Are you getting the (health)Care that you deserve?

Do I have a story for you!  I think you will resonate with it.
 
This is about two medical doctor interactions that I recently had.
One demonstrates a “don’t do this”.
The other “do this”, for me and how I approach my health.
 
This story’s also about:
What it’s like to challenge the accepted norms.
What I look for (and most importantly: avoid!) in any kind of healthcare provider – from a massage therapist, to an acupuncturist, to a general practitioner, and so on.
 
This path, life, isn’t always the easiest.
But it is definitely made easier with community, sharing, and knowing that you are not alone.
And boy do I have some doozy stories from years gone by.
 
This is the first of what may be many “healing journey” stories. It’s time to share with you what my story has been so far. About what’s possible when you step on this path. Then, you can understand not just who I am, but why I work the way I do. How I started on this path, and the myriad twists and turns. Also, maybe, about that one time I did a liver cleanse and had a job interview moved up a week that I went to, reeking of garlic and who knows what else…
 
I’ll share what I’ve learned, and where I’m at now.
(Spoiler alert: BETTER THAN EVER! GETTING BETTER EVERY DAY! Yep, all caps for that one.)
 
Ready? Let’s dive in!

Last week I had a really, truly, crappy experience with my general practitioner (GP) at my annual physical.  I went so that I could keep an eye on certain blood markers, and so I could have an emergency-use (for migraines) prescription refilled.
 
This experience reached peak terrible around how to “treat” my thyroid condition.  I left the appointment feeling bullied.
Like worse than Mean Girls bullying bullied.
 
This GP berated me for not wanting to medicate thyroid medication. And…
 
For not needing thyroid medication to manage my Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in the first place.
 
And then she questioned my endocrinologist (the one doctor I see very regularly), and suggested that I was some sort of irresponsible person for, gasp, not wanting to take unnecessary medication.
 
I know I don’t need this medication because I see my endocrinologist several times a year, closely monitor my health between observation and lab work, and discuss the entirety of my health-life with my endocrinologist at my appointments.
 
Did the GP ask me these things?
 
No.
 
And here’s the thing that had me all worked up the entire weekend:
 
Patients should not be bullied or made to feel bad, or infused with fear, over how they are managing their chronic conditions. Especially when they are a success story.  And even moreso if they are struggling!!!
 
Being educated about one’s condition should be considered a GOOD thing. Not something seen as a liability, a form of defiance or combativeness.
 
Successfully managed chronic conditions should not be weaponized against the patient.
Heck, no doctor should be weaponizing a patient’s health and health-history in the first place!
 
How the GP acted and reacted is not how medicine (of any kind) should be practiced. Period.
 
Medicine is about doing no harm.
 
It’s about bringing people to more health through compassion, and care, not through bullying and shame.
 
Doctors should not be saying, “you are here so I can fix you” to a patient with long-term, complex, chronic conditions.  Especially not without engaging in more inquiry about the situation, person, and so on.
 
Or, I don’t know, asking if the patient wants to, or feels they need, “fixing” to begin with?
 
This is especially true when that person sees you once a year or less for a 15 minutes appointment.
 
This approach is not only downright arrogant. It’s harmful.
 
Everything I have experienced on my long health-journey tells me that true health and wellness is not rooted in arrogance.
 
Acting from such an arrogant place severs the bonds of trust between patient and practitioner, between the medicine and the potential benefactor (the patient)…
 
Arrogance is also a barrier between myself and my own wellness. Between me and the world. Between me and God/Source/Universe/Spirit. Between me and love. Me and others. (Gosh, any time I’ve gotten arrogant about anything in my life, it has done nothing but cause harm!)
 
Arrogance severs and prevents connections.
 

This interaction exemplifies why I said, “screw this” and began turning to “alternative” medicine 18 years ago.

It’s why I enrolled in a clinical herbal program when my health was in the toilet.

I knew there had to be another way. 

On the other end of this spectrum with a medical doctor…
 
I had a wonderful recent experience with my endocrinologist.
At our last appointment, I challenged a recommendation of hers and said I was more comfortable approaching this recommendation from a different angle. We discussed it, and she said, “sure, if that’s what you want to do. Just know, this delays any measures we can take until this testing is done.”
 
I was fine with that. My endocrinologist was too. She got it.
 
When I told my endocrinologist about my GP visit, she rolled her eyes. My endocrinologist assured me that what I said to the doctor was SPOT ON regarding thyroid health, treatment, labs, and so on, that I wished I could have hugged her.  I was so relieved.
My endocrinologist and I talked about my lab results, how I’m feeling, what’s going on with me outside of the labwork health-wise. Oh, and that recommendation that we shifted to testing first so I was more comfortable?  Yeaup: didn’t need to do anything.
At the end of the appointment, she said, “well, your labs look great! See you in six (6!) months! Keep up the good work!” Can’t argue with that. (This is the first time that she’s said see you in 6 months since we started working together. Usually it is one, two, or three…)
 
As you know, I spent the weekend in a tizzy over how my GP talked to me last week, and this appointment was just what I needed.
Speaking up pays off.
 
 
It’s really hard for me to “stand up for myself”, to stay rooted in myself, when there is a huge conflict such as my appointment last week.
I’m getting better at it, but this is a huge challenge for me.
Advocating for yourself is not easy. 
 
You have to educate yourself and then advocate for your health needs.  You have to remember that you are the expert of your health, that you know you best.  You have to observe how you feel, what works for you, what doesn’t, and act accordingly.
 
This is especially true if you have a complex chronic health condition, or multiple conditions. Or don’t want to be taking medication when a dietary change will do.  Or, if you want to be the gorgeous self-empowered human that you are!
 
Self-advocacy is the key to well-being.
Self-advocacy is what gets you eating those vegetables.
Telling your practitioner, “that’s not going to work for me because…”
Getting out and exercising because you know you feel better when you do.
Getting enough sleep every night.
Not eating that food that you know aggravates your health condition.
 
We all need and deserve a care team that honors our lived experience.
 
You deserve someone who understands that you are unique, that your experiences are your own, and that there is so much healing that can happen simply by working with the whole picture.
For me, having a care-team involves not just “alternative” practitioners and practices, but the standard allopathic ones as well.  I know what I get from each practitioner and how it fits together, but it took me 18 years (holy moly, I still can’t get over that) to get here. 
For you, and your team, the bigger picture will be different.
No matter what your picture looks like, in the end…
 
All that matters is that you are getting the care that you deserve.
 
Self-advocacy and being health-empowered help you winnow out the people who are not right for your care team.
 
The process can be exhausting. Enraging and frustrating.
It can leave you feeling unheard, invalidated, dismissed, bullied, “fired”… I’ve been there.   I’ve been fired by doctors on more than one occasion.  Yet, all this has been worth it.
 
It’s worth it because ME and MY HEALTH are worth it.
 
If all you have is one person who “gets it” – that can make a world of difference.
 

That’s whats taken me to the next step, on more than one occasion!

How are you taking your next step towards living a health-empowered life?

Making Inner Connections with Chinese Medicine

I had an amazing session with a client who I’ve been working with for a few months the other day.
She came to work with me because she wanted to dive deeper with herbs and Chinese Medicine. She wanted to learn more about the connections between her lived experience and what Chinese Medicine offers. And, of course, at the root of it all, was she needed help with nagging health issues.
Layer by layer, month after month, we’ve been able to work through one issue after the next. Many subtle, and not so subtle!, shifts have taken place.
Lately, we’ve been working on some pretty gnarly headaches…
In our last session, we re-examined her diet and lifestyle. I made some suggestions to reduce or avoid certain foods/beverages.
BUT, I also said, “let’s add… teas, delicious foods, and luxurious baths and oils to your routine.”
We talked about the herb formula that I sent them a couple of weeks prior, and how they were doing on the formula.
I was happy to hear that her headaches were gone.
And I was pleasantly surprised to hear that some new things were happening…
I asked her questions about the different parts that were coming up.
She allowed me to lead her through a bramble-filled trail to make the connections between what’s coming up. It’s just a matter of taking one step, one question, at a time. Slowly, almost without moving.
What did any of this have to do with her headaches, the herbs, and the formula’s actions???
Then it happened…
I could see the light-bulb of “aha” go off the moment that the connection happened.
She made connections between her physiological state and her inner world.
Connections between her creative and visionary life and energy levels.
Connections about forcing energy to be consistent. Like forcing an apple tree to bear fruit year round.
When you do this, what other effects get created in the body?
Wondering, what if these natural fluctuations are not a “bad” thing?
Or, a way to manage uninspiring work tasks with inspiring nourishing work, or something else?
Like the seasons, life has it’s time for outward movement.
And life has its time for inward stillness.
More “aha’s” happened:
Connections between how she feels in her body when she eats certain foods. And what she feels and thinks about her lived experience. How the different parts (old vs new) were in conflict with each other. Opposing the old-way of being: forcing themselves to be a certain way. Could she bring more awareness, curiosity, love and compassion to her inner and outer life?
Thanks to these “aha’s”, she experienced a visible shift in this session.
It was plain as day.
I could see it in my client’s face…
Less tension. Softer. Lighter. Empowered.
It was amazing and beautiful.
And now, I have the privilege of sharing what my client’s experience of our work together has been, with you right here…
“I feel strongly about our work together [… and] have some reflections … on the holistic or whole systems considerations/approach that we take.
[What] is huge [is how] we take TCM patterns, then relate them across the physical/emotional/psychological/energetic contours. [Then] bringing attention to all parts of self.
[There is an] integration of seemingly unrelated pieces.
Then, finding clarity and healing in seemingly unrelated areas of life.”
My client shared with me that she now sees, and lives with, awareness of the Wood element and Liver.
And how it affects many areas of her life:
The impact that her work has on her.
Her food choices.
Making more intentional choices around the role of alcohol in her life.
Creating space for, and buffering the impacts of, work stress.
The experience, awareness of and improvement with work/life balance. And the development of interests-outside-of-work.
Her exhaustion, energy levels, and sleep struggles (improvements with all).
(Special thanks to my client for being willing to share her experience with you and I!!!)
She’s not made these connections only because of the herbs. The herbs play a role, for sure.
It’s the stillness, the space where you listen, that is key.
The stillness is where you can see, feel, and hear the multitude of facets of yourself.
Where you allow whatever is happening to… happen.
It is this space that allows these opportunities for growth, integration, healing.
This stillness is the place where you, where each of us, can see and hear where we are…
To be quiet. To unfurl and let yourself be honest with where you are, in this moment in time.
This is the scary place for many of us (including me).
This is the place where we hear the song that our souls are singing to us.
Or maybe you hear the noise that your body is raging to.
Because when you can get honest with yourself, to be still and hear what is going on. The path forward becomes much clearer.
In this place, you are not trying to swim upstream exhausting yourself. You are swimming with the current.
You aren’t trying to turn yourself into a rose when you are an orchid. You embrace your uniqueness and give yourself exactly what you need to thrive.
This place is a place of power: the ability to hear and see what’s present, make choices, then take action.
When you listen, and act from the power that pours from and through you, much like the river…
Connections get made.
Knots untangle.
Freedom and awareness are accessible.
You honor what your body and soul are speaking to you.
By being present and aware, and curious.
That’s where the real healing and change starts: when you can get real with where you are.
Can you sit in the stillness of the present, and hear your Heart’s song or your body’s cries? What do you hear?
This work isn’t just about taking an herb to get rid of headaches.
It’s about honoring yourself.
It’s about making the deep connections that ripple throughout your world and beyond.
With Heart and Love,
Pamela

Are you listening?

Another topic has been on my mind so much the past year and I wanted to speak about it.  Alas, the best laid plans are indeed of mice and men because… I came down with a horrendous cold!
 
This cold has been a good lesson in letting things rest as they are for the moment. To take a step back. To give myself time to convalesce and recuperate.
 
It’s given me a moment to reflect on how far I’ve come on my own journey. To know how much I am listening to and honoring my inner wisdom.
 
Prior to working from home, I’d trudge to work on all but my worst of days, and force myself through the day.
 
Why?
Because that’s just what was done.
 
I couldn’t just, stop. Could I?
 
People don’t just do that. Do they?
 
What would it mean if I actually, simply, rested and let myself recover from a cold?
 
What would it mean if I didn’t just push through?
 
Would it mean that I’m weak? I’m not tough enough? My life isn’t “busy” or demanding enough?
 
(I mean, look at what’s happening with Simone Biles! This is a hot topic this week…)
 
What if it meant that I was honoring my body? Honoring what my body was calling for: rest, nourishment, recovery?
 
I can see how self-destructive all that pushing was. To not allow myself to rest – what was I telling myself? That I didn’t deserve the time to do one thing: recover from being sick (or, as it were, to simply be sick).
 
Not to wallow, mind you, but to ask myself: what do I need most right now?
 
And to truly, deeply, listen to that answer then act on it.
 
When was the last time you did that?
 
Asked yourself what you need the most right now?
Then deliver, for yourself.
 
Even practicing violin has not happened this week because my body has been asking for unprecedented couch and bed time, rife with naps, broths, piles of tissues and, of course, herbs and baths.
 
And you know what?
 
Zero guilt, shame or inner conflict over what is and is not happening while I am sick. No pushing to get over being sick as quickly as possible.
 
I’m just… sick. That’s it.
 
Taking care of myself, and doing the bare minimum. And being okay with it.
 
This is a big deal.
 
No pushing.
 
No guilt.
 
No, “oh, I can’t do X, Y, Z because I’m sick” and then stressing out about it…
 
And that’s what I want to ask you this week:
 
If you look back to, say 2 years ago, or 18 months ago, what has changed with how you move through the world?
 
What hasn’t changed?
 
Are you listening to that glimmery voice that lives within more?
 
Are you acting from a place of fear or powerlessness?
 
Or are you shutting yourself down, for whatever reason?
 
If you’re shutting your inner voice down, do you know why?
 
Get curious as to your reason(s) why…
 
How do you feel when you close yourself off to your inner voice?
 
How do you feel if you can’t hear your inner voice?
 
So why am I asking these questions when I’m talking about how glorious it is to be sick this week?
 
Because I’m listening to my inner voice who said, “just stop. Rest. Take care of yourself.”
 
My inner self is overjoyed.
 
I share this because that’s what happens when you start listening. Really listening.
 
Then acting on those glimmers that you hear.
 
You feel okay even when you are going through a box of tissues a day and waking up with eye-watering sinus pressure headaches.
 
When I say I’m living in integrity, or as many would currently say, “acting in alignment” – this is what I’m talking about.
 
Honoring your deep wise self through loving action.
 
How have you been honoring and loving your deepest self through action?
 
 
As for the herbs I’m using?
 
I’m using two TCM formulas for my pattern (External Wind-Heat and associated headache), and yarrow-peppermint tea with local honey. I’m also taking a couple of diluted tinctures for the cough, one of which is my first time using it: New England Aster!

Tug Hill Herb Harvest – July 2021

I am settled back home in Brooklyn after a few-day trip up to Tug Hill.  The purpose of the trip was not to harvest herbs, but to connect deeply to myself and to Nature. My great-aunt, a six (maybe even seven!) decades-long resident of Tug Hill, said that everything is off this year in terms […]

In Dreams

I’ve had vivid dreams my entire life.

I’ve also experienced issues relating to good, quality sleep (aka insomnia).

I’ve tried all the formulas that Chinese Medicine offers, and they don’t help.  Not in the long term anyway.

The Daoist traditional thought surrounding dreams is that the dreams of common man are seen as insignificant.  The only dreams that matter are those from “radiant figures” and those who have dreamless sleep.  It was said that those with dreamless sleep had no anxiety during the day.  This, I propose, is where the idea that having any sort of dreams meant that one had a restless Heart, restless Shen, in Chinese Medicine originated.  And, that in order to live a peaceful and contented life, one of the entrees into that state is through having dreamless sleep.

This is in stark contrast to the Jungian approach to dreams, wherein they are seen as an access point into the Unconcious.  The unknown.  The Feminine.

Look at Jung’s The Red Book, or his more accessible, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.  Deep, profound healing can occur when one is willing to converse with what arises from the unconscious.

This has led me to question the entire premise of sleep according to Chinese Medicine.

What exactly is Chinese Medicine asking of us, when CM proposes that dreamless sleep is the ideal?  Or that comman man’s dreams are insignificant?

What if, instead, this is a hugely missed opportunity in the name of overcoming the Feminine, the Unconscious, in the name of non-duality, Dao?

What if I don’t need to “fix” my sleep issues or vivid dreams that often lead me to feeling exhausted.  And, instead, mine them for the gold that they are offering me?  What lessons could be learned from this shift in approach?

Some of us receive inner knowing from our guts.  Others, like me, from their dreams.

I’ve started journaling my dreams every morning, no matter how short the dream, how vivid or vague, and then journal my feelings from there.  I’ve tried to dream journal before, and seem to have found a groove that works for me, with no particular “way” of analyzing my dreams.  I just let them tell me what to write, then I see what comes up in me from there.  It’s very organic, and I much prefer it over: what does this color mean, what does this or that mean, what’s the significance.

No.  Just let the dreams tell me what to do, thank you very much.  My dreams and I are tired of outside input into how they should or should not be in the world.

 

Since I’ve been doing this exercise?

I’ve been able to process and let go of things that I had been holding onto ever so tightly for a long time.   I’ve been able to see my own behavior, reflected through the characters of my dreams, and how it hurts me.  I’ve been witness to a deep loving-kindness that comes forth when I need it most, and wake up knowing that that is part of me.  A part that I can access at any time.

Coincidentally, my sleep has never been better.  (Sure, I still need assistance to GET to sleep, but I don’t wake up as frequently, and I feel more rested.)

I feel better throughout the day. My mind is less cluttered during the day, less anxious. I feel more connected to my authentic self. I don’t run on auto-pilot nearly as much. I’m engaged with my day and body and self.

I’m able to be more careful with myself, something that sounds strange.  But, I’m very hard on myself, and now I treat myself with a lot more love and compassion than I did before.  (It should be noted, that I am also engaged in practices throughout the day where I cultivate self-love and compassion!)

And you know what?  I like this so much better.  I like that my dreams are wild and vivid.  I like that they have things to share with me. I don’t want them to go away. They have become one of my greatest teachers. And, isn’t that what this whole healing business is all about?

I am my greatest teacher. I have everything I need within me.

So do you.

Safety Within

Well… here we are.  In NY, it is week 10 of shelter-in-place.

No matter your particular situation:  How are you doing?

How are you feeling: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually?

Have you been learning new things about yourself, your life, your world?

Discovering challenging things, uncovering pearls of wisdom or inner gifts? 

Do you have things coming up from a long time ago, asking to be released, held, healed?  

Are you experiencing new feelings, or feelings that you would typically work to avoid, ignore or otherwise deny?

Are you working with this time?  Are you fighting this time?  Is this time a boon or a bane? Both a boon and a bane?


I’ve had my share of “ups” and “downs” throughout these past few months.  Today, as I post this, I’m longing for living life differently than I have been, in a place different from where I am because without the things that keep me “here”, I want to be “there”.

I’ve written and re-written this post for several weeks, because this liminal space is… uncharted. It’s, wild. There are no paths to follow. Only the experience of the moment. (And maybe even a cup of tea or two too…)

Here in this moment, I have felt a great sense of stability amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the world, and a sense of blossoming like I’ve not felt before.  It’s as if I’ve been on the open ocean for so long, that I see there’s something on the horizon, I just can’t quite make out what that something is yet. It is exciting, and scary. This is amidst the pain, suffering and grief throughout what is currently happening the world over.

I’ve been tapping into some core feelings that I’ve not been able to make space for – and that in and of itself is a great gift even if opening it seems to leave scratches, like walking through a rose or berry thicket.  

This time feels like a holding, an awareness, of both the blossom and the thorn.

Yet, just like wrapped gifts and roses and berries, there are treasures if we persevere through the uncertain parts; only if we stop, if we take a moment, a breath, and watch what’s happening. If you stop in a blackberry thicket, you cease to get pricked and scratched and seemingly grabbed and held ferociously by the thorns and canes. You can feel a sense of calm within this wildly thorny place. We can possibly safe in this, if we let ourselves.


As a survivor of domestic abuse, the survivor of workplace emotional and psychological abuse, and the spouse of a recovering alcoholic, I can without a doubt say that none of this, and I mean none of this, is fully accessible without a sense of environmental safety. If you are not safe in your home, are living with an abuser or in an otherwise abusive environment, getting yourself safe is your top priority. You deserve to be safe so that you can grow and thrive as who you are meant to be and who you truly are. If you are in an unsafe position, please refer to the resources below.

Here’s how I see it. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can grow or heal without feeling safe, without feeling held and nurtured.  Seeds don’t grow until they’ve found their home in the soil, on a tree limb, in the water, etc.  We all have seen plants growing in the scarcest of conditions, but there the seeds have landed, with conditions that are “good enough” for them to take their chance at thriving during their time on Earth. 


From my years of undergoing therapy for PTSD, the very first order of business was establishing a sense of inner safety where my body did not feel like it was spinning out of control, or on hyper vigilance mode all the time.

I didn’t know what it meant to feel relaxed and safe in my body for more than a short time until this past fall. Making safe havens within ourselves takes time. Much like the formation of earth, sand, trees, patience – or the willingness to keep returning to these practices with the tenacity of a tree growing in a sliver of a sidewalk crack- is required.

My vision of safety is not living in a utopian dreamworld, where everything is our idea of perfection or consistent certainty. This is obviously not the safety such as in greenhouse uber-controlled conditions where the soil, humidity, water, light, and nutrient conditions are closely monitored.


Safety is that which we know within ourselves, that we can look within and feel a sense of inner trust, compassion and a general feeling of “I’ve got this”. It’s courageous stuff, especially as a woman in this society who is told all sorts of things about who I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to want, how I’m supposed to behave, and what relationships I’m supposed to have.

It’s hard to feel “safe” when the world-at-large is telling you that you are not to be trusted: that who you are and what you want is somehow not acceptable or good enough. It is hard to feel safe when you don’t know what you are coming home to after work. It’s hard to feel safe when you work in an abusive work environment.


It starts small: making one promise to myself every day (this started with meditating daily), and has grown from there.***

From these small acts, we cultivate safety that becomes trusting oneself in the wildness that is living life.  This wilderness is the ground upon which we stand in the here and now.  This wilderness is filled with all sorts of interesting things to navigate along the individual’s path – and each path’s terrain is different. This can be the place where we explore in meditation (and other internal practices), in our creative work, in therapy/self-exploration, in our physical world, and in our relationships – but only if we dare to learn the terrain that is our inner world. 

We learn what is predictable, what is unpredictable, what season or cycle we may be in, and where we fit into it.  We can let go of our notion of control: control over our environment, thoughts, finances, relationships, and so on. We can return to ourselves, and learn to trust in who we are and our place in the world.

We learn that big, traumatic, things can happen and we can still feel safely held by ourself, the world, you name it and that we can be true to ourselves and navigate these waters. That even amidst great upheaval, there can be growth, healing, expansion into the deeper self because of this feeling of holding, of inherent safety within our beings. This feeling can be touched upon and returned to repeatedly.


This sensation of being safely held and returning to who we are is connection to the Dao, Universe, Heavens, God, Spirit, Gaia, Great Mystery, etc. I don’t really have a word for it, and I know of some people who call it magic. We feel held within this connection by our Yīn.

Yet, in our society today, we are very Yáng focused. Yáng is described below in detail, but it is outwardly moving, bright, heat, and loud. Yáng has taken over our world, and this is a big reason why we are seeing climate change: the balance between Yīn and Yáng is terribly off. Instead of an ice-age of Yīn, we will have a heat-age of Yáng. We are already in this transition, and if we do not cultivate the balance within ourselves and society (and our treatment of the natural world) through Yīn, our whole world will collapse.


Yīn (陰) is the female principle in the Yīn -Yáng dynamic.

Yīn is defined as the following: shade, shadow, cold-lit, dark(ness), dim(ly), north side of a mountain, south side of a river (especially regarding place names), cold(ness), inactivity, declining strength, seasons of autumn and winter, cool vapors and aura of autumn and winter, cold wind (especially north wind), feminine principle (opposite of a Yáng), associated with the moon, earth, darkness, cold, weakness, softness, hiddenness, latency, stillness, etc.; the broken lines in Yijing hexagrams, symbolic of the number 6 as the most fully Yīn of the nine fundamental numerals, below the surface, secretive, out of sight, retract(ed), suggest(ion), intimation, innuendo, pertaining to the reproductive organs.[1] 

Yīn Organs in Chinese Medicine are those that hold the vital energies and spirits: the Heart and Pericardium hold the Shen (our life spirit), the Liver holds the Hun (creative spirit), the Spleen holds the Yi (our integrity), the Lungs hold the Po (our instinctive-animal spirit), and the Kidneys hold the Zhi (our innate wise spirit).


Neat factoid:

There is also a variation in pinyin spelling (yìn) that utilizes the same character set that means: afford shelter, protect, benefit, cover over, conceal, hide.[2]


Yáng (陽) , on the other hand, embodies brilliance, light, the south side of a mountain, warmth, lively, full of life, the seasons of spring and summer, superficial, surface, the masculine principle that is comprised of the sun, heaven, light, warmth, strength, hardness, height, mastery, potency action.[3] 

Yáng Organs are the organs that move internally and externally: Small Intestine and Triple Warmer move food and the heating-cooling fluids of the body, the Gallbladder moves bile, the Stomach moves food, the Large Intestine moves waste material, and the Bladder moves water.


With our enforced yìn-Yīn time here in the United States (during the shift from the Yīn to the Yáng time of year at that!), we are afforded the opportunity that we no longer get during autumn and winter: a time for stillness, to peer into our inner stillness and shadows. 

This is, of course, terribly poor timing for all we want to do is be out in the world being active and we’re forced to remain within ourselves and our homes (however that may look for you).  It’s no wonder that as these weeks continue on we may be feeling stagnant. This is the time of year that we move all that’s been accumulated during the winter into action.

Yet, I see this yìn time in that we have the opportunity to shine the Yáng light into the Yīn darkness that all too often are unable to do. This is where this time can be a boon – but again, only if we already feel some sense of safety, some kind of holding. And, as I previously stated, for a lot of us, that’s just not the norm and that needs to come first.


This is only possible if we have that safety, that feeling of being held.

The Uncertainty guide offers practices which open you up to your inherent way of being. To help you learn to feel safe in yourself again.

Once you have that…

the Fire that’s in your Heart can shine like the sun into the depths of your being, allowing you to discover your unique treasures and gifts. You can transform through this uncovering what you’ve taken on that is no longer useful. You can courageously move through your fear and create what the Ancients call: wisdom, benevolence, integrity, rightousness, and propriety.

Stay tuned for more on these transformations!


References:

[1] A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese by Paul W. Kroll

[2] In A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese by Paul W. Kroll,

[3] In A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese by Paul W. Kroll,

[4] Lonny Jarrett, Nourishing Destiny, pg 153

[5] Larre and Rochat de la Valle, The Seven Emotions, pg 95

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Resources:
***The Holistic Psychologist is a great resource on Instagram, YouTube and her Inner Circle group for clear instructions on how to help you return to yourself. I wish she was around when I started my journey years ago, because everything she discusses is what I’ve explored and her work is just phenomenal. Simple, clear, to the point.

Resources on Domestic Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, and other:

If you are a domestic abuse survivor, FreeFrom seeks to provide opportunities for income generation and independence: http://www.freefrom.org/

CapitalOne Bank offers online accounts without receiving paper mail. This is a great option for you to squirrel money into in case you need it. You can use ATM’s with your debit card to make cash deposits. Here’s the link to the free checking account: https://apply.capitalone.com/index.html#/getting-started?productId=4000&Product=360Bank

ProtonMail is free encrypted email: https://protonmail.com/signup

Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/help/

Futures without Violence: https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/get-updates-information-covid-19/

If someone in your household is abusing substances and you have no recourse to leave, Al Anon may be of help in helping you get through this time. https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings/

If Alanon is not for you, there are other 12-step type options.

Speaking with a therapist (which should be free of copays at the moment) may help you during this time as well.

Realizations and Lessons

I had a big change a week ago, a huge realization:

I am not what is swirling about in my head, my body or the environment around me.  I am the stillness that resides deep within, that I have been allowed to touch every so often in meditation.

With this realization, that sense of stillness has become ever more present – on the meditation cushion and off.

 

Following this realization, I have learned some important lessons this past week:

That I can indeed trust the answers that are provided to me from that deep place of stillness and mystery within; and to trust those answers in directing my course of action without second-guessing said answers.

The fire and strength in me is true to me, it is “real” – there for me if I am also sensing the stillness and “rightness” of it (for lack of a better way to describe it).  Sadly, I forgot that I had this in me, and that I don’t have to question its existence, role or purpose in my life.

I learned that I don’t have to shrink myself and say yes when the situation clearly calls for a “no”; I can speak my mind clearly without ill-will or intentions of harm.

Surrendering to the force that rushes up and says “now is the time, you can do this, you must do this” will not lead me astray.

You see, I’ve spent the last two and a half years working to get to this place.  It was on the horizon yes, but the horizon seemed to never get closer.  Yet, maybe, just maybe, all that my teacher has been trying to teach me is sinking in and taking root.

I tend to be willful and stubborn; about change and allowing myself to go to those (sometimes terribly) uncomfortable places within. But with these major shifts that have been happening, with so much power behind them: Who am I to question it when there’s such a deep sense of rightness and trueness, comfortable or not?

So now, my boat has dissolved and I am in the middle of the ocean. I have jumped off the cliff and am forever falling.  It may sound like I am losing my mind, but I’m fine.  I am freer than I have been in a very, very, very long time.

What a strange gift this has been, all spurred by the unlikeliest of circumstances: I left teaching at East West School of Herbology.  My herb home-of-origin of 7 years.

 

Everything has changed, and nothing has changed.

 

Queen Anne’s lace