Breathing with the support of stones

Stone musings.

During a recent workshop I danced barefoot and blindfolded in a dried out river bed. I’d been walking there on the days before, and I noticed a curious change under my feet. As I was blindly feeling my way along the ground, I was surprised by the unexpected softness I felt – like someone had smoothed the stones over night and for a moment that really puzzled me. Where I had carefully picked my way before I could now quite easily flow through them.

The blindfold stopped the visual distraction and dropped my whole body into listening & softening. And it struck me, how different my experience was, once my visual focus and analysis of the surface were gone… and how my body now met the ground in a receptive, instead of “estimating & controlling” sort of way. As I softened, I allowed the ground to inform me and my body responded with much more ease.

I’d come across the same principle before when mountain biking, but it was the surprising change of sensation of smoothness under my bare feet that brought my attention back to this realisation – How different life can feel when when we ease off and soften our response. When we take our focus away from where we are locked into struggle with details and tune back into our body to breathe and feel what we feel and then respond to it…

I know how the observation of too many details can hinder me finding flow and trust. Dancing blindly, I immensely enjoyed the strong presence of the stones and their amazing qualities. Small pebbles felt really playful as they bounced off my skin, the bigger ones had a comfortable weight, inviting a deeper breath into my body and creating a grounding foundation around myself as I stacked them all around me to feel into their solidity – being with the stones dropped me into a physical sense of what eternity must feel like for them. Solid trust.

(Later someone shared that) while we were dancing a fox came by to watch and peacefully groom himself, but then was chased away by a dog who’s owner came running and screaming after the dog… all the while I was with the stones, completely grounded and unfazed about what was going on at the edges of my experience.

I wish to remember and take more of this feeling of being deeply grounded with me into my life. So I took some stones with me to remind me when I need them to.

 

As practitioner I have a solid presence when I give Shiatsu treatments and at times I am the rock for my client and the futon is the riverbed of stones on which we breathe ourselves alive and find presence in our body. It allows us to get up with a new sense of solidity.

In TCM (Chinese Medicine) stones and autumn belong to the Metal element which also governs the lungs and skin, clear communication, judgement, boundaries and structure.

In Shiatsu, when ‘Metal’ becomes a focus, I often think of breath and boundaries and where they can help us to take in or let go, and when clear communication is needed in uncompromising moments – where we have to negotiate our position carefully and draw clear boundaries. Because the Metal element can be quite confronting and unforgiving, but it can just as easily provide stability and a solid boundary.

Navigating around stones needs careful negotiation with clarity and softness – when you move with stones you know quickly if you are in a space that welcomes your shape or not. The Metal element in Chinese Medicine forms connections through “clear communication” – no hints and guesses. But when it is quite out of balance, for instance in times of intense grief, we are often meet with a stony ‘silence’.

As a practitioner I use guided  breath work and body weight that can help my clients to connect with themselves again and find a clear sense of boundary along which we gently allow sensations to resurface again, sometimes with a sudden release of long penned up tears and anger – just like the river brings fresh life force back to the Glen when returning to the riverbed after a long period of dryness.

We can learn much from nature and the elements around us. My therapeutic focus lies on helping clients re-connect with Self and to find new ways of healing and expanding our capacity for sensations. In my Shiatsu sessions it starts with the solid support of my futon… 

Sat Nam and Blessings

Finding flow

 Yesterday I stumbled across this wonderful article about “non-doing” by Chip Richards which I would like to share with you here. You find the complete article about Wu Wei here:

 http://upliftconnect.com/wu-wei-ancient-art-non-doing/

Aligning with the Natural Flow of Life

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

 

A few mornings ago the surf was rising, so I drove down to one of my favorite spots at sunrise with the vision of catching some sweet waves before the world woke up and the water got crowded. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this idea. As the first rays lit up the ocean, I paddled out to find about 30 other surfers already out there. Instantly I felt behind, like I’d missed something. So I hit the water with a sense of urgency, trying to make up for lost time – paddling this way and that to dodge people, ducking under big waves, navigating currents and looking for my groove. But every wave I paddled for seemed to have someone else on it, or it broke too soon or too late for me to catch. The harder I tried, the more difficult it seemed to find my flow with the ocean… Until eventually I got so tired I couldn’t keep paddling – so I stopped for a moment, sat up on my board and just let the current take me.

 

Before long I had drifted away from the main peak where everyone was jockeying for waves, to a quiet little area where I was sitting all alone. Catching my breath, I started noticing the way the light was dancing on the water, the way the dawn air brushed against my face. As my lungs slowed down and I let go of trying, I started feeling good just being out there. Just feeling the ocean, and me in it. Right about that time, I glanced up to see the rising face of a beautiful wave picking up right before me.”What are you doing way over here?” I smiled, turning to meet it, stroked once or twice and popped up onto a clear blue wall that carried us both all the way to shore.

 

As my lungs slowed down and I let go of trying, I started feeling good just being out there. As my lungs slowed down and I let go of trying, I started feeling good just being out there.

Accessing Flow

 

Wu Wei is a Chinese concept central to Taoism and a core theme of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Translated literally as “non-doing”, Wu Wei is not so much about “doing nothing” as it is about aligning our movement with the greater flow of life. Often referred to as ‘natural action’, Wu Wei does not involve excessive effort or struggle, but a kind of “going with the flow” where we are able to move with the energy of the moment and respond freely to whatever situation that arises.

 

We each have moments in our life when we access flow. In these moments – through sheer focused intent or absolute letting go (or a combination of both) – we enter a state of connectedness to what we are doing, and our movements become simultaneously highly productive and effortlessly expressed. The world around us seems to slow down, and in that space, it is as if we become one with the very thing we are trying to do. The words pour onto the page revealing what to write, the waves of the ocean carry us and we are part of them, the rhythm of the song we are dancing to comes right through us… and becomes a pure expression of who we are.

 

While each of us catch glimpses of this state of flow in peak moments of movement, love and creative endeavor, we often believe that these extraordinary experiences are the realms of the elite, only accessed through miracle or mastery. But what if this sense of flow was actually meant to be our normal way of being – available to each of us in every moment? What if, beyond the many details and mixed agendas of our daily life, we each had direct access to experience a sense of oneness and flow everyday, no matter what we were doing?

 

When we look around at the world today, it seems there is so much to do. Amidst our striving for progress, personal achievement, and in some cases, survival, the idea of “non-doing” can feel out of reach. Fortunately, the essence of Wu Wei is simplicity and there are some simple things we can do (and not do!) each day to help us align with the natural flow of life.

 

Here are a few:

1.Spend time in nature – If our fundamental aim is to align with the natural flow of life, there is no better teacher and no better place to connect with this aspect of ourselves than in the natural world. When we step into nature (ideally without plastic-soled shoes) we plug into a Wu Wei world, where natural, generative, flow-filled systems abide on all levels. If there was a “practice” to discipline ourselves around in the aim of bringing more Wu Wei into our lives, being in, observing and connecting with nature would have to be one.

 

2. Give without condition – As we come into alignment with the natural world, we are reminded of the generosity that comes when living systems are in harmony with themselves and each other. A single seed produces fruit which feeds many and gives forth a thousand more seeds. The sun gives everything that it has without being drained. A river gives life each step and turn of the way as it follows its calling from mountain to the sea. One of our most natural expressions of flow we experience in life is to give freely to each other. When we allow ourselves to follow our spontaneous callings to give – even in small ways – we bring ourselves into alignment with the generous nature of life and (without trying or looking for it) open ourselves to receive in ways that we could not have imagined.

 

3. Let go of how we think it’s supposed to look – There may always be elements of our life that we consciously plan for, but every step along the way will invariably reveal passageways and possibilities that we could not have predicted. Sometimes our efforts to fulfill the plan and gain a predictable outcome shuts us off from seeing what other possibilities may be waiting to reveal. When we find ourselves struggling (as I did in the surf this week), often it’s because we have a fixed idea of how things are supposed to be, according to our desires or “the plan”. As we let go of our agenda and attachment to have it be a certain way, we open ourselves up to how it actually is… and in that space of acceptance, we become available for flow to find us!

If you’re in tune with The Way Things Work, then they work the way they need to, no matter what you may think about it at the time. Later on you can look back and say, “Oh, now I understand. That had to happen so that those could happen, and those had to happen in order for this to happen…” Then you realise that even if you’d tried to make it all turn out perfectly, you couldn’t have done better, and if you’d really tried, you would have made a mess of the whole thing. – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Sometimes our efforts to fulfill the plan shuts us off from seeing other possibilities.

 

4. Stay open to spontaneous emergence – One of the fundamental principles of Wu Wei is that the essence of flow is not premeditated, but arises spontaneously. We can play our part to create the right conditions, we can bring ourselves into the ocean, but we can’t make the waves. My family has a beautiful, well-planned veggie garden, but amidst our consciously planted rows of lettuce and kale, one of the most productive crops this season was an entire patch of pumpkins that rose spontaneously from the compost. As we take steps in any area of life, one of the great invitations Wu Wei offers is to remain open to what is emerges spontaneously (inside and out!). What whispered calling or fresh impulse may be giving us an opportunity in this moment to experience our intended outcome (and more!) in ways that we never could have planned.

What simple things can you “not do” today to begin opening yourself to the greater flow of Wu Wei in your life?

 

“Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.” – Lao Tzu

Nourish your body through the winter with Shiatsu massage and a kidney yin supporting diet and lifestyle

As many people are experiencing chest infections and low energy at this time of year, our kidneys are in need of good care now and during winter. Kidney energy is our main life force according to TCM and is depleted by cold. Kidneys ask us kindly to “go with the flow” and rest when needed. This is also a good time to schedule a regular Shiatsu massage to support your energy flow and make the right nutritional choices. Please find below a wonderful article on how to keep your adrenals well nourished throughout the coming winter. 

Key Foods to Build Kidney Yin Energy
By Anasuya Batliner, NC, Dipl. ABT, CST
Published in Nutrition Professionals Quarterly, 2004

“To nourish the Kidney is to become more and more connected to our own spontaneous impulses and the will to live.”
– Daverick Leggett, Recipes for Self-Healing

The key piece of nutritional wisdom is to focus on tonifying foods that moisten, along with some mildly cooling foods, and to resist a temptation to overdo cooling foods that may put out a fire that’s not as strong as it seems.


A wide and varied diet: Kidney Yin is about the deep reserves in the body including nutritional reserves. Suggest a varied diet that provides a broad array of vitamins, flavonoids, carotenes, trace elements, minerals, and amino acids. This is not the time to eat the same foods over and over again.

Water: Since Yin is about moisture, suggest ample water throughout the day. Simple hot water and fennel tea are great when you are cold or when you just had a meal.

Salty flavored foods: miso, sea salt, tamari, salted raw sauerkraut or kimchee (Korean cultured vegetables). Each of the five elements in TCM has a flavor attributed to it, and the Water flavor which governs Kidneys is salty. To support the Water element, recommend a healthy amount of salt, as too much salt will have the opposite effect. Check to make sure your client is not getting too much, and that she has replaced commercial table salt with sea salt.

Kidney shaped foods: black beans, kidney beans, most beans – Because beans are kidney shaped as well as seeds with potential for new life, these foods have long been considered especially nourishing to the Kidneys.

Blue and black foods: Blueberries, blackberries, mulberry, black beans – The colors blue and black correspond to the Water element of the Kidneys. It is possible to strengthen the Water element by eating blue/black foods.

Seafood: fish, shrimp, seaweeds – all support the Water element.

Seeds: flax, pumpkins, sunflower, black sesame – seeds relate to fertility and growth which is governed by Kidney energy.

Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts – Nuts are seeds. These nuts are particularly recommended for Kidney energy.

Animal Products: Pork, duck, lamb, eggs, cheese – Small amounts of animal protein can be used therapeutically here. Bob Flaws, L.Ac., author of The Tao of Healthy Eating says, “… animal foods are the most direct way to get the building blocks and constituents of this Yin essence.” Pork and duck are considered moistening. Since animal products are dense foods there are some cautions: If there is digestive impairment, the high fat content of duck may be too much. Lamb is the most warming of the meats, so if the person has a lot of hot flashes or night sweats, this may not be appropriate. Excess cheese may be too dampening for the Spleen. Too much meat, particularly without the balance of vegetables, will Stagnate the Liver and create heat. Look to the individual to decide on the ideal amount of animal products.

Bone-Marrow Broths & Soups: This will nourish Marrow governed by Kidneys. Especially beneficial for people wanting to prevent or heal osteoporosis.

Grains: Barley, Millet. These are both mildly cooling and nourishing to Yin.

Vegetables: Asparagus, Deep green leafy vegetables – Since it has diuretic properties, asparagus is especially helpful with opening the flow for those with dark, scanty urine. Deep green leafy vegetables build the Blood, and since Blood is a Yin fluid, they are highly recommended. Also moist vegetables such as cucumbers and celery are helpful.

Fruits and Melons: These are emphasized since they are moistening and mildly cooling. Too much fruit can be too cooling resulting in diarrhea, but 2-4 pieces of fruit a day should be fine.

Tonics: Spirulina, kelp, chlorella, wheatgrass – These mineral rich foods build the Blood which enhances Yin. They are also high in nucleic acids (RDA/DNA) which have been shown to reduce signs of aging.

Mineral rich herbs: Nettles, Oatstraw. Nettles is a gentle, cooling tonic that supports the Blood and Kidneys, while oatstraw strengthens the nerves.

Moistening herbs: Marshmallow, slippery elm, comfrey, aloe vera gel – these are all moistening demulcents with high mucilage content. Flax seed tea could be used here too.

Chinese Herbs: Rehmannia root – often found in the patent formula used for Kidney Yin Deficiency called “Six Flavor Tea Pills” or “

Expand your defintion of Health

danceExpand your definition of Health (inspired by Michelle Fondin)

 

When we think of health, we often refer to the physical body. If the body is strong and pain free, we declare that we are healthy. But if the body is experiencing aches and pains, or other indications of illness, we claim we are sick. Learning about and practising alternative therapies shifts this belief to an expanded view.

 

More Than a Physical Body

You are more than a physical body; you are more than a set of symptoms and outer appearance that includes your weight, height, and eye or hair colour. You are a complex, multi-faceted being with the ability to think, feel, create, connect, and influence your health on many levels.

If you want to experience optimal health at all levels, you must first embrace this concept. You must cease to consider yourself as having a frail body whose job is to keep you alive now, and degrade as you get older. If you think of yourself as just a body, you’ll panic each time you see another gray hair or wrinkle, or whenever you feel aches and pains.

Not only are you more than your physical body, you have a much greater impact on your health and well-being than you believe, once you make this shift in thinking.

 

Would You Buy a Home Based on One Room?

The principle of wholeness may be understood from the following example. Suppose you are in the market to buy a new home. You’ve decided on several different qualities that you look for in a home. For example, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking gourmet meals, and so a beautiful, useful kitchen is your number one priority. But you would also like a home with large windows, a decent-sized master bath, and four bedrooms, and it must be reasonably priced and located on a quiet street.

You explain your preferences to a well-intentioned real estate agent, however, he only hears the part about the kitchen and proceeds to show you a series of homes with terrific kitchens, paying no attention to your other specifications. No matter how grand the cooking space, if the house is too small or smack in the center of downtown, the kitchen will do little to make up for that.

Seeing health as related only to the physical body is the same as buying a house because of a single room. It takes many different aspects to compel us to purchase a home. A home is a big investment of resources and time. If we base the purchase on one aspect, we may find ourselves with big problems later on when we discover faulty plumbing, a tattered roof, or restricted closet space.

Like your home, your health is a big investment. Learning how to live life according to a holistic model requires an investment of time and money. But if you adopt the principles of Ayurveda, the payoff will immeasurably outweigh the cost.

 

The Wheel of Healing

The concept of the wheeloutlines the definition of health. The areas you need to include besides physical health are…

  • Emotional health

  • Spiritual health

  • Healing your past

  • Relationship health

  • Financial health

  • Occupational health

  • Environmental health

And the most important of all to consider is your Dharma or life’s purpose, which give you extreme pleasure, drive, and motivation to get and stay healthy. When you embrace and explore all of these aspects of health, you get to see the bigger picture just like walking through the house of your dreams.

 

Where to Begin

When working to regain health, most people will start with diet and exercise, and this may be a good place to start for you as well. But you may also need to start elsewhere in your journey to health. Let’s suppose you had a recent life-changing event such as a death in the family, a divorce, or loss of a job. In these cases, you may want to begin with emotional health or healing your past. Or perhaps you’re really struggling in your finances and you know it’s getting you down. In this case, you will begin with financial healing.

Since every aspect of your health is interrelated, you will find that when you begin healing one or two aspects of your health, some of the others will naturally fall into place. What you must remember, however, is that regaining balance is a constant journey, and you must be proactive to maintain long-term holistic health.

 

Integrating Holistic Therapies With Western Medicine

While it’s true that most of Western medicine only considers the physical body when it comes to healing, there’s no reason why you can’t integrate Alternative Therapies with your current healthcare. Many physicians are open to tweaking or modifying your treatment plans when you share that you’ve taken up meditation, have been doing some emotional healing, or are more active.

Even if you meet some resistance, know that by working on these different areas of your health, you are getting healthier. You will feel empowered and more in control over your own health. Your self-awareness will expand and your intuition will grow stronger. By experiencing a holistic vision of who you are your inner healer will emerge, and that is the essence of Holistic Healing.

Shiatsu and healing with the body clock

Shiatsu is so much more than a massage! Long ago, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) discovered that there is a “body clock” that is reflected in the energy meridians which are linked to different organs. Clients who love Shiatsu massage will tell you that they not only receive an amazing massage, but also learn about their body’s physical, mental and emotional symptoms and how to improve their health and wellbeing with simple lifestyle changes related to the body clock. 


The 24 hour clock is divided into 12 two-hour intervals of the Qi (vital force) moving through the organ system.
During sleep, Qi is drawn inward to restore the body. This phase is completed between 1 and 3 A.M., when the liver cleanses the blood and performs a myriad of functions that prepare the body for the Qi to move outward again.

The 12 hours
after the prime functioning of the liver (which would be from 3 A.M. to 3 P.M.) include the energy cycles of the organs associated with daily activity: digestion and elimination. These organs include the lungs, large intestine, stomach, spleen/pancreas, heart and small intestine.

After 3 P.M., the flow of energy again moves inward to support internal organs associated with repairing the system. The purpose of this is to circulate fluids and heat, as well as to
filter and cleanse. This time affects the pericardium, triple burner (coordinates water functions and temperature), bladder, kidneys, circulation/sex and the liver.

When one organ is at its peak energy, the organ at the opposite side of the clock, 12 hours away, is at its lowest ebb. For example, between 1-3 A.M., the liver reaches its peak, doing its work to cleanse the blood. At the same time, the small intestine (the organ responsible for the absorption and assimilation of many key nutrients) is at its lowest function.


What does this mean in real life application? For starters, it logically explains why you are taxing the system when it has to deal with late night meals and snacking. The body is not programmed to accommodate the modern habit of late-night eating habits and stimulation. When we eat late at night, food is not well absorbed by the small intestine (since it is resting) and the liver has little opportunity to do its job of housekeeping.


Why do we abruptly wake or feel ill at certain times of day?

The other morning I woke up at 5:26 A.M. from a nightmare about my teeth crumbling out of my mouth! Yes, I know that’s incredibly strange – a fun fact about me is that I have insane dreams that feel real, ALL the time. Once I had a dream that I was a horse. Literally. I was walking down the avenue by my house, just trotting on by, totally fine with the fact that I had four legs. Another time I had a dream that a teacher microwaved my tongue. I’ve never been normal, per say, so I suppose it comes with the territory?!

Anyway — the night I had the teeth dream I was a) dehydrated (drinking water is SO important) and b) constipated. TMI, but it happens to the best of us. I’m pretty sure (b) was caused by (a) because warm water with ginger and lemon upon waking did the trick. Regardless, both dehydration and constipation deal with the large intestine, which correctly lines up with the hours of 5-7 A.M. How fabulous is the human body? It is always leaving us clues in the forms of symptoms.

Our symptoms are our friends; they are the language in which our body speaks.

That’s why I love Chinese medicine… there are always charts and guides that allow you to translate these clues into the underlying issue.

As we discussed above, each “meridian” or organ system has a two hour period where they are the primary meridian. The meridians, however, are not
just related to organs. They are linked to thoughts and emotions, color, sound, seasons and other spiritual aspects as well. When the energy of a meridian is not flowing well due to a block (like stress or toxicity), you’ll find that you’ll experience a sign or symptom from the meridian involved (just like my nightmare/abrupt waking).

If you also find you are waking up at the same time each night, or falling into a slump around 3 P.M., you can look at the meridian at work and what may be happening with you. 


Here is a detailed list of the function of each meridian/organ system as well as the emotions that go with it. This is very important. Sometimes if we wake up at 3 A.M., it’s simply because we have a purely physical issue, i.e. the liver is not processing waste correctly or is hindered by gallstones. However, sometimes, the physical symptoms are manifesting because of an underlying emotion. The liver is heavily associated with anger, frustration, and rage; so if you’re waking up at 3 it might be because you’re holding onto toxic emotions that you must work through.


List of meridian functions from mcuniverse.com:

3am – 5am : Lung Time

  • Early stirring gentle breathing

  • Grief

  • Sadness

The toxic waste from your lungs becomes loosened between 3 to 5 am, and when you awaken, this is why you cough sometimes. Your lungs are trying to expel the loosened waste. If you are coughing in the morning, this indicates that your diet and lifestyle needs tweaking in order to reduce mucus and toxicity. Feeling ill at this time can also be an indication of deep grief that must be dealt with.

5am – 7am : Large Intestine Time

  • Rising and defecating

  • Guilt

  • Stuck

  • Defensiveness

To get the day off to a good start, give yourself enough time early in the morning to honor the normal elimination function of the large intestine. The morning is the most important time to drink plenty of water and the worst time to have caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and takes water away from your colon to the kidneys and bladder for evacuation, but your body need water in the morning to keep up its repair and maintenance of the large intestine and colon. If you are feeling bad at this time, drink lots of water. Drinking plenty of water at this time keeps you from getting constipated, gaining weight, looking and feeling older and improves your overall health. From an emotional perspective, you may need to let go of guilt.

7am – 9am : Stomach Time

  • Healthy eating

  • Disgust

  • Despair

Now the flow of energy moves to the stomach stimulating hunger. You are encouraged to eat a hearty, healthy breakfast and thereby producing good amounts of long-lasting energy. Eating larger meals of the day early delivers nourishment to the small intestine when it is strongest, which aids absorption and assimilation. Issues during this time may mean that your stomach is too cold (especially since we as a Western society love salads, ice water, and smoothies!) Be sure to drink ginger tea to nourish the stomach.

9am – 11am : Pancreas/Spleen Time

  • Thinking and working

  • Jealousy/Worry

  • Low Self-esteem

TCM considers the Spleen the most important digestive organ, so even a late breakfast will be digested easily. On the other hand, this is also the time when allergies can show up the strongest because the Spleen is busy working with the Liver and your immune system. A healthy spleen produces antibodies when there is an infection and constantly watches the blood for invaders. Illness during this time can mean your spleen is deficient, or you are worrying/having self esteem issues. The spleen is aided by cinnamon and licorice tea.

11am – 1pm : Heart Time

  • Meeting talking and eating

  • Joy

  • Frightfully Sad

Don’t overtax your heart at this time. You may sometimes notice a rapid heartbeat, double beats and/or skipping beats during this time period. Research shows that seventy percent of heart attacks occur during this time frame. Being full of joy, enthusiastic and restful makes the heart stronger, whereas the opposite emotions of saddness and gloom weaken the heart. Doing anything heat inducing during this time is not good for optimal heart health as the heart has an aversion to heat according to the TCM. 

1pm – 3pm : Small Intestine Time

  • Sorting and organizing

  • Insecurity

  • Vulnerable / Gullible

  • Feelings of Abandonment

Have you noticed that between 1 to 3 pm you are more apt to have indigestion, pain and bloating? This shows a problem with your small intestine. Are you feeling insecure, self doubt, or abandoned? Do you have leaky gut? Bone broth soup can work wonders for gut issues and malabsorption.

3pm – 5pm : Bladder Time

  • Storing and reserving

  • associated with the Skin

  • Irritation

  • Timidity

At this time you may notice that you are tired and want a nap. Salty foods strengthen the Bladder, so drinking a cup of savory miso soup or nutrient-rich broth would be beneficial at this time.

5pm – 7pm : Kidney Time

  • Driving and consolidating

  • Fear

  • Terror

The feeling of being tired and wanting a nap could continue into this time frame. On the other hand when the Kidneys are healthy and working properly, you will feel energetic at this time and not tired. The kidneys are aligned with the adrenals, the glands that produce cortisol to help us spring out of bed in the morning. Early morning, from 5-7 am, is when kidney energy is weakest—a reason that people with depleted kidney energy often have trouble waking up to a new day. The kidneys are aided by hot water and fennel tea.

7pm – 9pm : Pericardium, Circulation Sex Time

  • Associated with the brain, including the pituitary and hypothalamus and the reproductive organs

  • Socializing and flirting

  • Unresponsive

  • Hurt/Extreme Joy

  • Inability to Express Emotions

  • Depleted

Between 7 to 9 pm do you have intense cravings for sweets or processed carbohydrates that turn to sugar immediately in the system? The reason is because the Kidneys regulate the Pancreas, and if you do consume sweets during that period, you may notice lower back pain, which is a kidney symptom. The kidneys, bladder and pancreas are all parts of the same whole. If you need a nap early in the evening it is just your pancreas, as directed by your kidneys, putting you out so it can do its repairs.

9pm – 11pm : Triple Warmer Time

  • Associated with the Thyroid and Adrenals

  • Controls Metabolism

  • Energy Transfer and Regulates Temperature

  • Relaxing and Chilling

  • Hopelessness

  • Confusion, Paranoia

The Triple Warmer governs Blood Vessels and Arteries. From 9 to 11 pm the blood vessels go into repair mode. If you get headaches, feel abnormally tired or weak, this means that the blood vessels are in heavy repair.

11pm – 1am : Gall Bladder Time

  • Sleeping and regenerating

  • Bitterness

  • Resentment

(Related to liver, see below) 

1am – 3 am: Liver Time

  • Deep resting and dreaming

  • Anger

  • Frustration

  • Rage

The Liver and Gallbladder spring into action between 11 pm to 3 am. Do you ever have nights when you can’t sleep at this time? This means that waste is not being processed by your liver and it acts as an irritant to your body causing insomnia and frayed nerves. Your brain just won’t stop. You may need to deal with unresolved anger and grudges towards others.

source: healingqigong.org

Understanding that every organ has a repair/maintenance schedule to keep on a daily basis offers you the opportunity to learn how to treat yourself for improved health and well-being. It also allows you to identify exactly which organ system or emotion needs strengthening/resolving. Always use your symptoms and body cues as a guide, and if you make a connection above, such as that you get sleepy between 5-7pm, don’t hesitate to research what you can do to strengthen that meridian (which would be the Kidneys). Make sure to look at the emotional aspect too. If you’re sleepy during kidney time, do you have any fears or unaddressed issues that stress you? What are you afraid of? Addressing this emotion will strengthen the organ and improve your physical health long term.

In my Therapy sessions I often use a combination of Shiatsu – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnotherapy to help heal the body from stress and traumatic experiences in a safe supported space.

 

 

Touch could properly be regarded as a form of nutrition.

Today I feel very 3968719105_454fb4cb78_o-22inspired to share a very insightful article on touch and its importance (and sadly often its lack) in our lives. When thinking of massage very often it is regarded as luxury pampering or reserved for treatment of injuries or when we feel under a lot of stress. But our human body needs regular physical touch for healthy physical development, mental & emotional well-being just as much as we need our daily nourishing food and clean air to survive and thrive.

 

We mistakenly think that touch occurs on the periphery of our self, a skin thing. But truthfully each surface stimulus travels far into the most hidden interior landscapes of our self, traversing long nerve cells right through the buried spinal core to enter and gather in the deep folds of our brain. It’s not by accident that our skin and brain each are generated from a single ectodermic substance, cascading outwards and inwards as we grow in the womb, because right at the very root and origin of us, we are built to connect the inner and outer worlds.

The necessity of nurturing touch is very clear when we are at our youngest. Without it, young children wither and even die, though they are provided with food and medicine. Slightly older children typically find ways to build a huge, varied diet of touch into their lives. From, at the rough end of the spectrum, tumbling unexpectedly onto their parents’ shoulders, rolling on the floor with siblings, wrestling with friends, to cuddling, sitting on knees, being carried, stroked and gently soothed at the other. Children actively shape their sense of self, not just mentally, but with their hands, elbows and knees, their bellies and mouths, inside the frequency, textures and intensities of this constant, rich field of contact.

 

As we grow up we exchange this banquet of physical contact, all that rough and tumbling rolling around for…. Well, often for very little.

 

For most of us, growing up coincides with a reduction in the range and quality of our tactile life. Our diet of nurturing physical contact thins out, narrows down. Ask yourself how your tactile day went today?

In fact, if we do assign a nutritional value to touch, it is clear that many, perhaps most adults, regardless of whether they are alone or in partnership, suffer from significant degrees of starvation in this arena. While some adults participate in contact sports or practices, seek out massage or physical therapies, most do not. While some adults have relationships that offer them a range of healthy touch, including but not confined to sexual, most relationships do not. Instead, we have a state of widespread tactile famine, a malnourishment that is so entrenched as normal we cannot even see that it exists.

 

We participate in this under-nourishing of the body in many ways. The abundance of touching we once offered to others, for example, soon becomes rationed out, reserved for appropriate moments with appropriate people. Unlike the sometimes chaotic, improvised and spontaneous interactions of children at play, almost all of these moments, a handshake, a friendly hug, a pat on a colleague’s back, are highly stereotyped too, habitual and fairly unconscious exchanges of brief physical contact. Most of these moments also require a highly muted intensity. Sex therefore, for many adults, whether regular or infrequent, loving or casual, ends up carrying the entire burden of our need for intense nurturing touch. It’s a heavy task it often fails at.

 

Equally, our ascension into adulthood is often accompanied by the acquisition of goods and services that reduce the tactile shock of the world on our system. Comfortable furniture, convenient transport over smooth highways, and clothes and shoes that protect us from bumps or holes in the land or temperature: all conspire to soothe and dull the senses, especially touch. We are not numb, but we have arranged the world to induce a kind of torpor compared to what we could experience.

 

Touch cannot be talked about in polite society. No index of well being seems to have measured it. But sometimes the absence of touch is acknowledged by proxy. Loneliness is one of its stand ins. Loneliness has many dimensions, but the absence of being held, stroked, touched is surely one of its most painful characteristics. The UK has a particular crisis here, coming 26th out of 28 European countries in a survey of who has neighbours or friends to turn to. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, lacking social connections has the equivalent on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

 

The loneliness which blights the last years of so many elderly people in our culture is based just as much on a physical deprivation as an emotional one. Two fifths of elderly people report that the television is their main company. And we know that loneliness can kill just as assuredly at this end of life as physical isolation killed at the beginning end. Solitary elderly people are almost 50% more likely to die early than those who have family, friends or community.

 

We could talk about poverty of touch just as validly as poverty of wealth, and although this is not confined to this area, frequently the two go together. Walk around a poor estate, and along with cramped and frayed housing, you will see many people, perhaps adults more than children, for whom reliable and consistent nurturing touch is but a memory, a yearning, perhaps an inflamed wounding, rather than a daily sustaining occurrence.

 

 

Individually and collectively, we need to recover a world that will nurture us, build a society that will sustain rather than erode us. Social and economic policies that prioritise real human need are priorities. But part of this task will also be to regenerate the possibilities of healthy nurturing touch in our lives and in our culture.

There are many reasons to think this is possible, because a good half of the work here is to simply pay attention to our already existing tactile experience, and to edge it forward just a little. As we pick up the mug of tea, we notice the weight and shape, the particular balance between strength and delicacy the porcelain has achieved, the contrast between the experience of the fingers and the experience of the lips. We can ignore the signs, step off the path and walk on the bumpy grass, among the trees, trail a hand across its trunk. We can once more hold our partner’s hand with some portion of the attention we brought to the miraculous first time we felt those fingers wrap around ours.

John Tuite

Centre for Embodied Wisdom


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In my solution focused one-to-one therapy sessions we are working with the unconscious mind, addressing issues you want to change exactly there, helping you transform negative behaviour patterns into a positive solution. I am combining Hypnotherapy NLP, EFT & Life coaching, tailoring towards and tuning in to each client,  in all areas of stuckness, assisting you with the changes you look to make.

Trauma therapy, Fight, Flight & Freeze… how to stop running away from the tiger

Animals shake trauma out of their body naturally. Unfortunately humans often get stuck in the fight/flight or freeze response since uncontrolled crying/shaking or tantrums are socially not acceptable and so since childhood we have learned to suppress them. But what emotions we suppress eats our energy and finally makes us ill. – Depression, Anxiety, Sleep disorder, Chronic Fatigue, to name just a few. Over the past year my therapy journey has increasingly focused on trauma release. And one of the most important things I learned was that working with the logical level does not help. We need to work with the emotional charge in the physical cells, the unconscious animal body that at all costs tries to survive. So how do we bypass the conscious brain? There are many techniques. The one’s I am using are NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Hypnotherapy, combined with Shiatsu (Acupressure) and Somatic body work/Emotional release techniques, supporting clients during trauma release (grief, fear, sexual abuse etc).

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One of the most important things I’ve learned is that working with the logical level of the mind does not help. We need to process the emotional charge of trauma on the unconscious, the physical cell level – because it is our unconscious animal body that runs the survival program – at all costs, even if it is exhausting the body to the core it intention is to be safe, to survive. So how do we bypass the conscious brain to work with the unconsciousness? There are so many practices available. They all have the aim to integrate and heal, may it be Shamanic Healing, Reiki or Meditation. I am using NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Hypnotherapy, combined with Shiatsu (Acupressure) and Emotional release techniques, supporting clients during trauma release (grief, fear, sexual abuse etc). Our animal body needs to know it is safe first of all – then we can teach it different behaviour patterns and create new beliefs.

And animals and consciousness is a good subject. In their own way they are superior as they do not judge, they are in the present moment. When our human consciousness arises it separates us from the environment. It’s the “I”, the ego, that learns to fear, to contract and control. How do you let go of this control and allow the universe to hold you? How do you wake up from a victim state when you don’t know you are in this story of blame and wanting to control? How do you return to the universal flow when our unconscious mind runs the show? About 98% of our action is driven by programs learned in our early childhood or even before – ancestral Qi … How do you know that it’s your limiting beliefs and perceptions that create the world around you… the path to awakening and COMPASSION for ourselves is a slow and windy one…

I have now “stumbled upon” a wonderful Shiatsu/TCM (Chinese Medicine) focused trauma workshop and I’m so looking forward to bringing this focus even more into my body work, freeing the instinctive animal body of old trauma and help it to find new zest and joy for life.

When releasing old trauma and related behaviour and belief patterns you can often experience a completely new outlook on life, a heightened sense of peace and calm and at the same time a new lease of energy and aliveness, as the stress reduction helps freeing up the body’s energy and helps us find more empowered ways of dealing with life’s challenges.

Shiatsu massage & Contact Improvisation – Body awareness and listening touch

When giving Shiatsu, or ‘moving meditation’ as I call it, I move with my body and the body of the receiver in mindfulness and presence. I respond to my client’s body, allowing the massage to unfold naturally, intuitively, touch by touch, movement by movement. It’s like turning the page of a fascinating book, or walking through a new landscape. I never know what the next step or page will bring. The landscape and story unfold in front of my eyes, under my hands and feet as we move along. With as much depth as you and I are able to be present with and to receive.

 

Every session offers the chance for a profound meeting, a dialogue between you and your body. I am merely the facilitator of that meeting. I am here to be present, to meet your body, soul and spirit where you are and to move with you. I am here to help you feel your own body and to help you listen to it.

 

A key moment of my training as a therapist was taking up Contact Improvisation dance classes when I was in the second year of my Shiatsu training. I was a good ‘giver’ of massage then, but I did not quite know how to listen with my fingers and my body whilst giving massage. I did not know how to ‘sit’ with stillness as my head kept asking: What now? What to do next? Where would this go? Feeling anticipation, the urge to move, to do something… being uncomfortable with not knowing what to do next.

 

And during Contact Dance sessions I sat with exactly the same questions and discomfort – in long moments of suspense… until I started to realize that this really was the key! Sitting with ‘not knowing’. Sitting with emotions, thoughts and judgements. While learning to relax and to listen and resisting the urge of wanting ‘to do’. Stepping back and allowing myself to simply observe and to drop into a sense of trust instead.

 

Awww, and what a relief it was when I finlly discovered trust! Trusting that by allowing space, something would shift eventually. And to my amazement, every time, when the process unfolded naturally, it would do so effortlessly!

 

A movement rising out of stillness has a sense of ease and effortless flow… It requires no action or knowing. It requires only emptiness, to stop being the “do’er” and become the listener, the witness, as the process unfolds. And I vaguely remember a quote by Aristotle:

The aim of every movement is stillness, because at the end of each movement, something has to remain.”

 

Just like the principle of Yin and Yang… the cycle of birth and death. Energy never disappears but transforms, and it is within this process of transformation that our Shiatsu journey unfolds. I don’t know where it will take us. But I always know when we have arrived. At the end of it, we always find a deep sense of stillness.

Give a Christmas present with presence ~ a healing massage connecting mind & body in deep stillness

Many of my friends speak about a need to turn inwards, be silent and recharge, as we turn the corner and move, once again, into lighter times… Keep yourself  warm with lots of touch, spicy food, soaking up the sunshine whenever possible, dancing, massage, and togetherness with friends.

If you’re still looking for Christmas or New Years gifts my therapies are beautiful offerings and especially great to give to people who ‘have it all’, and when you don’t want to add more ‘stuff’ to your life…

During a deeply transforming ‘Water dancer’ workshop I spent a whole day immersed in a warm hydro pool, connecting to the nourishing energy of water, releasing the spine, working with fascia and emotions. I’m bringing that deep sense of stillness and peace into every one of my massage sessions, allowing your body to release and connect with the healing energy of water, our main life force. We all spend the first 9 Months of our life floating in warm water in the womb. About 70 percent of the human body is made up of water and, coincidentally, more than 70 percent of Earth is covered in water.

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In Chinese Medicine the Water element governs Winter. This time of the year is the perfect time to work with water energy and the organs related to it – Bladder and Kidneys. They provide us with will power, with the ability to pace ourselves and a sense of being able to ‘go with the flow’, so we don’t exhaust ourselves.

Low water energy can cause a cold lower back, lower back pain, dark rings under eyes, an energy dip in the late afternoon 3-7pm, recurrent cystitis and a feeling of exhaustion…

If that is you I invite you to rest in the afternoon, have early nights, drink hot water, fennel tea, avoid caffeine and sugar. Choose a good Vit C and Zinc supplement to nourish the kidneys. Keep your feet & lower back warm with a hot water bottle at night and treat your body to a healing and nourishing massage. – If you don’t look after your body, where are you going to live?

PS: And maybe you can think of someone who really needs time to relax and reconnect with their body, to re-energize and find a sense of peace and calm this Christmas. Gift vouchers for all my therapies are available to make a wonderful nourishing present full of presence.

Email or call me for more information. Enjoy Christmas and look after yourself and the people around you with a sense of joy, gratitude, love and presence. These are by far the best gifts you can give.