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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Magnolia Medicine.

This past week I had the wonderful opportunities to attend webinars by Dr. John Chen. He is a brilliant teacher, Western pharmacist and Chinese doctor. I listened for hours and feel compelled to share a bit about current affairs regarding the pandemic through the lens of practitioners of Chinese medicine in the United States. 
I was fascinated to hear how hospitals in the city Wuhan and others in Hubei provence treated patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 cases. Because there were thousands upon thousands of cases,  Dr. Chen shared the protocols health care providers used under these circumstances. He generously provided herbal formulas from different pathogenic stages of the disease from a Chinese medical perspective.



As practitioners in the United States we are unable to access some of the herbs used in the various patterns that were described in his presentation. These herbs are either not approved for use, or they are in short supply due to the epidemic. Dr. Chen was very helpful in pointing out where we could help patients in preventative medicine and post infection care. What a gift to hear a Chinese doctor be a liaison and a beacon of information during these challenging time. 
Where I see my role as a practitioner is supporting the defensive stage. In other words, helping people stay healthy and strengthen immune systems. Each patient is unique so one formula or remedy will not apply to everyone, especially for patients who have underlying autoimmune issues, and pre-existing conditions.



 Many people have written to me asking what remedies to take now, how to stay safe and healthy. I will do my absolute best to offer resources with dietary information, theory and support in these weeks ahead. As many of you now know, I am not treating in person but I am scheduling half hour and hour long sessions on the phone and on Zoom. This is a more organized way to work for my patient's safety. 
I will use my blog as a platform to share many wonderful resources that I have at this time. I hope that this message finds everyone safe and well in these changing time. 
Thank you Dr. Chen for sharing your wisdom, generosity and research experience with all of us. 

Magnolia flowers photographed today.
Springs, East Hampton. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Art of Self Regulation in Turbulent Times.

In my healing work, the color yellow often shows up when there is an integration of new information and organization in the physiology. It is a color that also resonates with the Earth element in Chinese medicine. As we are approaching warmer days and more greenery, the first daffodil blooms are a welcome sight. Spring will arrive with buoyant and generous warm days and we will witness the return of the hummingbirds, the dolphins and the whales. 

Knowing that we are part of the natural rhythms of the seasons is important to revisit as we are being asked to separate, confine, go in and in many cases isolate. The natural flow of Spring which is expansive, is also moving, flowing upwards and fed by the sap of the new growth. 
At a deeper level, we are collectively being asked to mind our capacity to self regulate in a very unsteady time. This can feel confusing and challenging in our bodies. 

How does one even begin when we are feeling waves of sympathetic charge, fear and stress?
I have been gathering the most effective tools that I have learned and used in my own healing and regulation work and  I am offering them here through my blog with hopes that perhaps they may be of service to anyone who may read these forthcoming posts. 



Over the course of the past seven years, I have been studying the role of the nervous system in healing the physiology. Through the lens of Chinese medicine we might call this process the regulation of Qi and Blood. How our system pendulates between different energy states often determines how we maintain our health.

Firstly, we need to establish safety. My mantra is always 'safety first'. Once we establish this felt sense,  our systems can begin to down regulate into a more spacious and gentle place. Secondly, we find the most spacious place in our bodies that offer a felt sense of ease. It is from the ease that we can build towards more safety in the rest of our system. It is like a ripple effect.

Sometimes staying in this spaciousness is all we need to begin a natural flow of self regulation. 
I often include resources like scent, sound, weight on the body in the form of heavy blankets, support under the joints and behind the head. Sometimes a meditation recording, music or just the sound of the birds through an open window can inspire and guide our systems into our own personal rhythm. For those of you who already work with me in my private practice, this will be a review but also a reminder of how to allow a dropping into oneself and back into the spine and softening of the joints. 

Exercise, copious fresh air, good sleep, sunshine, hydration, herbal teas, and foods that are very simple and clean. The past two weeks have personally been the beginning of a cleanse marked by clear vegetable broths and greens like parsley and cilantro. These soups are easy to digest and move with the continuum of the softening of the Liver in Chinese medicine. The Liver and Gallbladder are governed by the Wood Element in Spring. 

Lastly, holding on to gratitude and compassion are essential. 
One of my dear and brilliant mentors Dr. Mario Martinez recently wrote a beautiful article that I will share here that reminds us to stay within these frequencies during adversity. 


I am also offering this gorgeous read during our collective rest and reorganization:

Teachings on Love 
by Thich Nhat Hanh

 This book is a tender reminder to stay gentle. When I read these words, not only do I hear his soft voice of kindness and goodness but I am also reminded to forgive, love and hold compassion and gratitude for myself first. Our healing of the collective essence, the earth and our future depends upon our capacity to heal ourselves with honesty and integrity. I believe this from the bottom of my heart. 

Because many of you who I work with are staying close to home to stay safe, in New York City, out of state, or out of the country, I am now offering half hour and hour long phone sessions and video conferencing sessions through the Zoom format. Please feel free to contact me to set up a time for a session. 
Stay posted as I add Spring recipes for Immunity, or in Chinese medicine what we call Wei Qi and for the nourishment of Kidney Qi. During adversity we need to attend to our Essence and be very kind with our thoughts and to our bodies. 

Wishing everyone gentleness and sending support during these changing times, 
with love, 
Maria





Friday, March 13, 2020

Transition into Early Spring and the Dao. Many Paths, One Center.

When we are in the midst of seasonal transition, I always love to revisit the Daoist translations and the work of Dennis Willmont. His work is rich and meaningful on so many levels. I look for the pearls, something to hold onto, even if it is for just a few savored hours of study and exploration. He has merged what feels like lifetimes of academic research into just one book and he has written so many! Thank you Dennis.
This particular excerpt caught my eye today, it is from the Embracing Dao section of the book title Many Paths, One Center, A Comprehensive Study of the Diodejing. (Volume 4 in the Daodejing Series)

"The idea of PROTECTION works on the PREVENTION level of HEALING where an alliance with the Principles of Dao is fundamental. Such an alliance is also fundamental in having FAITH in the ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE as the External provider of VIRTUE/EMPOWERMENT.

One who sincerely embodies VIRTUE is like a NEWBORN. Poisonous insects (that is, hornets and scorpions) and snakes do not sting it, fierce beasts do not prey upon it, and birds of prey do not spring upon it. -Daodejing 55."

"Now it is heard that he who is proficient in living LIFE meets with no wild buffalo or tigers in his tracks, and comes out of the MILITARY without SUFFERING from SHIELDS and WEAPONS. For him the buffalo finds no place for his horn, the Tiger finds no place to claw, and WEAPONS find no place to slay. What is the reason for this? Because he has no place for DEATH in him. -Daodejing 50."



The understanding that I take away from this translation is to seek and mind the middle path.  By walking alongside this construct, we are less likely to swing too far into one direction or to become injured. 
As Spring arrives, I have been taking pictures of the new flowers, making collages and reading. I observe the middle path of the natural rhythms and remain the constant and curious observer. 
Befriending this hibiscus flower again in bloom has brought me so much joy this week. The color, the vibrancy and grace,  the study of the anatomy, and to be held in its pink embrace.


These collages include my botanical illustrations, a dragon that I painted many years ago, my needlepoint and favorite reproductions from my grandmothers books. They are happy floral images and I wanted to include as many beautiful images in this post as possible. 


The middle lower center image is one of my sun prints, the bird image in the lower right hand square is by Tanya Wolfkamp, the needlepoint from a series that I completed this past Winter. 


The Hellebore above was taken in the afternoon light this week, here in East Hampton. This is the best light of the year because the leaves have not yet emerged but the sun is stronger and crisp. The bluebird was an extraordinary gift yesterday that made my heart sing. 

Wishing everyone the gifts of the middle path as we transition into Spring in these changing times. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Hawk Medicine on Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, New York.

These two beauties were together today. What a healing. And a gift. 
Something here about Yin and Yang, and finding balance on the branch of a maple tree. The hawk on the right was sharing its beautiful feathers as the wind blew across its chest. 
Magic like this feels rare and very special. 


Taken in the afternoon light of Springs, East Hampton.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Four Harbors Audubon Society Show

Tomorrow, Saturday the 15th is the opening reception for the Four Harbors Audubon Show. It will be filled with beautiful artwork by artists of Long Island. The show is at the Bates House in Setauket and the hours are from 1-3 pm. The show will be up until the 20 th. 


This year, I am showing this image of one of my Bald Eagles and it printed beautifully. I am pleased with the outcome of the image. I highly recommend the show as so much love and passion shines through the work. Today I got a sneak peak as I dropped off my piece. It is inspiring to see how so many creative eyes capture the beauty of nature. 
The site of the Bates House is also magical. 
Thank you Patricia Paladines for curating such a lovely event!
Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Beannacht by John O'Donahue

Today was a magical day. I was reunited with an eagle. It has been a while since there was an intimate exchange with these beloved beauties. I was happy all day to have had this special connection again, it felt like being reconnected with an old friend. 
Another old friend, even though we never met in person is  
 the theologian and scholar John O'Donahue. I have recently been reading every book, and poem, carefully and with great care. Savoring his words like dark salty chocolate that has a lingering  rich and generous flavor. 
It was fitting to see this beauty this morning and to come home to settle in with a Celtic poem by 
John O'Donohue. His writings on nature make my heart melt and this is welcome on the eve of gale force winds and January snow. 

 

This poem is one of my favorites. From his book Anam Cara
Please enjoy, and wishing everyone a fruitful year filled with much beauty and grace.

Beannacht

On the day when 
the weight deadens 
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance 
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you, 
may a flock of colors, 
indigo, red, green
and azure blue
come to awaken in you 
a meadow of delight. 

When the canvas frays
in the curach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home. 

May the nourishment of the earth be yours, 
may the clarity of the light be yours, 
may the fluency of the ocean be yours, 
may the protection of the ancestors be yours. 

An so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you, 
an invisible cloak 
to mind your life.