A goal is first a vision, a spark of imagination, a hint of what could be before it’s ever a manifested reality. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the liver meridian mediates our hopes and dreams. Known as “the free and easy wanderer”, the liver energy is that part of us that longs to live without agendas and schedules; these restraints of modern life squelch the liver’s ability to move us along our most rewarding life path. If you’re not expecting exciting things for yourself – or if you’ve lost hope of ever creating a life that lights you up – it’s likely your liver energy could use a boost. A daily walk in nature and at least 20 minutes of “do nothing but daydream” time can do wonders to free you to begin living a life you love.
Did you ever angst over a pimple in high school? As teenagers, it’s all too easy to become consumed with worry over what others will think of these volcanoes we see erupting over our faces. Yet the truth is every teen is so anxious about his or her own face that nobody really notices anyone else’s acne! From a Chinese medicine perspective, many of us carry this self-consciousness into adulthood due to an imbalanced lung meridian. When it’s not well aspected, the lung’s natural role of boundary setter and minister of discernment can become harshly self-critical and overly concerned with others’ opinions. Developing deep breathing and self-care habits can bring harmony to the lung – and freedom from caring so much about what others think.
The truth is we only stop ourselves. But why do we do that? Fear is always at the heart of self-sabotage. From a Chinese medicine perspective, fear results from imbalanced kidney and gallbladder meridian energies. Yet the lung is what nurtures the kidney and balances the gallbladder, and in my clinical practice I find two lung imbalances are keeping most patients in fear – shallow breathing and harsh judging of self and others. We can’t actually judge and feel love at the same time, and so fear builds instead. By bringing breath and awareness every time we feel critical of ourselves and others, we can start to heal judgmental tendencies. See for yourself how quickly you move forward on your path once you free yourself from the self-sabotage straitjacket!
Or to put it another way … you’ve got to be in it to win it. Which means, essentially, you need to show up and open up to opportunities. To risk a daily habit of vulnerability that’s cultivated by committing to your goals, plans, and visions. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it’s the digestive channels that feed our dreams as well as our bodies by fueling our patience to persevere. Just one more great reason to nourish ourselves in a healthy way!
Neck and shoulder tension/pain is the number one complaint that brings patients to me for acupuncture. Since Chinese medicine sees no separation between body and mind, we acupuncturists recognize neck and shoulder issues as pent-up frustration/anger/resentment from “shouldering” too many responsibilities and worries. I often explain to patients that it’s like they are carrying around two 60-lb. suitcases – a burden I help them learn they can set down. Deep belly breathing, stretching, massage, and yoga are all effective remedies for this “boulders on the shoulders” syndrome – which frees up energy for more positive, pleasurable pursuits.
In ancient China, it was said the Emperor always faced South to keep a “good fortune” mindset. This practice illustrates how a “glass is half full” outlook is achieved by focusing our attention on all the good in life. There is inevitably something positive to experience if we look for it!