EMOTIONAL & PHYSICAL CONNECTION
We are all aware these days that our physical health and our emotional and mental health are completely intertwined.
Acupuncture theory provides an intricate and effective template to understand and work on connecting our various mental/ emotional states with both the internal organs and the limbs of our bodies.
When the physical and emotional parts of ourselves work well together and, importantly, are in sync we have a greater chance of good health and to feel at ease.
Prefer video? In the 3 videos on this page I talk about much the same concepts and run through some super simple & quick exercises to improve your mental, emotional and physical adaptability/ flexibility...
CHANGES IN ENVIRONMENT
The other piece of the puzzle is the environment we are in. When the seasons change, our bodies need to shift in the way that they work. This is true today even though we are insulated to a degree from seasonal changes by living in well insulated houses and spending time in central heated/ air conditioned environments.
Looking to nature for inspiration, we can see that animals and plants generally enter a hibernation (self isolated, low activity) state during the Winter. When Spring arrives obviously they come out of hibernation, become more active and are more social. There is a period of growth and creativity.
We can summarise this as an outward/ upward/ expansive movement of energy coming after a period of contraction/ inward movement.
I like to visualise this as a giant coiled spring which has been compressed bit by bit over the Winter, storing potential and building up energy. When Spring comes, the pressure is released and the stored potential is converted into upward outward movement.
CORONA-TIME: OUT OF SYNC
Physiologically: Spring is here. The days are getting longer. It's warming up and our bodies are responding as they always do - by opening and becoming looser.
Emotionally: The opposite is happening. There is a lot of fear, uncertainty and nervousness about. Normally during the springtime there is a sense of optimism/ opening and creative activity and joy. We enjoy better weather and the opportunity to spend more time with our friends and outdoors.
We are therefore in an overall environment which is resulting in the opposite emotional state to the natural order of the movement of the seasons which we are enjoying on a physical level.
Our physical and emotional states thus run the risk of becoming mismatched. (In fact, this can happen at the best of times, but is particularly so now with the Coronavirus fears and concerns about our futures.) Since we know that our emotional and physical states are inextricably interlinked and interwoven we can understand this will cause a type of tension between these two opposite directions.
If this tension can be managed correctly, the energy created can result in huge creative potential, which we hopefully can harness for the benefit of ourselves and our fellow humans. If not managed so smoothly this can result instead either physical or emotional difficulties:
Physical: On the physical level, this can result in the person's body not opening up and expressing sufficiently as it should do at this time of year. In this case there may be a buildup of heat in the body resulting in physical tension/ tightness in muscles and sinews. Especially in the shoulders/ neck and lower down, in the hips/ sides of the legs. There can also be an increased likelihood of poor immune response, with the result that we are susceptible to external diseases like colds, flus coughs and at this time, of course, Coronavirus. See here for more discussion on why. [LUNGS].
Emotional: Emotionally, this can result in frustration, with a sense of inability to make clear decisions or express feelings and ideas smoothly and effectively. The normal sense of creative/ outward expression may be curtailed by a sense of fear or uncertainty. This frustration can result in outbursts of anger. In those who are unable to express their anger or to assert needs outwardly, this can instead turn inward and result in depression. In the natural world this concept of frustration with bursts of anger or uncontrolled energy is often described by the strong gusty changeable windy conditions that we often experience as Spring arrives.
The meridians we are concerned with here run along the sides of your body and head. They are associated with our capacity for change. Our ability to navigate changes in direction and how we can best position ourselves in changing circumstances.
On a mental/ emotional level these meridians are connected with the capacity for decision making. The backwards and forwards pathway across the temples and head represent the weighing up of different options before making a decision. We are all wondering what to do next and how to best position ourselves for the enormous changes around the world.
Physically we can understand this as the ability to shift right or left - or being flexible and able to rotate. You can see the zig-zag pathway it takes along your body. This gives it a springiness/ flexibility and ability to shift/ flex/ rotate.
EASING THE SPRING
The tension built up in the giant spring of our meridians over the Winter needs to release and open up bit by bit as Spring arrives. This is the natural order of things.
We want the opening up to be as smooth as possible. For the expansion to occur without jerkiness or in sudden bursts (like gusts of wind/ bursts of anger) and lots of changes of direction (inability to decide/ uncertainty).
Darwin is though to have said: It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
How can we keep our springs strong, supple, and flexible with the ability to soak up sudden changes in strength and direction of the forces of the universe around us?
TAPPING THE MERIDIAN
This is such an easy practice and it really feels great! You can be done in about a minute and this one really can help smooth the tensions in the meridian making you feel both physically and mentally/ emotionally more balanced and more at ease. Rather than describe it all here, please watch the video.
Any body movements you can think of which involve rotation will stretch and help the smooth flexible action of the meridian. The most obvious is rotations of the torso from the hips. But you will get a lot of value from rotating your neck. And the smaller joints, especially the ankles where the meridian passes can be great too.
Doing creative things. Whatever you like to do, be it playing music, painting etc. Anything which produces an actual output without too much thinking.
EASING THE SPRING: Switching
If you have a moment, enjoy this wonderful poem by Henry Reed which encapsulates some concepts of dynamic tension, flexibility and inflexibility. Considering our current world-wide lockdown akin to war status, it feels strangely appropriate.
I also like it as a poetic reminder of the concept of Switching... More on that here if you would like to find ways to Relax within your daily Actions:
Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all the neighbouring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.
This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.
This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.
And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.
They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have the naming of parts.