Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Season of the Metal Element

   Autumn is approaching as the sun casts longer shadows and the quality of the light is growing more golden in color. The transition is now from the earth element to metal element in Chinese medicine. 
It is a time for gathering Qi, harvesting the bounty of the Summer and preparing for colder weather. 
This week I gathered small dried flowers from my garden and made this collage. A dried rose, Angelica seeds, Agastache, Nicotiana pods, Tithonia diversifolia, and Lantana seeds.
 The collage feels like Autumn so I went to my favorite series of books on Chinese medicine and began reviewing the Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee translations of the Su Wen. 
The Huangdi Neijing of the Yellow Emeperor's Inner Canon is an ancient medical text that has been referenced, studied and used in Chinese medicine for over two thousand years. 

                                                       According to the Su Wen, Chapter 5 

                                                   The western quarter gives rise to dryness,
dryness gives rise to metal,
metal gives rise to the acrid taste,
the acrid taste gives rise to the lung,
the lungs give rise to the skin and body hair,
the skin and body hair give rise to the kidneys,
the lung masters the nose. 

In heaven it is dryness, on earth it is metal
Among parts of the body it is the skin and body hair.
among the sang it is the lung,
among the colors it is white,
among notes it is shang,
among sounds it is sobbing,
among movements which react to change it is to cough,
among the orifices it is the nose,
among the tastes it is acrid,
among expressions of willpower it is grief.

Grief injures the lung,
joyful excitement prevails over grief.

Above is the Ideogram for the lung. Also known as 'fei'.

It is during this time that the lungs and large intestine are in their peak time of year.
I really like this description of the seasons and their relationship to internal organs by Ms. Rochat.
"In the the seasons we can see the unfolding and progress of time, and time is nothing other than a succession and movement of different qualities of qi. And the same succession and movement of qi occurs inside the human body in order to organize and maintain life."

Wishing everyone a fruitful Autumn.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Great South Channel

This past week I traveled to the Great South Channel to visit the whales. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Upon boarding the Viking Starship in Montauk, we traveled out to the channel at night via Martha's Vineyard. The invitation to join the CRESLI trip came through Dr. Carl Safina of the Safina Center.
We left the dock as the glowing full moon began to rise.

 After a sleepless night I went on deck to see the super moon setting and first light revealing itself after a misty night. The water was glassy, the pelagic birds were flying with grace across the flat ocean surface and the smell of coffee filled the air. Dreamy eyes emerged from sleeping bags and met the amazing glow of sunrise.

In the early morning hours I met a beautiful mer friend at the bow of the boat who sat upon coiled rope. She told me about what the day might bring… she advised me to be prepared… for the magic of the moment when the whales would begin to breach. She suggested that I have everything in place beforehand… extra snacks, cameras, clothing... because when we meet the whales we will not be able to leave the deck of the boat.
And she was right.

First, the Minke whales showed up, they are elusive and very mysterious. Fast. One passed under the boat, in the blink of an eye. Then the Fin whales and finally we met the majestic Humpbacks.

The great South Channel lies between Nantucket and the Georges Bank. The waters are filled with nutrients and sea life that provide whales with great quantities of food for them during their feeding season. They may consume up to one and a half tons of food per day which is necessary for their long journeys. They may travel as far as 1,000 miles per month during migration season.
Humpback whales can grow to 16-17 meters in length. Their average lifespan is 45-50 years of age. They were originally named by naturalist Georg Borowski in 1781 as Megaptera novaeangliae, meaning 'big wing of New England'.

Breaching, bubbles, floating calves, tail slaps, and the sounds of deep breaths followed by watery rainbows greeted us at the edge of the canyon.
We all were absorbed by the magic of the Atlantic Humpbacks.

Thank you CRESLI, your wonderful volunteers, the crew of the Viking, amazing Captains, Dr. Safina.  and all of the fellow nature lovers for making this such a special trip.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gratitude for the Sea

It has been quite a while since I wrote a blog entry. Sometimes taking a break allows us to come back to what we left behind refreshed with new and different perspectives. At the moment I am feeling a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for many people, places and things in my life.

In addition to working in my private practice, I have been taking pictures daily and making collages with treasures from the sea. 
For this entry I am writing about my gratitude for the ocean. By sharing,
I hope to spread the inspiration just a little bit farther…

At the moment, I am grateful for the gorgeous photography of John Weller. I met John in the Kingdom of Tonga several years ago while we were photographing Humpback whales. He, Marshall Lally and Shawn Heinrichs, ( all extraordinary photographers ) were guests in the same hotel in Vava'u. At the time, I was traveling with Tony Wu, Patrik Nilsson and my special mermaid friends Rachel Teo, May Foo and Serene Khoo from Singapore.

One night, John gave a talk and shared his pictures of the Ross Sea, Antartica. Mesmerized, I could hardly believe my eyes. The pictures were beyond anything that I had ever seen. I later learned that these pictures went into a book The Lost Ocean. This is one of the most gorgeous books that I have ever owned. Time and time again, I go these pictures and try to imagine what it might be like in such a beautiful and pristine place on earth.

Dr. Carl Safina wrote the forward to this magical book. I did not know that Dr. Safina and John Weller knew one another and so it was a happy reconnection with very special people whom I admire deeply. 
Here are the links for both John Weller's and Dr. Carl Safina's websites. I hope that their important messages and work prosper. They are both luminaries and great heroes in my world.

I am also grateful to Roberta Goodman. She is a rare and special gem who has literally taken me by the hand and introduced me to the wonders of the ocean. I met Roberta at a very delicate point in my life after I had lost my only sister to suicide. I flew to Hawaii not knowing exactly why I was going but in my heart, I felt the call to be with cetaceans. 

The first day that I left the comfort of the boat, I gently whispered to her that I was 'a little bit nervous about meeting the dolphins'. Her soft and gentle hand held mine and we greeted a pod of dolphins together. She let my hand go slowly into the gentle sway of the ocean. 
Those first encounters left a profound imprint on my soul, while an ancient salty memory woke up inside of me.  
Roberta has a gift in her capacity to connect with and communicate with cetaceans. I have been in the water with her countless times  ( I've now lost track exactly how many ) and each time that we are together something magical and unexpected happens.

I have had the privilege of watching Roberta and the dolphins with and without my camera. It seems that the dolphins somehow know when the camera has been left on the boat and it is time to play. There have been numerous times that we have been together and I have seen amazing grace between her, the Spinner and the Atlantic Spotted dolphins. It has been breathtaking and heart breakingly beautiful to be by her side when contact is made between cetaceans and humans. 

I am deeply grateful to Roberta, she has shared her wisdom with me as well as her open heart. Roberta is a generous teacher,  a visionary and a very dear friend.

Thank you John, Carl, Shawn, Marshall, Tony and Roberta for sharing your gifts with us!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dogwood (Cornus Florida)

The Dogwood trees are now opening and gracefully revealing themselves. 
I have been photographing them over the past two weeks. It has been a beautiful study. 
These buds were forced indoors and opened slowly, but when they did unfold, it was quite a treat. 

The little sweet cardinal was photographed two days ago on a morning walk on Hog Creek Road in the Springs. I made several layers of images including a Dogwood as I felt it conveyed energy of Spring. 
These trees always make my heart sing. 

What appear to be 'flowers' are actually called 'bracts'. The true flowers are inside the white or pink bracts that are often referred to as petals. 

The Dogwood was used by Native Americans as a remedy for malarial type fevers that were intermittent. A tea or infusion was made of the white bracts, the green leaves and the interior bark. I do not use this as a remedy in my practice but researched its medicinal properties as I was curious about the historical uses of this tree in medicine. 

These pictures were taken in the afternoon light of the Springs. 

Above is a cardinal with the overlay of dogwood flowers from my back yard. 

Below are Dogwood flowers, Agate, Malachite and Amethyst. 

Wishing everyone a lovely Spring.