How we look at hardship can make every trying circumstance into a test from Hell – or a chance to dig deep and do more than we ever thought possible. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it’s the kidney meridian that governs our deepest resources and allows us to be wisely resourceful. And so we can nurture this precious essence by practicing deep breathing, reducing stress, meditating, and getting proper rest. Such self-care will help balance kidney energy and allow us the wisdom to see every obstacle or obligation as an opportunity.
Getting a “no” in life can mean either “not now” or “not ever” – neither of which is a bad thing if you consider what’s going on energetically. When things don’t work out the way we’d hoped, often it’s because we’re impatient and expect results according to our demands and not Divine timing. Or perhaps what we are desiring ultimately wouldn’t serve our best, highest good – and so that door stays shut because it’s not our door. Whether a roadblock means a temporary detour or a “do not enter – EVER”, what’s required of us is to surrender to the knowing that the Universe is benevolent and always helping things to work out for our benefit – at the exact time that’s most beneficial.
Many times, people will come see me for acupuncture when they’re at a crossroad. When they look around at life and feel disappointed, disenchanted, and sometimes downright disgusted with what they see as lack of progress toward some unrealized potential. More often than not, they’ll say something like, “I’d change jobs or move or find a more supportive, loving partner. But I don’t really know what I want and this is kind of okay, even though I’m not really happy”. Yet the mindset of “kind of okay” and “not really happy” will keep you standing in the crossroad in confusion and chaos. Because you’re buying into the biggest lie that people tell themselves, and that’s “I don’t know”. The mind and the heart, from a Chinese medicine perspective, are both capable of misreading and misleading us. It’s only the gut that won’t lie. That knows with a resounding “yes” or “no” if we but ask its guidance. And so to cultivate clarity, begin making every decision based on what your gut tells you is true. This inner knowing will guide you unerringly past this place to which you’ve come and take you as far as you really wish to go.
We’ve all experienced that Monty Python “wafer thin mint” moment. The point in time when it finally sinks in that we’ve been way over our own internal line in the sand for way too long. Often that stark clarity comes when, metaphorically speaking, our backs are breaking from the burden of carrying around two 60-lb. suitcases. Why do we do that? From a Chinese medicine perspective, an imbalanced lung meridian can lead to low self esteem and poor boundary setting. Balancing the lung through deep belly breathing, hiking in nature, and affirming, “I easily release what needs to go and receive what needs to come” truly help one to choose when enough is indeed enough.
Anxiety is rooted in childhood. From a Chinese medicine perspective, if an overly anxious parent is feeding a baby, then the little one comes to associate nourishment and receiving with fear. That child may then grow into a nervous adult, one who has trouble self-nurturing and who may choose a selfish or abusive partner that mirrors the “love equals fear” emotional programming within. Such fear-based ways of being lead us to try and control every aspect of life in order to foster a feeling of safety. Practicing deep breathing, eating in a relaxed manner, walking in nature, and affirming, “I am safe and all is well” can help curb fear and cultivate instead a calm centeredness.
And so it is with the mystical magic of metamorphosis. This type of radical transformation usually happens in humans after extreme emotional experiences. We tend to crash and burn our way through deaths, losses, and betrayals. And just when it seems it’s all been for naught – when the tank’s on empty and we’re wondering how we’ll ever rock this new norm of rock bottom – then something shifts. Somehow, by hanging in there past the point of reason or reasonable hope, we get a second wind. And a second chance emerges. In Chinese medicine, it’s the channels governing digestion that also give us the patience and endurance to keep on keeping on. And so through practicing deep breathing and proper nutrition, we can emerge from our dark night of the soul with a newfound knowing that we’re back and more beautiful than ever before.