Friday, May 28, 2010

The Eight Week Meridian Challenge: Do You Have Trouble Making Decisions?

Dear  Yin Weaver,

What are you doing today? 

I had a woman come to see me recently because she was couldn’t make up her mind about what to do today, or any day.  Every morning she would wake up, her mind ablaze with ideas.  Should she garden?  Should she paint?  Should she study history?  Should she read her book club novel?  Should she organize the pantry?  Should she practice yoga?  The list of possibilities seemed almost endless to her, and each one was so compelling, she felt pulled in a million directions.  What to do?  What to do? 

To start, I explained to her the belief we can multitask is a myth.  It is true the brain is able to switch its focus of attention at lightning speed.  But when it gets right down to it, we can only attend to one thing at a time.

Secondly, I told her not being able to choose suggested an imbalance in two of her four Fire Element meridians.  These two are the yang Small Intestine meridian and its yin counterpart, the Heart meridian.    

Small Intestine meridian governs the snake-y, 23 foot long part of your digestive system responsible for absorbing nutrition from your food and separating the waste material to be sent along to the large intestine.  This same discernment process happens on the Soul level as well.  Small Intestine meridian, when balanced, helps you to assimilate and make use of influences, subtle and not so, which you experience from within (dreams, fantasies, imagination, creative ideas) and without (the laundry list of daily experiences which demand moment by moment attention and response).  It also helps you to let go of distractions from what your Soul recognizes as nurturing and important.  The result can be a clear sense of purpose and creative output of energy towards accomplishing that purpose.  Unbalanced, these influences feel like energetic assaults on your awareness, leaving you with a bad case of situational-onset Attention Deficit Disorder.  What’s that saying?  The faster I run, the behinder I get.  Tracing Small Intestine meridian can help you pace yourself, and run your particular race with greater effectiveness.

Small Intestine Meridian (1pm to 3pm):  Starting at the little finger, go straight up the outside of the arm to your shoulder, drop back on your scapula, go over to your cheekbone, and back to the opening of your ear.  Do both sides while repeating the affirmation, “I know what I want and I am decisive!” 

We usually associate the heart with love, along with its sundry pitfalls and dangers.  So it’s no surprise that the Heart Meridian not only supports energy to the physical heart, but also reflects the energies of heartache and heartbreak, as well as love for ourselves and others.  However, when your heart is settled in regard to self and others, it can also turn its attention to considering what has “heart and meaning.”  The heart is your other brain, in fact, absorbed with important, value-centered questions.   Who matters to me?  What matters to me?  What do I care about?  How do I show that concern?  What am I passionate about?  For what do I have enthusiasm?  Where do I want to put my energy?  Strengthening our heart energy by tracing this meridian can help illuminate these questions for us. 

Heart Meridian (1am to 1pm):  Place your open hand underneath the opposite armpit in alignment with your little finger and trace straight down inside the arm and off the little finger.  Do both sides while repeating the affirmation “I love myself deeply and completely.”

Together, the Small Intestine and Heart meridians work in concert to help you discern, decide and focus  on what has heart and meaning while letting go of what feels empty and meaningless.  I had my client trace these two meridians several times a day every day for a week.  She was amazed by what a difference it made.   She felt calm, focused and able to make choices on a daily basis that felt supportive and purposeful.  I hope this simple exercise will do the same for you. 


Thursday, May 27, 2010

St. Ephraem said, "Prayer suppresses anger." Good idea? Bad idea? You Tell Me

Dear Yin Weaver,

I asked this question on my Fan Page (OK, Like Page. Still feels like a downgrade).  Apparently anger is one tough emotion to handle, because my question got a lot of attention.  The reflections are all listed below, but I'd like to hear more.  So I thought I'd make it an official blog, and see who else wants to weigh in on the question.

I'll throw in the definition of the word "supress" here to get you thinking, as that seemed to be the "hot button" word in St. Ephraem's comment. put an end to the activities of (a person, body of persons, etc.): to suppress the Communist party. do away with by or as by authority; abolish; stop (a practice, custom, etc.). keep in or repress (a feeling, smile, groan, etc.). withhold from disclosure or publication (truth, evidence, a book, names, etc.). ... See More stop or arrest (a flow, hemorrhage, cough, etc.). vanquish or subdue (a revolt, rebellion, etc.); quell; crush.
Clearly, St. Ephraem lived before the invention of psychotherapy. But perhaps by "supress" he didn't mean a simple denial of anger, which is bound to backfire. I like to think he meant to stop or arrest your anger before it erupts like a lava flow, or a hemmorhage (see definition five). After all, anger at injustice well-expressed can change the world. Look at Ghandi.

Here's what all my fans (ok, my likers) had to say:

Susan Hargreaves Parker said:

Seems like a good thing to me, changes your outlook on life. Isn't that one reason we pray?

Karin Evans said:

I'd prefer to think that prayer offers us a possibility to release anger, gently.

Mary Lou Carta said:

Suppressing anger is not a good thing. The anger is still there. I think a better prayer would be to be able to understand the source of our anger and how to handle it in a Christian manner. Don't forget that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Consider Jesus and the money changers in the temple. I would say that he was past upset.

Rand Gholson said:

I feel if the prayer is directed towards suppressing anger, that is the likely outcome, then what do you do with the suppressed(compressed) anger? However if the prayer is directed towards manifesting freedom from anger and its relatives, wouldn't it be more likely that it is released and a more benevolent energy can be chosen to take it's place?
Clara de Luna (dontcha love that name?) said:

When prayer is an activity of expressing gratitude {either aloud with others, or in solitude} it most certainly does release us of some negative energy.

Susan Hargreaves Parker said:
I vote for No. 5, to stop or arrest, as in if the flow of angry feelings are likened to a hemorrhage or as destructive as a cough might be.

Lisa Davis said: 

Prayer is a conversation with God.....if that takes away your anger, then I say, PRAY ON!

And what about you?  What do you say?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Did Pele Need Anger Management Therapy?

Dear Yin Weaver,

Are you on Facebook?  If so, do you ever feel like me?  Do you ever get the feeling that maybe Facebook is just a giant figment of your imagination, and that maybe none of these friends you've made-but-never-met actually exist?

Well, last Saturday night I had the distinct pleasure of meeting one of my "Facebook Friends" Jason Poole, AKA "The Accidental Hawaiian Crooner" when he performed with June Tanoue, a hula teacher friend of mine here in Chicago.  What a delight! Read his blog here on his experience, and you'll see a picture of him with my friend June.

BTW, it's completely relevant to my topic this week on ANGER MANAGEMENT, because the chant and dance they shared was about how the goddess Pele destroyed her poor dear friend when she lost her temper and erupted volcanically, burning her to a crisp!

If only she had balanced her Gall Bladder and Liver Meridians first!!!!


Friday, May 21, 2010

The Eight Week Meridian Challenge: What Meridians Help You Manage Your Anger?

Dear Yin Weaver,

The subject of acupuncture meridians is vast enough to justify years of study and practice.  I'd like you to learn a little something new each week so you at least have a greater appreciation for your own fascinating energy anatomy.  This week I'd like to answer a question that often gets asked when discussing meridians named for organs that sometimes, er, go missing. 

The gallbladder is a good example.  Raise your hand if you've had your gallbladder removed.  Well, you're in good company.   Did you know gallbladder removal is the most common operation in North America?  Between the USA and Canada, each year more than 550,000 gallbladders go the way of all flesh thanks to gallstones. 

I find this news chafing, irritating, vexing, exasperating.  In a word, I find it galling.  Why?  Because it is quite possible to resolve a large percentage of these problems using natural methods. 

However, I digress.  The answer to that unasked question is that yes, even if you lose a particular organ, the meridian remains.  Although bathing particular organs with vital energy is the primary function of each organ meridian, they also serve other purposes.  One of these purposes is to create greater emotional balance.  Each meridian has an emotional polarity, as I've pointed out before. 

Some emotions are more pleasant to experience than others.  For many people, anger is not one of them.   How about you?  Do you feel uncomfortable expressing your anger?  Do you keep it bottled up?  Why is that?  Are you afraid you'll lose control if you start to get angry, or are you concerned what others will think of you?  Perhaps you believe you don't deserve to express what's on your mind.  Perhaps you have the opposite problem.  You are easily moved to rage, or are verbally attacking, sarcastic, even physically violent. 

Whatever the challenges you face regarding your ability to manage anger effectively, learning to balance the Wood element Gallbladder and Liver meridians may be helpful. 

John Thie points out the Gallbladder meridian is associated with the organ that stores and concentrates the bile from the liver.  Bile helps us with digestion, particularly of fats.  But have you ever heard someone described as "full of bile?"  That person is thought to be angry and bitter.  In a sense, the Gallbladder meridian also stores and concentrates the emotions of anger, rage and judgement towards others.  If these aren't metabolized properly, our anger can escalate out of control.  However, when the energy of this meridian is flowing easily, it can help you look at the world with kindness and mercy.

Gallbladder's yin counterpart is the Liver meridian.  Boy, talk about a multitasker.  Your liver has more known functions than any other organ in your body.  It is involved in blood storage, the menstrual cycle, sexuality, digestion, metabolism, storage, distribution of nourishment, filtration, detoxification and immune function.  It also drives the neighborhood kid's carpool to school every Wednesday.  So you know how those overachievers get.  Hard on themselves.  Guilty.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  When Liver meridian is in its flow, not only does it help to detoxify the body, it also helps to remove those poisons of the mind which  keep us from being as kind and gentle with ourselves as we would be with a newborn baby. 

Eventually you will be rockin' around the clock, but today we're going to jump around the clock.  Last week we learned to trace Kidney and Bladder meridians, both at their busiest between 3pm and 7pm.  This week we're going to burn the midnight oil with Gall Bladder and Liver meridians, both associated with the Wood Element. 

Gallbladder Meridian (11pm to 1am):  Place the fingers of both hands on the outside of your eyebrows, drop to the opening of your ears, take your fingers straight up about two inches, circle forward with your fingers, and drop back behind the ears.  Go forward again over ot your forehead, back over the crown of yoru head, and around your shoulders.  Leave your shoulders, take your hands to the sides of the rib cage, go forward on the rib cage, back on the waist, forward on the hips, straight down the outsides of hte legs, and off the fourth toes.

As you trace this meridian (and I promise you, it will never get worse than this meridian!), repeat this supportive affirmation:  "I assert myself peacefully and let go of judgment easily." 

Liver Meridian (1am to 3am):  Place your fingers on the insides of your big toes and trace straight up the insides of the legs, flaring out at your hips, up the sides of your rib cage, and back to above your ribs, in line with your nipples. 

As you trace this meridian remind yourself, "I am kind to myself." 


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Eight Week Meridian Challenge: Two Tips for Greater Hope & Courage

Dear Yin Weaver,

There are two basic facts I want you to understand today about the 12 organ meridians.  One, each meridian has a two hour period during which they are most active.  Two, every meridian is associated with one of five Elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal), and each Element "houses" two to four meridians, half of which are Yin meridians and half of which are Yang meridians.

Here's a third point I think you'll find interesting.  The Yin (or feminine) meridians support organs or systems that are constantly at work in the body.  They are Kidney, Liver, Heart, Pericardium (or Circulation/Sex), Spleen and Lung.  The Yang (or masculine) meridians support organs that tend to work in bursts, then go back to the couch, pop a fresh beer and watch the rest of the football game.  They are Bladder, Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Triple Warmer, Stomach and Large Intestine. 

I mean, really, is there no justice in the world? 

Today you're going to learn how to trace the Water Element meridians, Bladder and Kidney.  (By the way the directions below are straight from Donna Eden's award winning book, Energy Medicine.)  All the meridian pictures are taken from Acuxo.     

John Thie, founder of Touch for Health, points out in his book that the Bladder meridian is said to be the storehouse of emotions. When our physical bladders are full, their function is to empty excess waste. Bladder meridian, when balanced, also helps us to release excess emotion. When we aren't able to do that, sometimes the "backlog" of emotion can become so overwhelming it can lead to a state of despair. When balanced, it can flood our soul with hope.

Kidney energy, when balanced, helps us to manage effectively the "watery" aspects of life--emotions, mystery and spirit. If our Kidney energy is weak, we won't have the energy to move forward in life with the courage needed to master our emotions, live with mystery and grow our spirits' full potential. If you have trouble with depression or anxiety, strengthening these two meridians may be very helpful for you.

Bladder Meridian is most active between 3pm to 5pm.  To trace Bladder meridian, place both hands between your eyebrows, go up over the crown and down the back of your head and neck. Remove your hands from your neck, reach them back underneath your arms and as high as you can stretch onto your spine.  Trace your hands down either side of your spine to below the waist, jog in and up toward the waist, and then in and around your gluteus maximus.  Leave the meridian there and come up onto your shoulders, go straight down the back of your knees, in at the knees, down to the floor, and off your little toes. 

As you trace Bladder meridian, repeat this affirmation specifically designed to nurture Bladder energy:  "I am vital, hopeful and fully alive!" 

Kidney Meridian is most active between 5pm to 7pm.  To trace Kidney, place your fingers under the ball of each foot, middle finger in line with the space between your first and second toes.  Draw your fingers up to the inside of each foot, circle behind the inside of each ankle bone, and go up the inside of the legs and the front of the body to K27, the points beneath the clavicle at the top of the sternum.

As you trace this meridian, repeat this affirmation designed to nurture Kidney energy:  "I walk forward with courage." 

So now you have four meridians to trace this week!  Once you've learned all fourteen, I will tell you a particular order in which to trace them.  But for now, start by tracing Central and Governing meridian.  I don't think I gave you the affirmations for them last week.  Central's affirmation is "I am centered in spirit and truth."  Governing's affirmation is "I am grounded in gratitude and grace.  Then trace Bladder and Kidney meridians.

Happy tracing!


Friday, May 7, 2010

The Eight Week Meridian Challenge--Floating Down the River of Life

Dear Yin Weavers,

Welcome to the Eight Week Meridian Challenge.  Hopefully it will be more refreshing than challenging, as you learn the basics about your own meridian system, and a very simple technique for balancing it. 

Meridians may be considered esoteric in our culture, but they are considered part of mainstream medicine elsewhere.   Today, acupuncture is used in most hospitals in China to treat illness.  In Japan, some government employees are required to have their meridians scanned annually for imbalances as a way of detecting health vulnerabilities and prevent disease.  In her book Energy Medicine, Donna Eden says meridans can be thought of us "fourteen tangible pathways that carry energy into, through, and out of the body."  Hundreds of energy stations line these pathways, each one a well of electromagnetic energy and other subtle energies.  These are your "acupuncture points, " and can be stimulated with needles or pressure to help balance the flow of energy through them. 

In truth, you only have one meridian.  Those fourteen tangible pathways are actually part of a single meridian that runs throughout the entire body in one, long circuit.  They appear as twelve segments, however, and are named for a particular organ or system that they serve.  Imagine you are floating down a very long river in a tiny boat.  The river is named for each town through which it passes.  So, you pass through "Kidney Town," and for however long it takes you to float by, you are on the "Kidney Meridian River."  Now you are in Pericardium-ville for awhile.  Next thing you know, you're floating through Triple Warmer Whistle-Stop (watch out, the natives are fierce here).  On to Gall Bladder Burrough followed by Liver Burg and Lung City.  Just around the bend is Large Intestine Town.  After that is Stomach-villeSpleen City is the next stop, but you're already paddling your way to Heart Hamlet.  It won't be long before you see Small Intestine Town.  Finally comes Bladder Burrough, which brings you right back to where you started...Kidney Town

Two additional meridians, called Central (also known as Conception Vessel) and Governing, run through the very core of your body.  These two energies function a bit differently than the other twelve.  I think of them as the "yin and yang sprinkler system" for the other twelve meridians.  Governing, which runs up the spine, over the top of the head and to the tip of the nose, "juices" your yang meridians (Bladder, Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Triple Warmer, Stomach and Large Intestine).  Central runs up the front of the body, lying just under the chakras, from the pubic bone to the lower lip.  It takes care of the yin meridians (Kidney, Liver, Heart, Pericardium, Spleen and Lung).  Donna Eden points out several other important qualities about these two meridians which set them apart from the other twelve.  One, they "open more directly to the environment," and "energies that surround you can enter and exit through them."  They also double as "radiant circuits" and can be sources of profound joy and peace. 

You'll be learning more about radiant circuits a little down the road.  For now let's just appreciate the fact you have a wonderful energy transportation system which, when balanced, can help to maintain your physical and emotional wellbeing.  Over the next eight weeks you will become intimately acquainted with each of your fourteen meridians, and you will learn one very basic method of keeping them in balance.  By the end of the eight weeks you will be able to trace all fourteen of your meridians! 

Let's get started.  This week you will learn how to trace Central and Governing Meridian.

Do you know what an Etch-a-Sketch is?  It's a toy screen filled with aluminum powder.  With a stylus you can drag the aluminum powder where you want to create pictures.  Well, I want you to think of your hands as styli, and your Central and Governing meridians as if they're filled with aluminum powder. 
To trace your Central meridian, place both hands on your pubic bone.  Firmly draw a line straight up the center of your body to just below the lower lip.  Imagine as you do that you are dragging fresh, life-giving chi up with you just the way an Etch-a-Sketch stylus would drag aluminum powder up.  To finish, press your finger tips in here to "lock in" the energies.  Repeat twice more.

To trace your Governing meridian, place both hands on your tailbone.  Firmly draw a line straight up the spine as far as you can.  Reach over your shoulder with one hand and attempt to touch the other hand.  If you can't reach it, imagine you can.  "Grab" the energy you've been pulling up and bring it up the rest of your spine, straight over the top of your head, and stop just below the nose.  To finish, press your finger tips in here to "lock in" the energies.  Repeat twice more. 

When Central meridian is out of balance, you might notice you're feeling vulnerable and insecure.  It's a great meridian to trace just before giving a public talk!  When Governing meridian is out of balance, you will lack the courage to move forward, or overcome problems.  Need more backbone?  Trace Governing.  It's possible you will start to feel more centered, secure and courageous if you trace these two meridians on a regular basis.  Try it and see. 

And as always, let me know.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Seven Day Blog Challenge

Dear Yin Weaver,

I'm in Day 6 of the Seven Day Blog Challenge sponsored by Connie Ragen Green.  I don't know exactly what I hope to accomplish beyond the act of pushing myself to blog daily--sometimes twice daily--and twitter the results. 

Today is Sunday.  Last night John and I bid on a rain barrel and got it at a silent auction for The Children's School in Berwyn!  We were thrilled.  It was hand-painted by the fifth graders with peace symbols and "save the earth" slogans.  Just the sort of touch our backyard will enjoy.  I also picked up some gorgeous, hand-painted garden stakes which will need a little shellacking if they're going to last more than a season. 

The Children's School is a progressive education school, and if I could attend a school like that it would be one of the very few reasons I'd be willing to do my life over again.  Small, child-centered, reflective classes that are project-driven.  It sounds like so much fun! 

One of the main purposes of the benefit last night was to raise $10K for my friend Mary Dye, who is going to be the artist in residence there next year.  She's is a wonderful potter.  If you google her name you'll see it associated with different sites, but she doesn't have her own.  She'll be at the Forest Park Summer Arts Festival, I'm sure, and a fall sale out of her studio later on.  You should check her out.

OK, I've accomplished my goal!  Off to church now. 


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Merry May Day!

Dear Yin Weaver,

Today is May Day, an ancient pagan holiday that  dates back to well before the birth of Christ.

For the British Druids, this day was the second most important holiday of the year.  It was on this day the festival of Beltane was held, when the new fire was set, lending life to the burgeoning sprinttime sun.  Livestock was driven through the fire to purify them.  Men and women passed through the smoke for good luck. 

The beginning of May was also very popuar with the Romans.  It was devoted to the worship of Flora, the goddess of Flowers.  The Floralia was held from April 28 to May 2.  When the Romans came to the British Isles, the rituals of the Floralia were added into those of the Beltane.  Today's May Day customs are a blend of both. 

The most common tradition that has survived in some fashion or other to modern days is the May Pole.  the May Pole was originally a tree brought into the village to ensure fertility.  It was festooned with wreathes, garlands and ribbons.  Towns often competed with each other for the tallest and most beautiful May Pole.  Dances were performed around the May Pole using the ribbons to guide the dancers through the intricate steps.  You can find lots of examples on YouTube but I thought this dance at Glastonbury looked particularly authentic...someone did their research!  I love the costumes.  Can anyone tell what sort of horn was being blown at the very end?

Merry May Day, everyone!


Just a Yin Weaver Sitting at the Loom

Dear Yin Weaver,

Speaking of the Crown Chakra, does anyone remember May crownings? I mean, does anyone Catholic out there remember May crownings? 

I remember my first one.  I was in first grade.  The nuns sent us home with notes saying we were to bring flowers to school on a certain day.  I don't remember what I brought, but it seems to me it was a motley crew of dandelions, daisies, wild violets and other assorted weeds from our back yard.  I don't remember what I wore either, but I was jealous of the two pretty second graders in their first communion "wedding dresses" who were elected to place the crown of flowers on Mary's marble brow.  Then the rest of us processed forward to lay our bouquets at her feet. 

Do you remember the songs we used to sing? I remember this one.  I can still sing it!

Bring Flowers of the Rarest

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Bring flowers of the rarest
bring blossoms the fairest,
from garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
our full hearts are swelling,
our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

Actually, it's a very sweet song.  Listen to it here.

What about now?  Does anyone out there STILL celebrate May crownings?  In her blog Motherly Loving, Robina talks about other traditions, prayers, crafts and food she and her family use to celebrate (and if you need some recipes, there's actually a website called Catholic Cuisine).  The Philipino community in our church celebrates with a 28 day novena which culminates in a May crowning.  I'm celebrating with a 33 day renewal of my consecration to Mary. 

Surprised?  I mean, here I am writing about Eden Energy Medicine, Reiki, Chakras, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Flower Essences.  What's a good new ager like me doing talking about Mary, Church, novenas, consecrations and  May crownings? 

Actually, I don't consider myself "new age."  I'm just a Yin Weaver sitting at the loom, sometimes wondering how it all fits...never doubting that it does. 

And you?