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Ahhhh-choo!!

GRRRRR…

Owwww….

These are a few of the sounds you may be making as we move into Spring.  In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) this is the season of the Liver.  If you are experiencing any of the issues below, though they can occur at any time of year, they may be more pronounced as we move into this time frame.

Headaches/ body aches and pains:  In TCM language, we would call this STAGNATION SYMPTOMS – pain that feels like pressure, tightness or restriction.

Muscle Stiffness: The Liver and its associated system, the Gallbladder (the Yin and the Yang) bring nourishment to the body’s connective tissue including tendons, muscles and ligaments. If you are feeling more tension and tightness this is often believed to be arthritic symtoms when it could well be a sign of Liver imbalance. These feelings may feel exaggerated as we move into spring.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve- more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.

Irritation/Frustration: These two emotions are associated Gallbladder imbalances and go hand-in-hand with the physical stagnation that can take place causing a feeling of ‘stuck-ness.’ You may feel yourself clenching your jaws more than normal, stiffness in the shoulder muscles, etc.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve-  more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.  The Gallbladder kicks in with the feelings of frustration.

Digestive upsets: For our digestive system to run smoothly, the Liver needs to maintain a balanced flow and consistent movement throughout the body. Add to this the brain-gut connection and if you are more more stressed out than usual, the digestive function takes a hit as well.  KEY HERE:  Don’t eat when you are angry or upset – turn OFF the TV (especially if you are watching the news).

Vision/Eye imbalances:  The sense organ relating to the Liver is the eyes.  Any issue here is typically attributed at least in part to a Liver imbalance. This includes poor vision as well as eye pain and fatigue and dry eyes.

Acupressure can come to the rescue in many of these imbalances. There are two key points that can be used to address  many of the issues listed above. They are LV (Liver) 3 and LI (Large Intestine) 4 and are referred to as the ‘Four Gates’.

LV (LIVER) 3:  located on foot between first and second toes in front of bone convergence. This is the source point of the Liver meridian – like a ‘hub’ – where primordial qi (source of life) from particular organs gathers to be distributed throughout the rest of the body.  This is a ‘go-to’ point any time of year to release stagnation throughout the body and because of it’s connection with spring, even more so now. Press often and firmly.:)

LI (LARGE INTESTINE ) 4: located in the webbing between the thumb and index finger, with pressure slightly up underneath bone of index finger. (Do not use when pregnant – can induce labor.)This point is helpful for allergies, headaches, hay fever, and general pain in upper body.

daisy-ladybug

Some other tips for a healthy Liver:

* Consider a cleanse (check with your doctor) or at least add sipping lemon water to your schedule every morning and even throughout the day.  Lemon helps to not only cleanse our system and remove toxins, it also alkalizes the body, a key component of good health.

* Limit intake of unhealthy fats as this puts a lot of stress on both the liver and the gallbladder.

* Increase consumption of fresh leafy greens, fruits and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) – and organic whenever possible.  Also fruits that are high in fiber such as apples and pears.

* Dandelion tea would also be a nice addition as it helps to detox the body and promote bile production.

* STRETCH & BREATHE!! Consider practicing yoga & meditation to release pent up anger and frustration. (Click here for class schedule or to learn more about sage butterfly yoga.) Also, get out in the fresh air and nature daily even for a few minutes to ground and refresh your spirit.

* Do your best to not SIT too much. This not only affects our digestive system, but also our lymph system.  If you are in a desk job and/or have a long commute or many hours in your car, schedule some time every hour to stand up and move around. This is absolutely essential for the health of our whole being – not just the liver.

****  And lastly, and perhaps most importantly (in any season), stop long enough several times a day to notice the miracles within and around you – everything from the blossoming of the trees (and your ability to see them), to the sound of the birds singing (and your ability to hear them) and your heart beating and connecting you to this amazing gift of Life.  Now. And now. And now…

Chakra Balancing Meditation to Release Feelings of Anger

We can hold anger in any of our energy fields for various reasons, for instance, in our throat chakra if we feel unheard or stuck as far as self-expression. Or in our heart chakra if we are having a difficult time either giving or receiving love. Each of the fields can become blocked due to these emotional states. This meditation will help to alleviate the stagnation and invite in a free flow of energy from root to crown.

Chakra Balancing to Release Anger

guru-allchakras

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Pivotal Moments

Has anything ever happened along your life path where you can look back and recognize that a single event, conversation or random choice completely changed the course?

One such occurrence stands out for me really strongly. I was visiting Taos, New Mexico with my ex-husband. (Well, he was still my husband at that point haha. THAT’S a whole ‘nother blog.);) Anyway, we had been living in Nashville, Tennessee and while we both liked it there, we knew it was time for a change and Taos was one of the options we had in mind. When we arrived there, as beautiful as it was, we both knew inside that this was not the place we were to relocate.

The other option that we were considering was Port Townsend, Washington. So, sitting in a café in a courtyard in the middle of the village in Taos, we both agreed – that was indeed the place for us. Just then the waitress arrived with our beverages and as she placed them in front of us, she smiled and asked where we were visiting from. We looked at one another and told her, “Well, currently we live in Nashville, but we are moving to Port Townsend, Washington. SHE says, “OH! I love Port Townsend!” We looked at each other again, thinking, “Wow, what are the odds? Here we are in Taos and she is familiar with this small town in Washington?” Then she adds, “But have you also considered Bellingham?” At that point neither of us were familiar with Bellingham but the thought was implanted and we both agreed, perhaps before making a final decision we should check it out as well. And so we did. As well as Birch Bay. AND that is where we ended up relocating.

SO. If that particular waitress had not been working that day OR we had not stopped for a drink, our entire future could have been quite different. Not to mention life stories of everyone we have met and therefore influenced in some manner along the way.

Those kind of things just blow me away. The reason I am sharing this is because we are on Third Eye chakra this week in yoga class – our seat of perception and inner guidance. Often along this path of life it may feel that certain goals and aspirations are not panning out. But if we can remain open to the ‘Inner Guidance” that can come in many forms, (like a waitress in a café in Taos), we will know that we are exactly where we are meant to be every step of the way. Even if it appears foggy and ill-defined or we have what may feel like too many options from which to choose, when we drop down into our heart and KNOW that it’s all perfect, the stepping stones will indeed appear. Messages from God and the angels can manifest in many different forms so being open to the unexpected is a very good idea. And one day you will look back and think, ” Ahhh. Now I get it.”

Coming into this ‘state of mind and heart’ is not always easy so I want to share with you a little prayer/meditation both  audio and written form called, “What If…”

Click here for audio meditation.

What if just for today
… you released worry.
… you lived your life moment by moment.
… you allowed yourself to see things through the eyes of a child.
… you knew that all is indeed well.
… you let the miracle of your breath carry you gently forward.
… you trusted that angels are surrounding you with love and guidance.
… you opened to the magic that happens when you live from your heart.
… you believed that you are a blessed child of God, more loved than you could ever imagine.

What if… you repeated these statements EVERY day.

Namasté.

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that  the general population is experiencing a Spleen imbalance.  Do you agree?  Well, let me elaborate…

Among other tasks, the Spleen (Spleen/Pancreas) in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is the organ system that processes and transports the energy of the food we eat to create Qi (energy) and blood, thereby nourishing the whole body. It purifies  and  manufactures the blood and keeps it  inside the vessels. (If you bruise easily or have bleeding gums, blood in stool, etc this would indicate an imbalance in the Spleen arena.) and in a healthy state, prevents organ prolapse.

When out of balance from an emotional perspective there is WORRY. (Anyone out there relate to worry??) One of the primary functions of the Spleen (along with it’s paired organ, the Stomach) is digestion – not just of food, but also the endless stream of thoughts and outside interactions and distractions that we ‘digest’ every day. An imbalance leads to a sense of not having enough… be that of love, food, money or any other commodity, hence, the tendency to look outside of oneself  to alleviate this sense of lack. Just ONE more cookie… ONE more drink…. ONE more pair of shoes…

And where this is also becoming blatantly apparent is in our desire to fulfill relationship connections – by looking to the outside world through digital technology. Endless texting, emailing, Facebooking (is that a word?) is shown to be actually ‘rewiring’ our brain and in so doing, diminishing our capacity to focus.

When we realize that this kind of ‘satisfaction’ will never be quelled by outside sources and that a true sense of peace and inner fulfillment can only come from within, this is a huge first step to recovering balance.

There are a few things that we can do to proactively initiate this process. Acupressure, sound (toning) and meditation are highly recommended for ushering in equilibrium. I will share some ideas that you may wish to include in your daily ‘repertoire’ of activities.

ACUPRESSURE:

This is such a simple, powerful practice that opens pools of energy located just under the surface of the skin, inviting a more elegant flow of Qi (energy) through the channels of our body.

Here is a point that can bring balance to the Spleen: SP 4 “Grandparent/Grandchild”
Located on the arch of the foot in the dip below the first metatarsal bone, about one thumb’s width from the ball of the foot.

This is a key point in alleviating worry as well as indigestion (another ‘symptom’ of worry) and foot cramps. Using the acronym “BPI” (breath, pressure, intention) press gently and then with increasing pressure as you breathe deeply with full awareness on the point. Hold for between 1 and 3 minutes. (This point can also be accessed by rubbing the ball of the opposite foot or your heel on the area – massaging back and forth.)

spleen4

SOUND:

We are vibratory Beings. The healing capabilities of sound are simple, non-invasive and powerful. As Jonathon Goldman, wonderful author, musician and sound healer states, “Frequency plus Intention equals Healing”.

The sound of ‘HU’ (sounds like ‘who’) is the Taoist Healing Sound for the Spleen. To practice this I suggest holding the hands gently under the ribs on the left side of the body (where the spleen is housed), breathing in and exhaling to the sound of ‘HU’ several times. Your intention can be around balance and the knowledge that we find our true feelings of fulfillment and peace of mind inside ourselves. Perhaps affirm, “Everything I need comes from within. I am safe.”

MEDITATION:

I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of slowing down and taking the time to go within. I believe many people who would LIKE to meditate don’t because they think they need to spend at least 30 minutes or more a day in lotus position, eyes closed and quarantined from the outside world.

While I do agree that being alone in a quiet place and having the ability to close your eyes is highly recommended, even a five minute ‘retreat’ to this inner world can do wonders for us, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The other ‘excuse’ I hear most often, is “I don’t know how to meditate” Or “I can’t turn off my mind.” Well, the National Science Foundation reports that our brains produce up to 50,000 thoughts a day or more (the majority of these thoughts being the SAME ONES), so naturally it is a learned process to still the mind. Stilling the mind, however, doesn’t mean there will not be thoughts. It’s what we do with them. When a stray idea enters the realm of your meditation, rather than become frustrated, acknowledge it and come back to center.

One of the easiest meditations I have found is HAMSA (Sanskrit mantra that relates to the sound of the breath: ‘Ham” on the inhale – sounds like ‘hum’, and “Sa” on the exhale.) Allowing your belly to expand on the in breath to the sound of Ham… and contract on the out breath to the sound of Sa… feel the flow of the breath entering and leaving your body, smooth, deep and complete. Even just a couple of minutes of this can tell your adrenals that ‘all is well’ and make your spleen happy, too. (And by the way, leave your phone in the off position – at least for this short duration. It gets easier.)

So next time you are feeling ’emotional hunger pangs’ whether for actual food or some other type of gratification, bring awareness to the amazing organ of the Spleen that works tirelessly to instill balance and nurturing in our lives. You are worth the effort.

Wishing you health, contentment and an overall sense of Well-Being.
Namasté.
Maureen

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