Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Goodness and the Spirit of the Po

The last of the Monarch butterflies can be seen as the light of the September fades. 
In Chinese medicine, we look at this time as relating to the element of Metal. (We have five elements/  phases also known as Wu Xing, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood). At this time the air is drier and more crisp and so it affects the Lungs and Large Intestine which are partner organs. Lung being the Yin partner while the Large Intestine being the Yang partner. 
The following correspondences relate to the element of Metal; the direction is West, the color is silver or white, the emotions are sadness or grief, the taste is pungent, the body tissues are skin and body part the nose. The animal associated with the Metal element is the horse, and the planet is Venus. When diseases manifest from the this particular element they may be seen on the skin and in relation to the body hair. 
Each element has its own Spirit manifestation. The Spirit associated with the Metal element is the Po. 
The Spirit of the Po, also known as the Corporeal Soul, has the capacity to transmute sadness into preciousness and great beauty. I have been thinking a lot about this specific spirit as we are now in transition, and I like to explore how we can transmute, cleanse and clear grief into beauty. 

In this time of year it is natural to feel a sense of loss as the trees are losing their leaves and falling to the ground. The peak time for the Lung is 3-5 am, so if we are waking with a feeling of sadness it may be that we need to focus on nourishing the Lungs. The large Intestine time is between 5-7 am. 
We may nourish this element by allowing the manifestation of precious things, and moments that uplift and bring us joy. According to the Suwen, 'Grief injures the Lungs, but elation overcomes grief'. 

I have been taking my camera on small trips and finding butterflies and dragon flies in abundance.These pictures were taken in Southampton, in a filed that is rich with wildlife and magical flowers.

                                                An iPhone was used to create the nine patch collage below. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nourishing Yin

 The topic of the month is nourishing Yin. So often in my practice, my patients ask me what is Yin and what is Yang? How do these principles apply to my treatment? How do I work with these aspects of Chinese medicine in my every day life?
These are very big questions with multi-dimensional answers. I am going to answer them from my own personal perspective. Please note that each practitioner of Chinese medicine will have their own definition and application of these theories...
Yin is the passive energy that is defined by contraction.  As the season shifts and we go into the darker days and cooler nights we are entering the Yin cycle within nature. The element is water, the organs are the Kidneys and the Bladder, the colors are black and blue. This is the time where we prosper if we simmer savory soups, make congees, roast root vegetables, drink hot herbal teas with Manuka honey, rest more, go in, sleep longer hours, honor the delicate needs of our bodies,  and nourish our deepest Essence on all levels.
My favorite source of inspiration for recipes and food suggestions for nourishing Yin is Paul Pitchford's  book Healing With Whole Foods. Yin foods tend to be more cooling, salty, descending in energy and by nature build blood and nourish fluids of the body.
Outside of Acupuncture and massage treatments, rest and seasonal diet modifications, creative activities   may also nourish Yin.
The balance between Yin and Yang will manifest as a more balanced Qi, or vital life force.

Yin is the energy that is governed by darkness, creative energy, passiveness, serenity, moisture, the seed, the quiet, cultivation of nutrition, the new beginning, softness, the feminine, our sweetest inner dreams that wake us up in the early morning where we say 'yes' before the day begins. 

Knitting, cooking, embroidery, wood work, meditation, resting by a fire, enjoying the close comfort of a best friend with tea, a nap under a special quilt, a rest in the warmth of the afternoon Autumn sun, the essence of the moon, a rich velvety congee,  a stew simmering  in a crock pot, the sweet smell of the most delicate flowers, the essence of earth, all speak to the energy of Yin. 

For me, the expression of Yin comes when I can take a beautiful picture of an opening flower, or seeing the sparkle of the sun light on water that translates into an opening of my Heart. Also,  being in the vastness of the open sea...with my camera, or experiencing a special moment in nature... touching the earth,
and  knowing that it will nourish me for a long while.

'The closer you can lie against the Earth, melting into the Earth, the better. You become nothing in order to be come something....Touching the Earth, you are able to reabsorb the vital source of energy  bequeathed to you by your ancestors.'

Thich Nhat Hanh

A Strange and Beautiful Visitor

This visitor appeared yesterday in the soft September light. 
The picture was taken as this small moth was resting on a window, it was taken from inside of the glass. I found it rather mysterious to see how the light came through the wings. 

Wishing everyone a sparkly week end.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The End of Summer

As the light and the colors are shifting with the seasons, the spiders are busy weaving their incredible webs and many of the berries are turning the most delicious shades of red and orange.
Before the warmth and the sound of the crickets slip away I want to share my summer snapshots.
All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone.

The anagrams below came from my grandparents farm house. They have been with me since my childhood. Just today I took them all out of the box and began to make words. They remind me of the  precious hours that I spent with my grandmother learning how to spell at the dining room table on summer visits.

Wishing everyone a happy September.