densest being our physical body, then our etheric body, emotional, mental and various refined spiritual bodies.  For those on a spiritual path, it may be of interest how these bodies align and inform one another.  As we begin to look at wellness and expansion we discover we can use our own effort and will to refine even our densest of energy bodies.  As we do, we change the information (energy) available to us.  As this information changes, our physical body, mind, and emotions change as well.  Many will even report a shift in the day to day challenges they have and find things that use to be struggles before aren't anymore.

At this stage our consciousness begins to shift as a direct result of our own volition. We find tools to help us unfold and while we deal with any physical or social ailments, we become more interested in our inner journey.  Tools on our wellness journey are practices like eating the highest quality and vibrationally clean foods we can, meditation, mindful movement practices, and receiving energy work.  

Even though acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, what continues to be taught in schools today remains rooted in the western paradigm, be it responding to illness or focusing on preventing imbalances.  The focus of preventing imbalances is not a wrong way to practice.  I often use acupuncture as a tool to meet clients where they're at in dealing with physical issues.  But think about it, what is the motive for preventing energetic imbalances?  Most people I have asked say in order to avoid dealing with the physical/mental/emotional expressions of those imbalances.  Energy workers who are aware of the wellness paradigm are more interested in helping clients open up, and access the higher vibrations of their Heart center.  As this is done, prevention is  swept up and moved beyond as the expansion of consciousness is chosen over the contraction of focusing on the physical.

As we climb the ladder of wellness we find our sensitivity increases and we become more particular with what we ingest – including food, music/sound, information from TV and news, social activities, etc.  For those who are rooted in the comforts of the day to day living, it may not be the right time to embark on such a journey, but for those who are ready to release what is no longer needed and let the fires of the Heart burn through the gateways of higher consciousness, these shifts will be welcomed.  

Why I Read Tarot

 by Ruth Bryan

It all started when I stumbled across a Tarot deck more than three years ago in a cramped New York boutique off a street in Brooklyn. The images drew me to them like a magnetic force, conveying something more powerful than words. I bought the Wild Unknown Deck by Kim Krans and began my journey into the world of the Tarot. The Tarot deck was created in Italy as far back as the mid 15th century. Scholars believe it started as a card game that began to be used as a divination tool only a hundred or so years later. Still, the deck has been recreated hundreds of times by various artists, and used to inspire and connect with intuition by thousands. 

For me, the tarot acts as a guide for a conversation - whether that be with myself, or with any other querent (the person asking the question). The images provide a visual anchor for thoughts, and the archetypes allow me to see the issue in a new and different way. "Am I acting from the place of the Emperor (Masculine Authority), when what this situation needs is more energy like the Queen of Cups (Nurturing Emotional Safety)?". 

At first the 78 cards seemed daunting, how was I ever going to learn all of them? But slowly I learned to trust the feeling, following the images and believing in myself enough to interpret from my intuition. 

I sought friends and strangers to give readings too - at cafes, at parties, I'd bring my deck with me and decided to be ready to check in at any moment. This has been such a gift for me, to have something to connect to whenever I'm not feeling clear. I can wake up and drink coffee and draw a card for the day, and use it as an intention. I also have a way to start the deeper conversations with people, find out what's really going on for them. To watch them learn to trust their intuition and guide themselves to the answers they already carry. The Tarot is a gift, and I'd love to share it with you this Saturday and every 1st Saturday of the month from 4:30-5:30PM at 5 Lights Wellness. 

The Art of Grief

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In Chinese 5 element theory fall is the expression of Metal energy.  Similar to how the chakras are complex, dynamic fields of information, the elements are also fields imbedded within fields that govern our body, mind, and emotions.  When the physical body is ill, it will siphon off energy from the subtle body, pulling it in through the chakra system into the tissues as a way to counter dis-ease.  The elements are qualities of energy that also contract or expand through our bodymind.  While we see the elements express through the physical body, it is more often talked about how these energies influence the mind and emotions.  Metal energy is the energy of grief.  If we aredoing our inner work, grief becomes an energy that we engage with.  Through our own intention and attention we can begin to refine this energy into the effort of purification, release and reverence.  This process is core to the experience of being human. When approached mindfully many discover a divine beauty to the whole experience, in turn transmuting any excessive contraction Metal energy is naturally susceptible to.

Of course grief is experienced daily by most people, but perhaps given its common resonance with autumn, it can feel more overwhelming this time of year.  Depression, sadness, feelings of heaviness or disconnection, emotional waves, cloudiness feeling, colds, flues, lung congestion, changes in digestion, can be expressions of one’s metal energy expressing itself. 

There is no magic prescription for processing grief.  Everyone responds to it in their own way.  I’ve found in working with my own grief and with others, touch and staying present seem key for healing. 

Be in Touch.

I remember a few years ago sitting next to a woman in the airport.  She got off the phone and burst into tears. I turned my attention to her and she said her son had just died. Without thought I hugged her.  I could feel her energy sink into mine and she began to center herself.  Later as I passed by her sitting on the plane she thanked me.  It's a story that has reminded me we shouldn't underestimate how deeply healing touch can be.  

Being touched with good intentions gives us the sense of being seen, cared for, and acknowledged. There is about 5 million sensory receptors on our skin. When we are touched, electrical pulses are sent to our neurons (nerve cells) and then to the spinal cord. Your spinal cord takes the incoming signal and sends it to your brain. Once the brain receives the signal from the spinal cord, it translates the electrical signal. [Source].  As these signals are decoded, our body reduces our cortisone levels, stimulates our immune system by increasing lymphocytes and decreasing cytokines and vasopression. [Source].

Energetically, touch occurs when fields connect, either through proximity or through morphic resonance.  In one study conducted by the HeartMath Institute,  the data showed “when people touch or are in proximity, a transference of the electromagnetic energy produced by the heart occurs.”

Morphic fields are self organizing energetic fields that, according to the work of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, govern biological and social development, habits, and thoughts.  When morphic fields are in resonance, such as between individuals, the fields act as a channel for communication.  In this way bodies don’t have to be touching, but there is still a sense of it.   Remote healing, telepathy and are good examples of this. 

Be Present.

The basics of wellness care never change, but in times of grief it can be incredibly difficult to do even these.  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of what the basics are and find support in friends and family to make them happen. 

Basics: Support your body. Sleep, but not too much.  Eat (good food), but not too much.  Drink water, fresh juices and teas. Support your liver and colon to make sure your body is flushing out toxins.  Meditate, and move your body throughout the day.  Be in nature.  Be in your body.  Breath mindfully for a few minutes each day.  Balance stillness and movement. 

Deeper:  Turn your attention internally to the experience of grief. Feel it objectively and subjectively.  What happens when you give just a little bit of yourself to it?  What happens when you give all of yourself to it?  Grief is one of our great teachers.  Like all great teachers, it can deliver hard lessons, but once you turn towards it, you might find the wisdom gained positively changes your inner landscape.

How we take in our outer experience and let it shapeshift our inner world of thoughts and emotions, and then take those internal experiences and process them further to illuminate who we are, is an art in and of itself.

Five Fabrics of Consciousness and Original Frequencies

 

The Chinese 5 element theory describes 5 phases of energy:  Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal.  Each of these energies can be thought of as a distinct vibration.  Vibrations reflect fabrics of consciousness.  This means the qualities of each element manifest in a specific way as determined by the information (frequency) of the field in which it arises.  When we look at the elements as five fabrics, we see they exist in the realm of duality and their natural rhythm is to interpenetrate one another, creating a complicated and dynamic expression of life.  When one of the vibrations (fabrics) is out of balance, it will influence the others, and if the imbalance is great enough, it will change the overall frequency of the life force and we will feel the repercussions in our body, mind and/or emotions.    5 Element acupuncture is a specific form of acupuncture that specializes in perceiving the relationship between the elements and making adjustments to the energy field to optimize harmony.

As mentioned, the 5 elements reside in the realm of duality.  In meditation, we can have an experience beyond duality.  One way to describe this experience is the self tuning into the vibration that penetrates beyond the personality and into the realm of the Soul Plane.  In samadhi, or total absorption, we attune to the frequency that extends beyond the Soul Plane and into the Monadic Plane, the field of Original Consciousness.

Inner plane work is practices that consciously cultivate as a way of seeking what exists beyond our ego.  Our Monadic ray vibrates through all three planes – Monadic, Soul and Personality.  As we refine ourselves the timing becomes ripe for our Soul Rays to penetrate into our denser aspect of our personality.  Then our path shifts from a personal experience to our souls journey.

Esoteric Acupuncture is one tool of many that helps balance the 5 fabrics of consciousness, improving the overall quality health and life experience, and invite the awakening of the Souls Journey. 

 antahkarana, Celestial fullness. by Dr. Mikio Sankey

antahkarana, Celestial fullness. by Dr. Mikio Sankey

From Self-Care to Heart-Care

We know how to take care of ourselves.  Now whether we do it or not is a different story, but access to self-help information is readily available to us.  Special thanks to the internet.  And yet we’re still suffering.  People, regardless of their health, income, social status, location, or age, are suffering.  Even when we fulfill our desires- have a healthy and functioning body, access to higher education, get that dream job, have money in the bank, fall in love, etc. - we can still be laced with feeling empty, lonely, depressed, separated, or anxious. 

We can have everything we need and want and still be suffering from lack of love.  When we realize this, self-care can mature into heart-care.

We can think of self-care as taking care of the basics.  These are important things such as eating healthy, getting the right kind and frequency of exercise, sleep, stimulation, healthy relationships, etc.  These are all foundational to living vibrant lives.  This is what we have ample information at our finger tips about. 

Heart-care is more subtle.  Here we find leaders such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Byron Katie and many more.  We often find these leaders in healthcare and spiritual circles because they’re the people dealing with people.  They have spent hours listening, observing and in discussion with people about their suffering.  Even still, they can only point the way.  The biggest difference between self-care and heart-care is the former is typically advice that can be followed by many and successful.  Heart-care can only come from within. We can be inspired by others, we can listen to their advice and suggestions, but when it comes to matters of the heart, the journey becomes a soul affair, one that can only be experienced to be understood.

Energetically we can support the heart-path by balancing the energetic system, supporting heart energy and opening the gates to the finer frequencies of the heart.  Keep in mind energy is information.  As this information runs through our body it subtly informs our consciousness of what we are experiencing and it’s this information that our actions become an extended expression of.  For instance, someone can be standing in line at the grocery store, seemingly calm on the outside, but inside wrecked with worry about their ill parent.  Their choices on what food they’re buying, how they interact with the checker, etc. are all affected by their internal experience.  Another example could be a young woman struggling with self-confidence has learned how to compose herself in the work environment, but has developed chronic shoulder pain from the unresolved internal tension.  This is happening all the time.  What’s happening in our mind is being reflected through our body, thoughts and actions.  Our body is broadcasting this information through our energetic system all the time. 

To support the heart, we must first balance all the energy centers of the body and any areas where the body is holding stress (like the shoulder in the example above.)  Once there is a stable balance of the denser energy systems we can begin to attune ourselves to the more subtle energy (information) that is happening.  By attuning to the finer energies we can begin to experience life from a place of heart knowing.  With a solid foundation integrated within us, we can experience expanded dimensions of love.

Acupuncture & Energy Medicine

There are 5 elements that make up the human experience: The physical body, the body’s vital energy, the mind, the intuition and our life force. Healing is an integrative process that involves all of these levels.  Each level is immense, intricate and remains relatively mysterious to us.  In our culture we see 3 of these 5 elements addressed through medical modalities:  The physical body, the body’s vital energy, and the mental body.  The physical and mental are primarily addressed through western approaches.  The vital body is where we find energetic practices such as Acupuncture. 

The ancient form of Chinese medicine emerged within their spiritual worldview and the observation of the laws of nature.  As communism expanded across China the paradigm changed and became more materialized, in turn changing the way of eastern medicine.  If Chinese medicine has not adapted with the pressures of the western culture acupuncture would have been buried in the past like many other ancient healing practices.  Today, in our post-modern culture we are experiencing a re-emergence of spiritual curiosity and once more, we are seeing the field of energy medicine changing.  Acupuncture is embracing more of its spiritual roots.  This important shift flips energy medicine from being shaped as a reflection of our culture’s worldview to being a potential catalyst for opening a paradigm of wellness that unites the truths of both science and spiritually, and embraces the 5 elements of our human experience.

The practice of acupuncture focuses on balancing the vital energy body through stimulating (usually with needles) energetic points that correlate with the physical and mental bodies.  Our vital energy body is a trans-receiver- it is constantly transmitting and receiving information in the form of energy.  Energy is subtle and operates non-linearly.  This means our vital body is constantly sending out and simultaneously decoding subtle information.  This information has effects beyond what is measurable by science at this time. 

Acupuncture and energy healing are resonant modalities.  Resonant means to re-sound, have a strong tone, to echo.  When something puts off a strong resonance weaker frequencies will entrain to it.  A classic example of this is in a clock shop; the clock with the strongest “tick” will over time coax all the other clocks to tick in sync with it.  Energetic practices such as acupuncture tune our energy fields allowing us to emit stronger and more coherent frequencies.  When we experience coherent energy fields we feel more balanced, at ease, vital, empowered, integrated, healthy and overall a deeper sense of wellbeing.

In addition to acupuncture I often blend in my sessions other resonate tools such as tuning forks, light therapy and essential oils.  Each tool helps strengthen my client’s energy field and in turn has positive effects such as unblocking stagnation, reduce pain and inflammation, calming the nervous system and resetting patterns.  Many of my clients have had much success in dealing with conditions like insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic and acute pains, chronic fatigue, arthritis, MS, digestion disorders, fertility, migraines and seeking self-cultivation.

Welcome Spring with a Ritual

Rituals are a great way to transition from one phase to another.  In my acupuncture practice I often recommend them to my patients who may struggle with a loss or a life change.  Rituals are also helpful for solidifying our intentions, expressing gratitude and appreciation, building community and supporting the connection between head/heart and promote forward movement.

While we celebrate the New Year in the heart of the winter season I always feel more inclined to do so when spring emerges.  To me it marks the true end of a cycle and beginning of another.  In addition, the energy of spring is intimately connected to our own ability to create a vision, set goals and act on them.  It has a very dynamic and creative quality fueled by direction, momentum and precision.  When we align with these qualities we can become in tune with the energetic movement of the season and in harmony with nature.  When we are in harmony with nature we not only feel balance, but we become deeper expressions of nature itself by consciously expanding our own liveliness.

Below is a suggested ritual to help you welcome spring and set your intentions:

–          Plan ahead for your ritual.  Set aside a day and time to hold your ritual.  Consider if you want to invite others to participate or if you want to hold it just on your own.

–          Set your intention.  Think about what you want your ritual to represent.  Some hold a ritual as a means to find more clarity, direction, and guidance.  You could also hold a ritual to mark the end of one year and beginning of another.  You can hold one to simply welcome spring.  You can focus on releasing old emotions, grief, or habits and make room for a new experiences to land.  Whatever your purpose of setting a ritual for this spring, be clear about it in your own mind.

–          Decide what components you want to have be included in your ritual.  For example, you may want to have candles to represent the beginning and ending of something.  Or you may want to have a bowl of water to dip your hands in and represent cleansing and releasing.  Or, appropriate for spring, you may want to pot a plant, representing the rooting of new beginnings.  Some rituals contain more reading or writing.

–          Enter your ritual with mindfulness.  Our mind is a powerful tool.  Few fail when they truly set their mind to something.  This means the more we consciously engage with our experience the more likely we are to get the result we want.  When it comes to experiencing your ritual, let yourself immerse in it.  Feel connected to why you’re doing it and what result you want from it.  Trust in your effort to have the experience and effect you desire.

–          Give thanks.  Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to acknowledge receiving.  If we don’t open ourselves to really receive our experiences we will feel disconnected from our efforts and likely disconnected from others or a sense of purpose.  Connection and gratitude are necessary for well-being.  Give yourself the gift of feeling thankful.

Finding Balance

When we lose our balance, our ears can no longer make sense of our heart’s whispers.  Whether we are overwhelmed or uninspired, or feeling disconnected from our sense of purpose, we find ourselves at a cross road:  We choose to maintain our deaf ear or we choose to re-center, re-connect with our self and re-gain balance.

Balance is not a static.  It’s not a state to be obtained, and it is not the absence of anything.  Balance is dynamic.  It has a pulse, a breath, a quality, it is a sensation, an intuition, an inner disposition – we feel whet her we’re in balance or not.

When I’m helping a patient who has lost their sense of balance two things I consider are the balance between yin and yang, and which points will help them the most.

Part of this feeling of balance comes from the flow of yin and yang energies in our bodies and activities.  The character for yin is drawn as the shady side of a mountain.  Yang is the sunny side.  One defines the other, which is why they are always drawn together.  They express relativity:  Yin:  more quiet, subdued, receptive, cool, moderation.  Yang:  louder, active, giving, hot, passion.  Life has relatively more yang energy moving through it, so if for some reason our energetic system gets shifted and there becomes more yin, we can feel off balance until it is corrected.

In Chinese medicine, acupuncture points are named by Chinese characters that describe the quality and effect of the points.  The characters are specifically chosen, yet have many meanings.  For example, the character for the first point on the Heart meridian is Ji Quan.  Ji is drawn as a combination as a man extending himself between heaven and earth, both with his words and efforts of his hands, and the character for vision and hope.  Under Ji is drawn Quan, the character that means pure, clear, source or spring.  Together they mean from our inner source we can move forward by using the wisdom from deep within to reach the heavens while extending our roots on earth.  Here we reconnect with a wholeness of who we are in the well springs of the heart and find balance, harmony and joy in all we do.*

With harmony between yin and yang and the right energetic points realigning the head and the heart, balance can once again be experienced, even in the midst of chaos.

*Point description from D. Katz, Characters of Wisdom.

Hidden in Them Bones

It was once believed that our bones carried within them the whispers of our greatest potential.  It was also thought that all of one’s life experiences left energetic memories in the bones.  These beliefs created the perspective that our past was always with us, yet always balanced by the momentum of our future.  This belief was expressed in the Chinese character for bone, Liao, which is drawn as a bone with wings.  Many acupuncture points contain this character in their name and when stimulated can help re-center one’s awareness on their own beautiful depth, and capacity, and help them extend their greatness into the world.

From the biggest perspective everything that exists is a form of Qi, or energy.  As we “break” this whole perspective into parts we find energy can exist in both particle or wave forms.  Just as we can see the currents of wind expressed in the shaping of the famous Monterey cypress trees along the coast of California, we can see in each of our unique bodies the expression of Qi running through and around us.  Physically we know that within and around the human body is a complex matrix of energetic currents and vibrations with many layers and qualities.  The denser tissues have stronger energy currents; the densest, being the skeletal system, creates force fields that all the other layers of energy organize around and give shape to our bodies.  The strongest of these currents run through our skull, backbone, pelvis and legs, literally keeping us grounded to the earth and reaching toward the heavens.  Perhaps now we can begin to further understand why the ancient Chinese concluded that the bones were responsible for much more than giving the body structure.

Our quest to understand the nature of the universe has literally taken us to the moon, through the depths of the ocean, and into the core of the earth.  And yet it seems we are still drawn back to our own being.  The potential depth of understanding our body, what it offers home to, and how it connects us to our past, present and future, is infinite.  We each get to choose how far down the rabbit hole we go in our quest…

Making room for change: Love even more

When you’re ready to heal it can be painful to look in the rear-view mirror and see all the choices you’ve made that were self-destructive, or not honoring what you now realize is really most important.  Itcan be surprising and heart wrenching to see our own capacity to neglect, hurt or sabotage our own beautiful self.  Acknowledging these tendencies, the habits we blindly put into play, we’re faced with two choices- we can either turn away and continue down the same path, or we can change.  It seems obvious that change is the higher road, but not always.  The soul has to be ready to listen to the heart.

To the ancient Chinese the heart is seen as our inner Emperor.  The character for heart, Xin, is drawn as an empty space with fire around it.  It was valued that the emptiness of the heart allowed the guidance of heaven to penetrate our human nature, allowing us to feel calm, ease, warmth and love.  In our modern culture we may use different words to describe heavenly guidance, but it is once again becoming more accepted that living with inner peaceful gives way to a presence that is powerful.

If the throne of the heart is drunk on mundane worries, annoyances, or “heartaches,” there is no room for wisdom that comes from openness.    It may be the soul saying, “I’m not ready to learn that lesson just yet.”  If the deepest part of us is not ready to change, going through the actions will ultimately be result-less.  I see this over and over again as patients try to quite addictions or change behaviors.  The entire person has be to ready or change will not have any room in the psyche for the change to take root.

When one is ready to change the choice extends from the quiet depth of our own heart.  When we are really ready to heal – be it a chronic ailment, emotional instability, or limiting beliefs –  it can be felt deeply, that now is the time to change, do to something new, to expand our own capacity, to transform our self.  Shaming ourselves for past behaviors or regretting the choices we have made, is perhaps a part of the process, but ultimately for healing to occur we must land on love.  From the openness of the heart we can feel the warmth of compassion and recognize what a gift the past is to create this beautiful moment of – perhaps messy, perhaps karmic, perhaps painful – but still undeniably radiant, conscious choice.

Sinking Intention into the Movement of Your Qi

In the workshop I’m giving this month we started by talking about how we can rest our attention on our qi, and we can also meet it with intention (awareness with deliberateness).  Dancers do this literally as they move their body with precision from one position to another.  In the moment their awareness becomes singularly focused and their biochemistry, mind and emotions respond to the direction of their intention.  

Any form of energy medicine, be it acupuncture, sound, reiki, yoga, art, dance, some forms of massage, all share the ability to help draw your awareness to the vast energetic matrix that makes us up. Once you can rest your awareness on your vital force, you can start to meet it with your intentions.  When this happens we no longer need to rely on outside treatments to keep us healthy.  Instead wellness starts to rise from within as we begin to understand the depth of what it means to take personal responsibility for our own health and well being.  Then energy medicine becomes a tool that can take us further down our path, unlocking energy paradigms and configurations allowing us to experience expanded consciousness.  With expanded consciousness comes the resolve of old patterns and habits and an opening into a more peaceful way of being.

Acupuncture for Love

Love is a tricky subject to talk about but it’s one I can’t resist.  For me, understanding the wild nature of love is really what it’s all about.  Which is why when a patient came to me with the primary purpose of cultivating love, my heart lit up and inspired me to think more deeply about the relationship between love and our energy field.

By nature humans are transreceivers; we transmit energy and we receive it from our environment and experiences.   Like everything, love is part of our energy field.  Energy is simply information.  This means how we experience love is a reflection of the information stored in our energy field.  This energy is influenced by our past (recent and deep), by our biochemistry, the thought patterns that are most active, and perhaps most powerfully, our own volition.  We can, through our own will, change our energy fields.  And here’s where acupuncture comes in. 

Acupuncture helps clear the energy fields of blockages, allowing the deep information stored in our field to be more easily accessed.  It refines the energy matrix, allowing us to let go of patterns, habits, and thoughts that are no longer serving us, in turn altering how our consciousness experiences living.  Acupuncture helps increase our resonance and can specifically increase the vibrations of love in our field.  And, acupuncture helps clear our mind so we can see our behavior, motivation and responses to love more clearly.

Yet understanding the matrix doesn’t quite capture the depth of love.  Perhaps this is why it is often said love is really the language of poets.  If we sit quiet enough we can feel the deep hum of her secrets whispering through our bones.  If we cultivate the inner space love will grow as vibrant and raw as a wildflowers in an open field, illuminating her deep spirit through us. 

Creating a Spring Cleanse

The state of our internal environment determines whether disease or imbalances can develop in our body.  In Chinese Medicine blood is the ruler of our internal environment.  By nature, we thrive when our bodies are slightly alkaline.  Alkalizing foods help remove hydrogen ions that can be accumulated from foods, as found in animal proteins or junk food.  If these hydrogen ions aren’t removed then our blood becomes too acidic and our immune system weakens and pathogens are more likely to take root. 

Energetically speaking, when our body is in a healthy state it emits stronger more coherent frequencies and in turn we attract similar energies and dispel any unharmonious. 

Spring is the perfect time to do a cleanse and re-establish a healthy and balanced internal environment.  In addition to supporting our physical health, cleanses also help us gain mental clarity, release unwanted emotional patterns, help us through life transitions and support spiritual centeredness and clarity. Cleanses give our system a break from constant irritants or stressors to our body and allow us to find inner stillness, illuminating our highest Hearts desires and purpose.

A few things to consider when approaching a detox:

  1. Treat it like a ritual.

Historically rituals have been used in spiritual circles as a way to give recognition and appreciation to, and to engage and direct the movement of something bigger than our own self.  Rituals tend to have an opening and closing, and are often used to manifest or give honor to something in our experience.  When we introduce life changes into our experience through rituals our relationship to the change lifts as it naturally encompasses a sacred or honoring perspective.  It also opens our curiosity and creates space in our mind for something new to emerge or be experienced.  I’ve found this to be very helpful when introducing habit changes in my diet or exercise, or meditation practice, or even work projects. 

 2.  Know why you’re doing it & design it to meet your intentions

Everything we do gives us the opportunity to know and understand ourselves even more.  Knowing the motivation behind doing a cleanse will help you stay focused and committed.  It also gives you the ground to design it.  Taking care of the body is a form of art.  Just as an artist shapes a sculpture or seamstress stiches fabrics together, the way we care for our body is seamless with self-expression and how vibrant we think and feel.

When you’re designing your cleanse consider how long you want to do it.  Typically they are anywhere from 3 to 21 days.  Plan what dietary changes you want to make and allow time in your schedule to shop for and prepare the foods.  Consider pulling in different exercise or meditation practices that can enhance your experience and meet your intentions.  You may find as your body releases the toxins in your body that you’re body desires a different form of exercise.  Replacing intense cardio or weight lifting with yoga or tai chi may feel really good.

Writing out your ritual and intentions and post it where you can see it every day can be very helpful.

 3.  Eat your greens

Greens nourish our hearts in so many ways.  From a Hindu perspective, the heart chakra nourishes our system by pulling in the frequency of the color green through our being.  From a Chinese medicine perspective green is associated with the element of Wood, related to the function of the liver that cleans and directs the blood flow and nourishes the heart energy.  Scientifically, hemoglobin (blood) and chlorophyll are almost molecularly identical.  When our diet is full of greens our blood is nourished and alkalinized. Eat your greens raw if you can.  It maintains the healthy enzymes our system needs to stay vibrant.  Cooking food kills the enzymes and depletes its nutrient density.

Great foods to include in a cleanse:

Spirulina
Kale
Collards
Spinach
Celery (especially juiced)
Beets(a great juice is 50% beets and 50% lemons)
Seaweeds (kelp/dulse)
Cucumbers
Daikon Radish
Asparagus
Apples (green in particular)
Parsley & Cilantro (great juiced)
Red Cabbage

Other dietary suggestions for a cleanse:  Eliminate processed foods, sugar, alcohol, coffee/caffeine, processed carbs such as breads and pastas.  Herbs, colonics, steams, and Epsom salt soaks can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a detox.  Speak with your health provider for recommendations.

If you want to try a juice cleanse but don’t have a juicer you can order juices here:http://www.juiceboxseattle.com/

Elimination diet resources: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/p/elimination-diet.html

4.  Detox your mind and emotions

Your body may naturally release emotions or you may recall memories as you go through your detox.  Our body holds on to our memories and what our minds/emotions have trouble processing it will hold on to. Experiencing them or feelings of frustration or grief during a detox can be the body’s way of letting things go.  Acknowledge that whatever experiences you have had is a part of you, but does not need to determine your future.  You may schedule in more quiet time or try things like journaling or yoga to help channel the release of these thoughts and emotions.   If you have a specific behavior or mental/emotional pattern you want to release it can be helpful to set a mantra, a visualization or a meditation with your intention to let it go and bring in the more desired experience.

Dwelling in the Bones

The ancient Chinese discovered energy runs through the body in a specific pattern, which they called meridians.  As they observed more closely, they discovered that each of these meridians when stimulated had a different effect on the person.  They began to distinguish the meridians by naming them.  They also discovered that along these energetic highways there were openings where the energy could be influenced more strongly, and that each of these openings had a different effect on the system.   In our western approach to acupuncture, we refer to the meridians and points as numbers, but to the ancient Chinese, they were named specifically for their effect and location.  Some points are named very poetically, like “To Dwell in the Strength and Protection of Bone,” while others are named more after their physical location, like “Wrist Bone.”  Across ancient cultures the name given to something as of great importance, as it was seen as a way to connect and communicate with the gods.  While we focus on making our communication short and to the point, a detailed poetic sentence could be the name of a child or, as in this case, a small energetic point on the body. 

We can take the moving of energy that we experience in acupuncture and begin to understand (some people can even see,) that everything that exists has an energetic structure or what is often called, an energetic signature.  This signature has a specific resonance to it.  The resonance is like DNA in that it informs the existence of the thing- be it a person, plant, rock, etc. This vibration tells a story, and that story is unfolding for as long as it is in existence.  As conscious beings, we are able to influence our vibration through the choices we make.  Every time you receive acupuncture, or other body work, every time you eat or drink, every conversation or dream you have, is an energetic exchange that either enhances, decreases or maintains your energetic body.  The science of change is really the science of vibration.
If you’re stressed out, anxious, irritated or depressed a few easy things you can do on your own to help shift these vibrations is:

  1.  Change what you look at:  The spaces we spend most of our time in- our home, office, car, etc. has a strong effect on our energy.  The things in our space put out their own energy, as well as how things are arranged.  The science of Feng Shui is an extensive study of energetic arrangements for spaces.    If you’re feeling stuck in a rut try changing up your space.  Throw out old stuff.  A current popular bookyou might check out:  The life-changing magic of tidying up.

Of course if you don’t have time to do a deep clean you can simply add some plants, flowers, set out something beautiful to look at.  Light a candle or sage with the intention of clearing the space.  Having something beautiful and something that smells good in your space can make a world of difference on how you feel.

  1. Change what you eat:  Eat more greens.  Greens, in color and chemistry, nourish our blood and strengthen our heart.  Even if you eat a pretty clean diet, try changing it up (except for greens.. keep those babies for sure).. but if you typically eat the same veggies and spices, change it up.  Be sure to throughout stale spices or rancid nuts/oils.  Eat fresh foods that are in season. 
  1. Change what you read and listen to:  There is a magic about words and music that has a great power over our thoughts and moods.  Spend a few minutes a day reading something uplifting like poetry or a positive book.  Read something that encourages creativity and stimulates insights.  Listen to music that uplifts your soul, that makes you relax and sway your body.

Spend some solo time being quiet.  If we want to live a heart-centered, peaceful  life, we must be still to understand the fine frequencies of our heart.