Darkness into Light

This is my favorite time of year.  Not only does fall bring amazing colors in the landscape, but apple cider, squash pies, crisp air, and fall festivals.  My favorite festival of the year is the lesser known one of Samhain, which occurs on November 1st.

This is a Celtic born holiday.  Samhain is a Gaelic word which translates as “summer’s end.”   The Celts viewed the year as divided into two seasons: the light season and the dark season.  Literally the days are getting darker and shorter.  May 1st, Beltaine, is the beginning of the light season.fall-leaves-tree

The Celts felt it was very important to honor the opposing forces of light and dark.  They saw all of life in opposing pairs, the same way that the Chinese view life in their concept of yin and yang.  Light and dark, cold and hot, far and near, all of life can be divided into two categories: the dark or yin forces and the light or yang forces.

It is interesting to note where the Celts viewed this continual process starting from.  Their day began and ended at dusk; their year began and ended on November 1st.  Both of these cycles start with darkness.  They understood the world as springing from darkness, the way they saw their seeds needed time underground before they became  fertile plants.  Darkness was sacred because the old needed to die before the new could be born; there was a certain amount of incubation needed to produce life.

The Chinese have a similar view.  They too believe that the yin, or darkness, is what the yang must spring from.  There is always some aspect of both yin and yang in all things and in varying degrees and ratios.  However, if there is not enough yin available, life will not appear.  

Many times in our culture we do not appreciate the yin enough.  We see times of incubation as a nuisance; we see the darkness as something that needs to be cured or cut out.  What we fail to see is that the cycle starts in the darkness and without it the full beautiful life that we want to live would not be possible.  We want to believe that we can be in the womb for nine months and then go, go, go for the rest of our lives.  But this does not honor the interchange of yin and yang, the very cyclical nature that we are.  We will invariable have times of lower energy; the problem occurs when we do not honor the yin and instead push through.  This is what creates a culture addicted to caffeine and suffering from chronic fatigue.  The more we honor the yin and replenish, the yang will then have a base to spring forth.  

I always feel a lot of energy in the fall; I believe my body feels the yin time of year approaching and knows that soon it will fall into quieter energy patterns as the darkness envelopes us.  Understanding and listening to these cycles has also allowed me to appreciate winter.  I allow myself these quieter energies because I know that the darkness will eventually turn back into the light.

Hungry Thoughts

Someone pointed out that I often say, “I shouldn’t be hungry!”

Hunger

Which, if you think about it, is a very ludicrous thing to say.  

This statement points out that I believe that one day I will get to the point where I will no longer feel hunger or need to feed myself.  

And I will get to that point someday: when I die.

But for now, I need to eat and I need to eat more than once every couple of weeks because I am not a snake.  

And you may be thinking, of course you need to eat, this is silly.  But many people have these same kinds of thoughts about taking herbs:  

  • I just need to take this herbal formula once, right?
  • I took the herbs the practitioner gave me but nothing happened.  It must not have worked.
  • The practitioner gave me herbs and I took them for a couple of days but I got bored, could not remember, did not like the taste, etc and I quit taking them.  
  • Awhile ago I took an herbal formula; I should never have to take an herbal formula again, should I?

Chinese-Herbs-for-Weight-Loss

Herbs are food.  If you need food to live everyday of your life, it would stand to reason that you could use herbs everyday of your life as well, especially if the quality of life that you are experiencing is not what you want.  Herbs are superfoods, packed densely with quality nutrients.  When so much food is becoming denatured and void of nutrition, it is important to get it from high quality sources.  

I tend to be the kind of person that prefers to eat different things, not the same thing everyday.  Different kinds of food provide my body different compounds that it needs.  Just the same, different herbs give us different minerals and benefit different acupuncture meridians; so different formulas could be needed as the body’s needs shift and change.  

The only way to determine which herbal formula is good for your body at this moment is to notice what is happening and let your practitioner know what you are experiencing.  Your practitioner will be able to take your pulses and adjust your formula to give you herbs that will benefit your body where it is right now.  

Herbs only work if you take them, just like good food only nourishes us if we eat it.  We can think about leafy greens all we want but until we put them in our mouth, we are not getting their nutrients.  A practitioner may give us herbs but if we are not taking them they might benefit the container they are in but won’t do us a bit of good.  

Herbs, as a general rule, do not stay in the body for long periods of time.  If you are not taking your herbs in the recommended dosage and schedule that the practitioner has laid out for you, chances are you won’t notice them doing anything because they have not been able to reach the level in the body that is necessary to effect change.  

Herbal formulas may need to be taken for longer than the original amount given.  Practitioners tend to give small amounts in the beginning, maybe a weeks worth, to see how an herbal formula works for you.  It is important to check back in the time frame that a practitioner determines so that they can monitor how things are going.  A formula may be too strong or you may be experiencing issues that could be better served by another formula.  

Herbs can be a wonderful compliment to many different wellness and longevity plans.  But wait: do you hear that sound?  Yup, that is the sound of my stomach growling.  I need to go give it some grub with a side of herbs; because I do plan to live a long time!

 

Are you stuck in FIRST GEAR?

ARE YOU STUCK IN FIRST GEAR?

Imagine you are driving down the road with your gas pedal to the floor.  Your car runs great and gets you to where you need to be. All is good.

But then you look around and notice that everyone else is whizzing right by you.

Determined to keep up with those around you, you take your car into the shop and have the mechanic give it a good once-over.

The mechanic finds that while you have been getting to where you need to be, you have been doing so while driving in only one gear.  In actuality, he discovers that your car has an entire set of gears that have never even been utilized!

Many people live out their lives the same way; stuck in first gear and never living up to their full potential; not quite hurting, but definitely not at their best.  The problem is that while most people realize that they simply are not living up to par, they don’t know how to access their hidden gearbox to take their health to the next level.

These are the people that need to be under acupuncture care!

The old misconception that acupuncture care is just for those in pain or battling symptoms is quickly being exposed for the fallacy that it is.

Those who get the most out of their acupuncture treatments are the ones who take their care beyond the relief phase and work with their acupuncturist to maintain lifelong health and wellness.

The true essence of acupuncture actually has nothing to do with the treatment of pain and symptoms.  Acupuncture treatments remove meridian system blockages by detecting and correcting imbalances in the meridian system.  Symptoms are relieved as a byproduct of building a healthier body.

A blockage within the meridian system, ones that are continually out of balance, will never allow the body to run at maximum speed and efficiency.   The blockage and imbalance in effect acts as a governor on your body’s engine, limiting it to a certain speed that it can’t rise above.

You are not designed to sputter through life in first gear.  You are created to live all out at full throttle.  Settle for any less and you not only short-change yourself, but also those who depend upon you.

Your meridian system is housing a whole new set of gears that most of us never even tap into.  By unleashing the full scope of your body’s innate potential, acupuncture can help you take your health and your life to unparalleled heights.