TCM

LI20 - Welcome Fragrance

Acupuncture Point Large Intestine 20 (LI20)

Acupuncture Point Large Intestine 20 (LI20)

This acupuncture point, Large Intestine 20 (LI20) is a blessing when you are congested. The full name is Welcome Fragrance due to it's ability to open the nasal passages. The symptoms this point is indicated for are: nasal congestion without discharge, blocked or stuffy nose, sinusitis sneezing, loss of smell, and rhinitis. Welcome Fragrance is located next to the nose, near the opening. Apply pressure for 20 - 60 seconds to help relieve any of the above symptoms. 

Can you truly love your neighbor?

This statistic is scary. Pew Research Center conducted a survey that was published on June 22, 2016, which stated that "55% of Democrats fear Republicans, and 49% of Republicans feel the same as Democrats." That translates as 1 out of 2 Americans is afraid of a person of a differing political belief. 1 in 2! If you are terrified by a member of the other party, why? Look in your own hearts to see why you find a member of the other party disdainful. Start with yourself. Start to make peace with what you don't like about someone. You don't have to love them, just allow someone else to have a voice, as much as you want your own voice to be heard.

Today, several people are wondering how did we get here. How? My take it is about the level of tolerance in this country. Can you accept that someone else may not have your same political beliefs without bashing them for having their own thoughts? Can you truly love thy neighbor?

Personally, I have some friends who say they are open minded, but only when it comes to people who share their same belief - yes, both liberals and conservatives are guilty of this. You may think that I am joking about it coming from liberals as well as conservatives, but I am not. Look at the statistics above - half of the population is afraid of the other half. 

I am a conservative, yes, may be hard for many of you to swallow or believe that an acupuncturist, yogi and yoga teacher is such, but that is what I am. Yes, this election had me questioning my beliefs, which is good. It is healthy to look at oneself and self-reflect. I digress.

Here are two examples (of many that I have personally experienced) of how I have seen my friends not accept my beliefs without me even saying what they are. Several years ago, I was talking to a neighbor about someone renting a townhouse who worked for both Clinton and Bush at some level in the government. My neighbor immediately said "I would never let a Republican rent my home." Point blank, without even knowing what party affiliation this couple had. My immediate thought was "Would she even be talking to me if she knew I was a Republican." I didn't say it. I chalked up to her opinion, and I am still friends with her because I value what she has to offer.  My second example is from a couple of months ago after a yoga class, I was talking with several students about the election. One of them said, "Of course she is a Democrat, she does yoga, is an acupuncturist, and snowboards." They assumed that I was liberal because of what I do. It was unfathomable that I would be anything else. To me the fact that people who claim to be open are so closed to someone having a differing opinion is part of the problem in this country. The level of intolerance is palpable.

So what can we do? Many today are talking about acting out of love and being the change. So be the change. Begin to look at your own thoughts, beliefs and how you react or respond to someone else who has a different belief. If you respond with disdain, anger or disgust, this is what you need to look at. Ask yourself "Why do I feel this way? Am I ready to judge a person by their party affiliation? Why am I angry? Is there more to this person than their political alliance? Are they kind, loving, or good?" And this is not meant to be about projecting onto another, it about self-reflection. 

Personally, I know this is not an easy exercise. For years, I have been doing this. If someone triggers me with their actions, words or beliefs than I look at myself. What is it within me that I do not like or accept that they are reflecting back to me that is causing this reaction? If there is disdain about someone holding a different belief, than why is it that I cannot accept their belief? Why? They are allowed to have their own opinion that is based upon their own experiences in life - their whole life from birth to the present moment. I want people to have a differing perspective than me because it allows me to learn and grow from what they have to offer. We all have walked different paths in this life, and we should not all be expected to have the same opinions. 

And I know that there is the room for us, as a nation, to come together. I was woken up at 6:30am the day after the election by a friend's text. We have different political views; however, we both acknowledged that so many American are hurting, feeling unheard, suffering and this election allowed them to be heard. We both believe that the level of intolerance is at the crux of this country's issues. It is our time as a nation to truly listen without judgement what the other has to say. 

So again, I ask you to go within. Look at yourself first, before you look at another with contemptuousness. Do you have fear a member of the other political party? Do you truly accept people for all of who they are or do you judge them prematurely? Be truthful to yourself when asking yourself these questions. Many are saying to go with love. One of my many teachers' said: "Walk your talk. Talk your walk." If you speak of love, love with an open heart and act through love in all of your actions.

Happy Place

Today as I walked through the woods after the first snowfall of the season, every single part of me was happy. There is something about being outside during and after a snowfall; its' quiet, peaceful, and gorgeous. For me it is absolutely magical. Every which way I look I am in awe of mother's nature beauty, especially today because there were still leaves on trees. Not only was the forest a mix of greens, whites, browns, but there was the occasional yellow or red leaves adding to the wonder of it all. 

Years ago, I would have never thought that snow would bring me some joy in my life, but it does. This is probably the result of having to walk my dog in every season - rain, shine, snow and sleet. It actually may be my favorite season. You can hunker down inside if you want or go out and enjoy the snow. It can bring the kid out in you if you let it. Walking throughout the woods all of me was elated. I know that the snow and the woods make me feel good, so I know I will get out there as much as possible. It makes me happy which is so essential for my well being.

I hope that you have a place that brings you so much joy in your life and if you don't, go find it. It is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. 

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Grief - It Is 100% Okay To Cry, To Yell, To Be Afraid, To Feel Loss Or Whatever Else. It Is Okay.

As I sit here and absorb the news of a tragic accident that took the lives of 5 teenagers from the area, my heart is heavy. The loss for these families and friends is real. Deep. Horrific. To comprehend the loss of one individual is hard, nonetheless 5.

From experience, I know the journey through grief is rough - months of anger, tears, or the shear lack of comprehension. Life feels surreal. Heavy. Burdened. Painful.

After my brother died, every morning upon awakening I would think that he is still alive. But in those brief seconds before I opened my eyes, his funeral would play back in my head. Nope he is gone. It was rough. I would go out to teach, come home to cry on my bed. I didn't get it. My days were numb. I couldn't feel anything other than the loss. And no words could console me. I would get angry when someone would say "It gets better with time." When I wanted to respond "F*&k you! How can this get better?"

And oddly it does. That amount of time is different for each individual for some it may be months and for others years. As a new normal, of life without a loved one, sets in, life shifts. It feels okay to smile, to laugh, or to enjoy life without them here. It is not an easy journey.

Finding the right support system to learn to cope; to make sense of the tragedy; and to shed tears is important. To know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. It is 100% okay to cry, to yell, to be afraid, to feel loss or whatever else. It is okay. The worst thing is bottling up the sadness and not dealing. 

It took me several years to understand that I didn't have to grieve for the loss of my brother everyday. I can miss him everyday, but my life is not controlled by the feelings of loss and sadness that I experienced right after his death. And trust me, I can take myself back to the hospital that morning he died; walking into his apartment knowing he will never set foot in there; his wake; his  services in NY and Miami. All of that can be fresh in my memory if I let it and the tears will come. This is what I mean by that I don't have to grieve him everyday. Yes, I miss him. I miss him a lot. Even though, I cannot hear his voice, see him or get a hug, I know that he is with my every day of my life. And this is something I learned with time. It was not over night, nor should any of these families experiencing the pain of this horrific loss feel like they need to be there. Grieving is a process.

I pray for these families that they can find solace within each other as they embark upon there new normal without their child, sibling, niece, nephew or friend. I pray that their friends are compassionate; willing to listen; and offer the support that is needed. I pray that they can find peace within their hearts when the time is right for them.

 

Welcome To Fall

Do you notice yourself re-evaluating or reflecting upon your life a the moment and discarding what your no longer need? Are you questioning the value of things in your life? What's important and what isn't?

It is absolutely natural to have this inclination during Autumn. We are turning in from the busy energy of summer and as we prepare ourselves for winter, we take stock of what is needed and let go of what isn't. In Chinese Medicine, fall is associate to the Metal element which is represented by the Lung and Large Intestine channels. If you simply think of the main functions of these two organs from a Western perspective we can see how they are related. Our lungs take in the air providing us with oxygen and the large intestines eliminate what we do not need from our food. 

The Lungs in TCM rule the Wei Qi, which is equivalent to the immune system. It is a time of year that many people tend to get sick, feel run down. It is important to nourish these systems at this time of year. From a dietary perspective eating white foods - artichokes, cauliflower, pears, grains, and spicy foods support the function of these two systems. In yoga, backbends help to expand the front body - allowing for one to take in my breath and creating more space in the belly for the large intestines to function. These are just some easy things that you can do on your own. Of course, an acupuncture treatment can be very helpful to rebalance the system, support your body as we transition from one season to another.