Category Archives: Uncategorized

Enjoying the last of winter

March 6, 2019

I just heard the weather prediction and it will be 24 degrees when I leave the house tomorrow. I keep thinking that in Chinese Medicine we are a month into spring.  I enjoy looking for the new buds on the trees still empty of leaves.  But even here we are way behind the norm this year. 

The one thing that I am noticing is that this cold allows me a little longer moment to revel in the stillness that is so palpable in the wintertime.  As I practice the beginning standing pose in Qigong, I am sure that a half hour has passed and most certainly I open my eyes to find that indeed a half hour has passed.  I notice that within the stillness I always begin at some point to have realizations.  Some people refer to it as accessing their wisdom.  I try to relate to it as consciousness before the movement. I stand not just to stand but also to be in the place before movement marked by stillness.   I recommend it in the next few days.  (But not on the metro platform, keep moving there.)

There is a way the body/mind/spirit aligns itself with what is happening outdoors.  I still feel like I must hibernate getting much more sleep than is normal.  There is continually a cup of tea warming my hands.  We must be able to observe where we are in the seasons and act appropriately. So rather than long for the Spring, try to savor these last moments of the Winter and use them well, finding what is possible in the depth of you.

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Go Crazy with Decluttering for the Chinese New Year

As a person who enjoys all the news reports that people with a good deal of clutter are really the creative ones, I admit that even for me there comes a moment when you have to ask why did I keep this.

So why declutter now?

We are the last day in the Chinese Calendar for the year of the Dog, and going into the year of Earth Pig. Each year on the second new moon after the winter solstice the new year begins. There is a celebration from this date until the full moon. This year it begins on Tuesday, February 5th. This is a period of special meals, family visits, and gift giving to make this celebratory time. Traditionally people take the opportunity to honor their ancestors and worship the divine.

And on the other side there is the cleaning and decluttering to help make room for the new. Attending a Feng Shui workshop this weekend the conversation included sweeping, vacuuming, and getting rid of clutter. It applied to every aspect of the house. While I often joke that would take me years, it’s amazing how much you can do in a very limited time when you see that there is an important purpose. I enjoyed throwing away the candles, rearranging pictures, plants, and crystals. and while I didn’t manage all the clutter, I saw the amazing difference in the Qi flow in the room. So the big announcement is that you have another 24 hours to get the job done. Challenge yourself and see what you can let go of without making yourself absolutely crazy.

The best thing is that on the 5th the first day of the Earth Pig, you have to begin the celebration and let the gifts of the new year come in.

The year of the Earth Pig is said to be one of solidness and prosperity. So focus on those parts that represent stability and value for you. Money may be the representation of this or it might be something entirely different. Because it is the earth element it is important to look at what you do to take care of yourself and imagine what you need to add or what you really require to heal to the next phase of your journey. Be thoughtful about what you truly need. And take the time now to declutter. Good luck and Happy New Year

In light and love, Eve

 

 

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Winter Solstice


As the days were becoming shorter this year, I started to buy books every other day.  Probably, I went a little overboard, since I’d need much more time in the day to read all of them.  But it is the action that shows my energetic need to match those long nights and slow down, and hunker down under the covers with a good read.  I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy the deliciousness of winter in so many ways that allows me to see the bare bones of life and to just breathe.

People who don’t know me very well comment about how calm I am.  It’s not true.  I am not a calm person.  Big and little things can upset me.  I started to meditate in my early twenties because I knew that I needed to learn how to counter this ‘upset’ tendency. But in the depth of Winter I slow down enough to believe that it will all be okay without needing to do something about everything.  So I get the books and I ‘schedule’ days that I don’t have to do much and can just relax and read, and even decide to stay in PJs all day with a cup of tea and music playing.  The winter doesn’t cause this but going with the downward plunge of the winter does.

In Chinese Medicine the winter is associated with the Water element.  You can feel the winter here even before all the leaves leave the trees. The air is nippy with as the cold encompasses everything. In response to this, we go inward to the depth of our being. And in this process of going deep, if we have fear or anxiety, we come to a spacious place where we discover our intuition and wisdom.  This deep dive is the Water element. It’s the slowing down that transfers the questions from our head to those hidden places inside that carry the certainty of your path, even if it is a path that you might not automatically think of. 

I invite you to make your deep dive – And if the deep dive requires a meditation, then do that. If it is Qigong that you long for, then do a very quiet style of Qigong and enjoy the connections to the earth and heaven. But it might also consider slowing down and doing as little as possible, or maybe reading that very special book in bed.

Enjoy the remaining long winter night and don’t forget to slow down.  

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I don’t want to be your mother but..

 

This summer has been  the fourth hottest summer ever.  Everyone is aware of this.  But people I see walking in the street behave as if they are in denial.  Now before I start on this diatribe I have to confess that I grew up in Florida.  And while I do have an olive complexion, my mother had freckles and was very aware and protective of her skin.  So I learned early that there needed to be a limit of exposure to the sun.

 

But first things first- a couple of week ago, I was going to work and while waiting for the walk sign a younger person next to me said, “God why did I wear these pants? It’s so hot.” And just to be nice I asked what’s the problem?  And she said, “These jeans are too tight and heavy. I feel just awful. I should be dressed like you with loose fitting light clothing.”

 

I thought yes, you should. But I don’t expect a 24 year old to be dressed like a 64 year old. Even if you were wearing shorts and t-shirts though, they should fit loosely. Do I know this from growing up in Florida? Maybe.  So rule number 1 of thriving in hot weather requires you wear loose fitting clothing.

 

Rule number 2 involves the need for a hat.  A wide brimmed hat protects your face and eyes from the ultraviolet light.  Now we need sun exposure to get a proper amount of vitamin D3, but no one knows the exact balance between the healthy and unhealthy amount of sun exposure.  But we do know that excess sun exposure contributes to skin cancer. And you may not know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S.  One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.  Ultraviolet light causes the cell mutation to occur. The threat applies equally to exposure in tanning studios.  Apparently incidence increases with blistering sunburns during your teenage years.  So you can protect your skin by wearing sunscreen, which I never do; or you can wear a hat.  Also, the location of many skin cancers is on the face and scalp. Wide brim hats are great protection as well as shade in the summer or winter.

 

Additionally, ultraviolet rays affect the eyes contributing to cataracts, growths, and cancers of the eye. So rule number 3 is to wear sunglasses that protect against the ultraviolet rays even if it’s a cloudy day. The best is if you already wear glasses have them made into transition glasses so that the lens turn dark outdoors.

 

And last but not least, surviving the remaining hot days requires that you pay attention to hydrating all the time.  Notice it is the one thing missing in the photo above.  This just proves that we all have room for improvement.

 

Please enjoy the rest of the very warm days left in summer.  And please take care and love yourself.

 

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Finding the Sacred Earth

When I was in my mid-forties, and as I remember it in the midst of a small mid-life crisis, I began to study with a Mayan Elder in Guatemala. Over 10 years, I visited when he traveled to the States, but more often I went to Guatemala or Honduras to take spiritual walks with him. He was the head of the Mayan Council of Elders and was a major spokesperson for the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. He was a keeper of Mayan wisdom, history, legend and philosophy, and a man of integrity and a force for good.

 

But, for me, I found something amazing that I hadn’t known I needed. I found a grounded honoring relationship with the earth and all the creatures of this earth. And from this I awakened how Chinese medicine needs to be understood as the sacred movement of the elements and their movement between heaven and earth. I could feel this through my bones. I would keep going back to gather more energetic understanding. At the time I knew that this relationship was to be a huge influence in my life. I began to sponsor trips bringing other people to Guatemala to experience the beauty of this place, and to expand their consciousness, change their sacred relationship with the earth and to meet this holy man.

 

Long after I stopped these journeys, I found the study of medical Qigong added another piece of this sacred inner cultivation and the relationship to the earth.

 

For the two decades since that time I would experiment teaching many classes attempting to imbue participants with this same kind of expansion. I offered classes on the Shamanic Approach to Bodywork, or Qigong classes, or Elemental Explorations.

 

This past November I found the missing pieces. I offered a workshop at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, entitled Qigong and Sacred Renewal.  My idea was that we would practice Qigong and meditation and take advantage of the sacred cauldron of energy that circulates through this high desert land. Georgia O’Keefe brought it to life as she captured the power of this landscape in her many paintings. But usually when I take a class in a gorgeous powerful setting I spend the majority of time in hotel rooms or classrooms at schools. I chose to have no more than 4 hours a day in the classroom. And we all took advantage of the offerings of services or the land.

 

We came to know the sky, and the healing of the elements within the earth. I managed an introductory class on the healing power of crystals one night; and another we did a full moon meditation on the clearest night one could imagine.   There was a day for soaking in a natural hot spring. And there were tours of the land, as well as horseback rides. And there was Qigong. Maybe it was a little less than what I do in a day, but for many of the participants it was more than what they had a habit of doing.

 

The result was that every person was able to conquer some place of healing in themselves. For one, they were able to find themselves being present. And for others it was the moment of discovering some blocked part of themselves to release and to find a new behavior. For some, their Qigong understanding advanced.  For others, it was just plain bliss.

 

For me, I found the spaciousness that always allows me a sense of freedom that I forget in my mundane day-to-day life.   After all these years of trying I think I found a model that seems to work for each person who came on the trip. But I’ll have to repeat this to truly test this hypothesis.   Right now I’m setting the schedule for early next November. So stay tuned for the 2018 version.

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