Anxiety can be such so insidious. You can feel fine and then you’re hijacked by these paralysing and overwhelming feelings.
You can start to feel like you’re separating from your body, detaching from reality. A veil seems to descend between you and the world. Your mind and heart no longer feel safe and grounded.
You might even feel like you’re going to have a heart attack, pass out or die.
You develop a whole system of checks and balances nuanced to your particular flavour of control, all to avoid being triggered.
You become afraid of your anxiety returning and this creates a type of cage that you comfortably inhabit, because however restrictive, you deem it better than that anxious feeling. And this can work – it does keep things manageable – but sometimes you get stuck there and think it’s a forever thing.
But how to open the door? How to step out of the cage? (more…)
“Life is transformation. There is no life that is not an unceasing transformation.”
– Élisabeth Rochat de la Vallée
It’s the final month of our Winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. As we approach Spring we get closer to emerging from our Yin state and the building of Yang will initiate.
Yang is light, activity, movement, initiation, action, the doing. On a metaphysical, spiritual and cosmological level the most Yang manifestation of a human, the purest Yang aspect of our consciousness, is the Spirit or ‘Shen’.
Shen is translated as something which is divine, marvellous, extraordinary or mysterious. In recent times we call it the Heart-Mind. (more…)
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.“
– Lao Tzu
In July in the Southern Hemisphere we are in the depths of winter – that deep dark Yin place of stillness, hibernation and rest. The mysterious and all-pervasive impetus for growth has stilled. The soil temperatures are cool and flower buds that have birthed from their seeds are still just kernels of potential, waiting.
Winter can be hard for some peeps. It can get you down, especially if life has also thrown in some tough times or big changes. In winter it’s easier to descend into the deeper layers of consciousness (the sub and unconscious) to places where the script is written. There can be great fear and resistance from most to go there and experience it.
From a Chinese Medicine treatment perspective, winter is a very important season for rejuvenation and renewal. Daoist and Buddhist traditions (as well as many styles of psychology) would posit that it is from sitting with yourself, with a non-judgemental attitude and willingness to just see what’s there and be with it, that enables transformation and disintegrates old constructs. What is liberated provides the alchemical building blocks for the new.
If you’re the kind of person who struggles in the cold, each year you may wonder how to cope with winter in a way that is less defeating, more empowering.
Since water is the element of the winter season, I like to look to the wisdom of water for answers. (more…)
What is Yin?
Yin is a term that comes from the classical Chinese concept of opposite yet complementary forces, Yin and Yang. Yin is described as the “shadow side of the mountain” in relation to the sunny side, which is Yang. Yin is dark, cool and quiet, and so we often neglect the importance of Yin in favour of the hot, bright and loud Yang elements in life.
It’s an elegantly simple concept, yet Yin Yang can describe mind-bending complexities of the mechanisms of the universe. Its essence is encapsulated in the Yin Yang symbol. No matter how you try to dissect this circle, every slice will contain both Yin and Yang. (more…)
We all have trouble dealing with our emotions sometimes. Feelings that come up can have all sorts of stories attached to them. Stories we don’t like, feelings we don’t want to experience.
We hide what we feel, ignore it, feel shame and guilt about it, lie about it or blame other people for causing difficult emotions in us.
We also crave certain emotions that are considered positive: we want to grasp on to them, get addicted and attached to things, people and places which generate that emotional feeling.
This attachment to certain emotions can motivate our behaviour and make us feel out of control.
When it comes to emotions, perhaps we never really grew up. (more…)
New Year, New Resolutions. That old chestnut.
In so many ways, the conditions are ripe for it at this time. Often in Jan, we’ve taken a break, mixed up the routine, have satisfied our inner hedonist over Christmas and NYE in celebration over the last year & heralding in the new. We spent all our money, took time off, ate lots of food, drank & more. (Or was that just me??) Afterwards we naturally feel a little austere, it’s quiet now, people are away, business can be slower, school is out. We have the space to contemplate. We may be pumped to start our new regime and that’s great, but why do most, even if they make a strong resolution, tend to not follow through with how they want to change and grow? Why do humans commonly do that? Why can’t we move forward in the ways we want? Why do we find it such an effort, too difficult & eventually give up?
Stop the glorification of busy
In Chinese Med treatment, we always ask about your stress levels and how they are impacting you. ‘Stress’ is so incredibly prevelant in the inner city modern life that its considered normal.
So often in treatment when people really get some space from and perspective on ‘Stress’ EVERYTHING CHANGES for them. I mean in a good way.
So I ask..
Are you in control of your stress levels or is stress running you ragged?
Do you feel your heart, your head & your feet walking off in separate directions?
Stress is the conundrum of our modern lives and it is the number one underlying factor in so many chronic and potentially life-threatening complaints.
You are not alone, underneath are some helpful habits, which I’ve identified as the five Mindsets of the Chronically Relaxed. Truth is it is in reach for all of us and I can’t wait to see it showing up in clinic.
I just returned from a quasi-spontaneous 3-week working holiday in Japan. We went so as my son could meet his grandparents – my Japanese in-laws – for the first time.
Travel has always been one of my greatest teachers. It shifts perspective like nothing else.
It was our first international trip as a family and I knew it would be very different from my life-before-kid travels, that’s for sure (ie NOT snowboard, hot spring, sake, party, repeat). We spent more time in one place, moved slowly and integrated into Japanese family life. This allowed me to understand more aspects of the Japanese culture.
I was happy to discover lots of deeply echoed Chinese Medicine lifestyle advice and health promotion in Japan. Japanese daily life is rich in these guiding principles.
So here are 8 lessons I learnt from my Japanese in-laws during our stay. I hope you find these relevant and helpful.
This weekend is Winter Solstice, which means it’s the longest darkest night of the year. We’ve hit that ultimate yin phase of the year, now is the time to make like the bear and hibernate. What to do when Game of Thrones is already over?
Seasonally winter is the time to take to ground and REST,conserve, build strength, save money. Therapeutically this is the time where it’s going to be the easiest to restore your adrenals, re-balance your stress and sex hormones. Repair what all that flight and fight has done to your system or as Takeshi says (pictured underneath) sharpen your sword.
A great easy way to do that is..