Living the Elements: Fire
Summer is a time when it is safe to blossom, because all danger of frost is past. What a relief! We can shed our protective layers, and stand in the open, to see and be seen as who we really are. Summer is the time of extended light and warmth, and this is the basis of its capacity to invite us into the openness and exposure that allows us to create fulfilling connections.
The gift of Fire is lightness of being. Humor, playfulness and the ability to be silly are crucial to the health of Fire. Fire understands that in order to be truly sane, you have to be a little bit crazy — and not be ...
Why a Healer Needs to Consider Race
Too often, “I don’t see color” is translated as, “I don’t want to hear about racism.” The white person who said these words might not have meant it that way at all—but it is important to be aware of how we are coming across in a context where there really are a lot of white people who just do not want to hear or know about racial pain.
Those of us who are white healers supporting BIPOC clients do need to take some extra steps to signal clearly that we are ready to listen, and ready to have our awareness stretched beyond our own lived experience, into domains of experience that we haven’t known.
Living the Elements: Wood
There are a number of different serious blog pieces still in the works, but right now, I really just want to have some community fun. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite Wood-element art and music.
I’d love to hear from you: Are you listening to, looking at, or reading anything that moves and heals and awakens your Wood element this spring? Please share in the comments section below. I’m always up for more healthy Five Element nourishment through the arts. Meanwhile here are some of my favorites, just to get you started.
Song: It’s Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog
At first listen this might not seem to be your average Wood song, ...
The Power of Stopping
We have a choice about how we use this time of immobilization and quarantine, which is in many ways like a winter right in the middle of springtime. In Chinese medicine, Winter is about the evocation and transformation of fear, but it is also about deep revitalization. Over the winter, a while ago, I wrote a piece about “The Power of Stopping” which feels even more apropos now, so I will share it with you:
How does revitalization happen? What is vitality? Where and how is the power of life force gathered and maintained? How do we do that for ourselves? How do we assist others in revitalizing and living from deep, powerful vitality?
It’s not just about ...
How to Become a Reassurance Expert, on a Me-First Basis
Whew! When those around us are in fear, how can we be most in service to them?
Heroic emotional rescue is exhausting—we may not have it in us to support others when we ourselves are tired, and possibly just as afraid. We need a me-first way of healing, so that we feel better, too, even as we support others.
Teachings from the Water element can give us what we need, to stand like a lighthouse in the storm of strong emotions. These are practices that affect the body, mind, and spirit, and what’s best about them is that you don’t have to master them in order to receive significant benefit. They all ...
Water Transformation of Virtue:
Fear (Kong) to Wisdom (Zhi)
In Chinese medicine, there are Five Elements, each with a particular capacity for emotional disturbance. The Water element’s emotional disturbance is fear. Each element also has a virtue that is developed when we bring that emotion back in service to the Heart. Water’s returning to the Heart is called the Transformation of Virtue from Fear to Wisdom, via reassurance.
What is fear, what is wisdom, what is reassurance? They are physical states, and thus to understand them, we need to work through the body.
Fear (Kong) 恐
Fear is the acute awareness of the unknown in its rawest state. People who do not have a significant Water element tend to ignore what they don’t know: ...
Some Thoughts About
Points and Needling
I am preparing to teach a class called Needling From the Heart, and of course, I have my Whole Heart Acupuncture series coming up (with extra clinical mentorship on the Mondays), so the nature of acupuncture points is very much on my mind. Acupuncturists treat points with needles, but we all have acupuncture points, so this is a thought piece for everyone.
What is an Acupuncture Point?
An acupuncture point is a place of communication with deep eternal realities that transcend our individual lives. They are also, on an individual level, repositories of lies and contradictions, obfuscations or discouragements or puzzlement (or horror or agony) around the thematic content of the point.
The points are like a ...
Middle-Aged White Woman
Teaching Asian Medicine
Is it cultural appropriation for Westerners to practice Chinese medicine? How about Westerners teaching Chinese medicine? How about innovating new practices, new perspectives, new Western adaptations or sub-modalities that owe their origins to Chinese medicine?
These are important questions, and they must be ongoing questions. It seems likely that the short answer is that yes, this is cultural appropriation—but then, having made this determination, what is our next step? Surely it is not for all Westerners to stop receiving, practicing, and sharing Chinese medicine. How do we engage that which our culture did not create in a way that is respectful and generative, as a gift rather than a theft?
There are many pathways to explore ...