“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…)
*Image by the talented Jem Magbanua
When it comes to women’s sexual and reproductive health, attitudes matter. Our culture shapes the way we feel about our bodies and more deeply, how our bodies respond.
“Safe sex” in classical Chinese thought is sex that does not drain the body of needed energy and vitality, but increases it.
Chinese medical history is long and traverses time to places where cultural norms about women’s sexual and reproductive health were quite different.
New Year, New Resolutions.
That old chestnut.
In so many ways, the conditions are ripe for change at this time of year.
Often in January, we’ve taken a break, mixed up the routine, have satisfied our inner hedonist over Christmas and NYE in celebration over the last year and are heralding in the new.
We spent all our money, took time off, ate lots of food, drank and 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 people, 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 making changes such an effort, too difficult and eventually give up?
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.