Category Archives: Musings

The Silent Wisdom of Winter

At the intersection of Wendover Ave. and Hill St., there is a large oak tree with a branch that extends across all three lanes of Wendover westbound. Almost at the end of this branch, and directly over the center lane of traffic, is a bird’s nest. “What in the world were they thinking?” I asked myself as I sped underneath it. I haven’t been able to get that image out of my head. I keep wondering if putting a nest there was profoundly stupid or a supreme act of faith?

No, I don’t think birds are stupid. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. Maybe any fall from a nest is potentially fatal no matter where the location. What with cats and snakes and just the force of the fall itself, learning to fly is a life and death matter, so why not go where the view is good? These rebel birds, I’ve decided are like rock climbers, living in the thrill of risking it all.

Naturally this made me think about my own life. How often am I willing to go out on a limb like that? In what ways in my life do I jump directly into something, knowing that I could land on my face in speeding traffic? It’s pretty rare these days, that’s for sure. So what is it that stops me? Fear of disappointing someone or of looking stupid? Fear of losing everything I’ve worked to create? In the face of death, which is the only thing that is truly inevitable, are these fears worth missing even one moment of the fantastic flight I could be having?

In Chinese Medicine, winter is associated with the kidneys. The kidney energy is the heavenly legacy we are born with, our genetics, who we are at the core. And fittingly, the emotion associated with Kidney is fear. Some call it fear of death, but I think it’s more about a fear of not living. Fear that we won’t be able to express who we are, that we won’t even discover who we are in the limited time we’ve been given.

But that is where the irony lies. There is nothing to know. There is no you to express. There is just life, streaming in and out of you and me and the bird in the nest and the kid down the street who you never really liked. It’s all the same stuff in different packaging. Each unique perspective contributing elegantly to the whole. Most of the time we have no idea the impact we make, so why don’t we set our intentions and quit worrying about it?

Self-knowledge is actually a misnomer. Finding yourself is more like coming home than going on a quest. Trees know that in order to grow and explore each spring, they have to pull their energy back into the ground during winter. It makes them stronger. Likewise, meditation, prayer, yoga, acupuncture or even music can be used to quiet the mind, to reconnect with that ancestral energy that has infused us with momentum since conception. If only we can manage to get our thoughts, judgments and obsessions out of the way, even for a few minutes each day, we will become settled in the wisdom that successful flight is inevitable.

Encouraging Creativity with Acupuncture

Each of us is creative. Each of us has something of beauty to share with the world. That something may or may not be  traditionally artistic–we may paint or sing, or we may instead bring a new dimension to mothering or cooking or project management. Each of us longs to contribute something inspirational to others. So what stops us? Fear, self-doubt, lack of recognition of our talents, or maybe we’re just too busy. We’re so caught up in the petty details of what needs to be done next, that we become oblivious to the calls of the external world, asking for our greatness.

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
otherwise we all remain too frightened.
–Hafiz (14th century poet)

This  “encouragement of light” is the connection we feel when we are quiet. A connection with God, with source, with each other, with the universe. It’s the reminder that we are at once a tiny speck amongst millions of others and a powerful force capable of changing the world. It’s this sense of connection that allows us to give up egotistical concerns about the perfection of our petals or the depth of our color and simply open our hearts.

As an acupuncturist, I feel that one of my most important tasks is to try to provide the space in which people can quiet their minds enough to feel their own essential wholeness. People often say,  “I’m not reacting to little things the way I used to,” or “I just feel at peace after I leave here.”  From such peace, whole worlds can be created. From such peace, the obstacles to self-expression can be lifted.

In Chinese Medicine, we speak about restoring the natural “flow of qi.” When “qi” or energy becomes blocked, things hurt, we get frustrated and we often can’t see past the physical or emotional place we are in now. Getting the qi moving allows us to glimpse into that other world in which anything is possible. The realization that just a few stainless steel needles can provide some relief from suffering illustrates the miraculous capability we have to heal ourselves in an instant.

It’s not that acupuncture, per se, helps you lose the weight, become pregnant or paint a more satisfying picture. But receiving acupuncture can be one way to find that still point from which the solution can emerge. The more you can experience that profound peace, that sense that all is right with the world (or even better, that all is right with you), the less tolerant you become of the things in your life that leave you feeling not right. Whether it’s an unhealthy relationship, an addiction or job stress, the more you connect with the healthy part of yourself, the less willing you are to put up with these drains on your energy. As people progress with acupuncture treatment, they find themselves making small changes (or sometimes big ones) in their lifestyle that allow them to pursue interests they forgotten about. They begin to imagine themselves in situations they had always considered out of reach. They begin to blossom.