On the Fire Element

June 18, 2014 The Fire Element is the phase of the cycle of the Five Elements that is all about light. It’s about the summer, the time when the days are the longest and we can spend the most time outdoors in nature’s warmth. But it is also about the stars in the night sky and the hot molten core of the earth’s center.

And it’s about your own warmth and your own flame within. How would you describe your flame? Does joy bring that warmth higher? What things in your life do you find exciting? How do you notice your exuberance? Do you have enough laughter in your life? How could you change something in your life to have more joy? What would be its positive effect?

This is the time of year to focus on improving this aspect of your life. If you look inside and the answer is to spend more time with your family, by all means do it. This element is about spending time with others and having the capacity to share yourself. There is a joy is listening and sharing that is part of this exploration of warmth and light.

From a Chinese Medical perspective, it’s a time to get vigorous exercise. Take extra time to walk. If you have an outdoor sport, that is even better. Remember to hydrate well and wear good sun protection. Eat lighter fresh vegetables and fruits.

Mostly enjoy. Love, Laughter and Joy need to be your mantra the next couple of months.

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I’m putting down the phone

Truthfully, I started to complain a couple of years ago when I was standing in line at Starbucks and everyone in line was in relationship with their phones. They were texting, answering emails, or talking. And I understand. I always have my phone with me. What if there was an emergency?

While we might be connected on some level there is a way in which each person in line is increasingly unconscious of who is around him or her. On the one hand, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, but there is the separation from each other that is deepening.

Increasingly on the Metro where most everyone has a phone in his/her hand. I counted and out of 30 people in my train, 22 were using their phone. One person was even taking a selfie. We are increasingly just in relationship with ourselves. Isolation is the result.

That which keeps us connected also has a different effect according to how we use it.

I don’t want to be that way. I am thinking that it only continues because in some way we all agree to it. I’m turning my phone off. And I’m particularly turning it off when I’m with people. I hope to notice other people more and pay attention to what is happening.

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The Eight Branches of Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine from its beginnings some 3000 years ago was already holistic and integrated. Confusing though it might seem to us Westerners, the Chinese Medical approach was always multifaceted.

There has always been an eight-pronged design for how an individual might approach their health challenges and healing. I will list them in order of importance.

  1. Meditation: Meditation focuses the mind using the breath to balance the body/mind/spirit. The mind calms and the Qi moves through the body with the breath. This practice allows for self-realization and centering.
  2. Exercise: Qigong The movement, breath, and intention of Qigong moves the Qi and circulates the blood. Specific kinds of exercises are prescribed according of the physical condition and symptoms, or complaints of a person.
  3. Nutrition: There is hardly a more confusing topic than how one should eat. However, we can all agree that a diet emphasizing fresh fruit, veggies, and grains is much preferable to a diet of processed foods. In general, the ideal would be to warmer, heavier meals in the Fall/Winter and to eat raw, lighter meals in the Spring/Summer.
  4. Living in Harmony with the Season. Awareness of ones environment and living in harmony with the seasons is an underlying principle in Chinese Medicine. In the winter when the nights are long, and the temperature cold, we need more sleep and heavier meals. In the summer, we can be out later, and eat lighter meals. Our bodies know this if we pay attention.
  5. Feng Shui: Your environment affects your Qi flow and your life. How you design your environment has a direct influence on your vitality and overall sense of balance.
  6. Body work: Massage and other styles of bodywork increase the circulation and flow of Qi to the muscles and releases blockages.
  7. Herbs: For thousands of years the properties of plants have been used to create elegant formulas to address a person’s ailments. Herbal formulas are available for most any complaint.
  8. Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps direct the flow of qi through the use of fine delicate needles in specific points that are on pathways through the body called meridians. The meridians are used like a map to create balance, harmony and wholeness.
    What stands out in this prioritized list is how important it is to always focus on what you can do for yourself that will increase your health and well being. Look at the list and do an honest assessment of where you need to give your attention. I agree with the order and priority of this list. This is one of the reasons that I offer Qigong and Meditation classes for my clients.

What stands out in this prioritized list is how important it is to always focus on what you can do for yourself that will increase your health and well being. Look at the list and do an honest assessment of where you need to give your attention. I agree with the order and priority of this list. This is one of the reasons that I offer Qigong and Meditation classes for my clients.

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