Looking Inside

We don’t give ourselves the permission to be still with the thoughts that make us uncomfortable. Instead we push them away, seal them in a box, and perhaps make a mental note that we will look at them someday when its “safe” or “when we have time.” We carry these around and make stories of them to suggest we’ve processed them or we are not affected by them , but in all reality they are there weighing us down and gathering the emotional dust of avoidance.

What boxes are you carrying around? You don’t even need to look in the box, just acknowledge they are there. One by one name the boxes…failed marriage, rape, trauma…Realize how you’ve been carrying them or ignoring them…drinking, saying to yourself “look how strong I am, this doesn’t affect me”, lying…Once you’re ready you can softly brush off the emotional dust (defensiveness, stress, anger..) and look inside the box. No need to pull everything out, just look. You may realize that the box is empty, time has diminished all the details and you’ve been carrying around an empty box that to you has felt really heavy. It may be putrid and rotten or be hiding a hidden gem of knowledge. But give yourself permission to just look, no need to take it out yet (to be honest I haven’t been able to do that part yet). We’ll get to that in time. Just sit with it, know its there.

Do you feel lighter? Do feel overwhelmed, joy, anger? Just be with it, know that what ever you are feeling that moment is part of the process of acknowledging those boxes, of dusting of the emotional dust, and looking inside.

insdie

 

Meditation in a Cup

Ju Hua, Chrysanthemum flower in English, has become my new favorite thing to add to hot water, actually cold water too. I learned about it my very first herb class when my professor called it his daily “meditation in a cup.” After trying it a couple times, I now understand why.

Many of times I have brewed a cup of tea as a meditation, as a silent, intentional time for myself and taking a break from my busy life. So I scoop up the dried white and yellow flowers and add them to the boiling water already in my glass thermos. I step out side and sit and sip on my Ju Hua tea. After awhile I feel my relaxation deepen,  not a sleepy feeling but the relaxed, lighter feeling you get after a good sigh. The shoulders come down, my breathing is easier,things start to feel like they are running smoother in my body.  The taste is light, fragrant, slightly bitter and sweet at the same time, cooling to my spirit and my body as I watch the white flowers with yellow centers dance in the hot water in front of me.

Now,after that description, I hope you understand why it has become my favorite. Now a little bit more about the medicinal side.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ju Hua is a frequently used herb to clear wind and heat (i.e. common cold) and calms the Liver (which in TCM can have a wide variety of symptoms).  It first uses being mentioned over 3,000 years ago, and it has continued in it’s popularity to this day. Some of it’s many uses are:

  • Cold with fever
  • Headache
  • Eyes that are red, dry, swollen, and painful
  • Headache
  • High Blood Pressure

It is also said that a cup a day prevents aging, I can imagine so with how I have been feeling after drinking it. Less stress=longer, healthier life right? The key for this, however, is persistence “the  must be taken over a long time before it starts to take effect. One cannot simply take more for earlier results.” – Chen Shi-Duo.  Ju Hua can be brewed many different ways, alone, or with other herbs for a different effect. My favorite way, so far, is adding a heaping tablespoon to a large thermos of boiling water. I let the flowers sit until its cool enough to drink, and then refill it back up through out the day. Its delicious at room temperature as well. You can try adding a couple goji berries to it for a fun color and sweet taste. Enjoy!!

Making-Chrysanthemum-Tea

 

 

Source: Bensky, D., Clavey, S., Stoger, E. (2004). Chinese herbal medicine: Materia medica study guide. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press.

*This blog is not intended to replace professional, medical personal. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad understanding of TCM and share the experience of the writer. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, L. AC and other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Home Inspiration

On my trip home my father asked me about my blog “Do still have that website with the tree?” I told my father I still had my blog but I hadn’t been writing in it as often as I would like. He very frankly asked “Why? You’ve always been such a good writer!” The reasons I turned over seemed hollow even as I said them. They had no meaning, no substance they were excuses and had no charge behind them.

Thank you Dad for making me realize that.

“Roots” By Angela Giddings

I dug in the soil today and realized how deep my roots go.

I watered the ground and saw how parched I had become.

Gifts, flowers, love have come from many sources before.

Today I plant my own garden, receive my own sustenance and water it with love.

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Acupuncture in the news!

Epilepsy-dogs“Holistic Treatment for Epilepsy in Dogs” from Bark Magazine (my favorite dog centered magazine!)

“Question: My dog was just diagnosed with epilepsy. Are there holistic treatments that will prevent seizures while avoiding the use of harsh medications like Phenobarbital?”

A very clear article on what epilepsy is and how it shows up in dogs, as well as explains different treatment modalities. Guess what one of the modalities ends up being? You’re right!  Acupuncture!!

For the full article click on the link below…

from Pocket http://ift.tt/1RXDpkK

via IFTTT

Googly Eyes

Some people start their road to perception by suddenly realizing  or seeing themselves in another being or object. They see that log being crashed over and over by the waves and realize that’s how they feel about their job or seeing a person getting yelled at and find themselves thinking about their relationship with their child. Seeing ourselves either in others or outside of ourselves can give us permission to see those deeper things that we may not of seen or even looked for on our own.

Mine….mine was an injured seagull and a googly eye dream,in fact one I just woke up from this morning. The injured seagull I will get to in another post don’t you worry.You see, for fun and well because its me, in this dream I was glueing those little plastic googly eyes to myself (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about go here). All over my legs while wearing a leotard, and since it was a dream I looked fabulous!  I was wearing them around proudly and showing them to everyone. Every time I touched one I saw a memory, “good” or “bad” and it started to affect me. I started to hide some of them but then started to literally see through them into the events around me and see how they were changing what I was looking at. I would see my current boyfriend as loving, kind, supportive and amazing but when I looked at him through the memory of my ex-husband I saw manipulation and over control coming out of the support. Stopped looking through him with that googly eye and it went back to normal. I started playing with this in the dream and realized how much those perspectives were affecting my world. I woke up and started writing.

You see I was looking at each memory and seeing how it affected my daily life in the dream but I realized that this was happening more and more in my waking life. By being aware of how I felt about situations and people in the moment, I was examining my conscious perspective and then concluding that many more times my unconscious perspective was doing it as well. It got me thinking. Where in my life are these perceptions affecting the choices I take, the way I interact with people, and the way I perceive myself.

So I started to write in my journal, I started to write both the pleasant and uncomfortable memories. The situations that felt “good” or “bad” for no definitive reason and started to explore why. Each memory, event, or general perspective was a touchstone or googly eye, it allowed me to see or at least open up how that was affecting my perspective. Positive and negative. Example: My dad always made me feel safe and warm during the Minnesota winters, he always seemed to know what to do.  His beard, his broad frame, and layers of warm clothes were visual confirmations of that unspoken preparedness and safety. Am I more likely to feel safe, warm, and assume that man knows he’s doing with a man displaying these properties? Probably, but I’m aware of this. I won’t just trust any man with a beard, broad frame, and layers of clothing (I’m sure there are plenty of axe murders that meet that description too). But I then ask myself,  in the past would I of unfairly judged a slighter man without a beard and simply dressed because I wanted to feel “safe and warm”? Possibly.

This opens up a whole new world of how to interact with others, situations, but more importantly myself. As a nurse, future acupuncturist, and in general healer, I feel its important to examine how these perspectives frame my external world and my interactions with my patients and clients. Really examining the core of my being, to not only be able to connect with my patients and have compassion but to see where I maybe unfairly bringing a perspective to an experience, person, or even myself. Instead to just truly be with the patient, see what’s in front of me minus the google eyes.

googly-eyed-root-veggies

 

 

Wisdom Wednesday: Conditioning

The belief in who we are and what other people tell us we are is strong and shapes our personality. Personality is imposed by society and personality is a social connivence. Individuality is experience and is developed through our existence.  There is story about a lion raised by sheep, and so he no consciousness of being a lion and thought instead he was a sheep. One day an old, wise lion pounce out from a large outcrop of long grasses and all the sheep ran away in fear. The lion-who-thought-he-was-a-sheep cowered and begged for mercy. The wise, old lion was confused seeing this but had an idea. He lead him down to a lake and showed him his reflection and his own. At that moment the lion-who-thought-he-was-a-sheep, realized who he was and let out a mighty roar.

Many of us are like this lion, the image of ourself does not come from our own experience but the perception and the opinion of others. Individuality can grow within us through existence, deciding to to see our true reflection, and the courage to express to ourselves and to others that new found individuality.

Think of when you feel MOST you, when everything in you states “Yes this is Angela (insert your name here of course)” What inside inspires that? What encourages you to be that true self and roar, no matter how quiet it may be. When do you abandon that? When do you take on the personality that society or others have given to you to feel nice or cozy or even just not to feel a lack of comfort?

My answers to this question has no relevance to your own reflection, but by giving my insight I hope to inspire your further self discovery.

I felt this “Yes this is Angela” a couple weekends ago, I had just finished a beautiful but hot hike up in the mountains. I had been hiking along this mountain stream the entire time and I could think of nothing else than how much I wanted to go swimming. Just strip of my hiking clothes and jump in wearing just my bra and underwear. Each time I pushed it back down, you see I was with someone I am newly dating and all I could think of was how he would think of my behavior to go swimming in my skivvies in the middle of a hike. The conditioning of how my body and behavior may be perceived as unattractive or undesirable was conflicting with the deeper love of freedom and well, swimming. Finally, I realized I was going to miss this amazing opportunity to go swimming in this beautiful mountain stream just because I feared what another may or may not think of me and story I was telling myself about my body. So I made the plunge… ok ok I slowly crept in letting out yelps and squeals because of the icy water. And then I just laid there, hot sun on my face, icy water on my goosebumpy skin. I stared up at the trees and the mountains. A sense of peace wash over me and a little voice said, “Yes this is Angela”

My inspiration to let my roars out comes from so many sources. There are these amazing people I surround myself with that, live authentically and let their roars out despite their fear and discomfort. This given me courage and inspires me to recognize where and when I hold back. Passing on the knowledge I have learned to others to help empower themselves is also something that inspires me. I realize through my own experiences and existence I can maybe make something easier for someone or simpler. The joy I feel when I slow down to take this time in self reflection and then sharing it with others is worth all the discomfort that has brought me to that point.

I do abandon it though. More often then not its when I’m around people that have known me a long time, and usually I have grown and/or changed since seeing them last. I wonder will their perspective of who I was and who I am clash? Or cause discomfort? I fear that I will be called out and might not have the answers that appease them and make it easy for me to answer. This has become less of an occurrence over the years but still something that I find myself slipping into if I’m a tad less self aware.

It’s time to take a look at your own reflection in that lake and make a move to break out of whatever your have been conditioned to believe about yourself. Have the courage, take the leap, and let out your “ROAR.”

Conditioning

Source Material: Osho Zen Tarot

Beautiful Creature

I’ve decided to start reading poetry to myself as part of my daily meditation practice, here’s the one I landed on today. I’ve found it has provided me with a lot of inspiration, deep insight, and a moment to do something beautiful for myself and my mind. Who are your favorite poets? Whom would you recommend I check out?

“Beautiful Creature”

by Hafiz

There is a beautiful creature living

in a hole you have

dug,

so at night I set fruit and grains and little pots of wine and milk

beside your soft earthen

mounds,

and I often sing to you,

but still, my dear, you do not come out.

I have fallen in love with someone

who is hiding inside

of you.

We should talk about this problem,

otherwise I will never

leave you

alone!

climb-out-of-darkness

The Theory of Everything begins

The awareness of self. Whether it be through self reflection, a psycho analysis, or through pushing your body to the max, you learn something. Even if its that you never want to go back to that shrink, gym, or dark place in your mind again, you have stepped away knowing something more. There is nothing like acupuncture school to make you aware of your body, your mind, and your spirit, that I am learning. I should of suspected something big was about to happen in my life when one of my first classes in the program started off with my professor very solemly prouncing, “Now we will begin, and we will learn the theory of everything.” It had an Earth shaking effect on me. I realized within that lecture that the Tao or “The Way”  connected everything together, that thinking of ourselves as separate from nature or the people around us was like thinking our hand was separate from our arm. Denying that our thoughts and emotions has any effect on our body was ridiculous. It continues to baffle me and at the same time urges me to step forward to learning more.

In our modern world many people find it an inconvenience or a wonderful happenstance that we can disconnect our life, our emotions from our body. We push it, abuse it, and then wonder why we become quicker to anger, quicker to stress. I know I didn’t realize how much stress I carried in my hips until I started really paying attention. Now that I know that, my body tells me something. I find I tell myself I’m relaxing and all I have to do is check in with my hips to find out I’m lying to myself and need to further let go of the day, or a conversation, or an expectation.

The journey through this life has reinforced this disconnection with my body. The events that happened in my body aren’t me but happen to me. If it was a negative event, like body image or pain, I would label it “unfair or unjust”, but please just don’t label it me. If it were pleasurable, like an orgasm or laugher, it was because someone else had caused them but it wasn’t a part of my body or self.  I’m embracing those parts of me mentally, emotionally, and physically, making them me. I realized that this was necessary in becoming a Acupuncturist, I needed to provide the same care to myself as I would a patient. I needed to look deep within myself and find the disconnections so I could further help others. The beauty of it all  is I become more and more comfortable in my body everyday. There is sometimes setbacks where the discomfort and disconnection is back but then my hips tell me to let go, relax, and soak in the comfort of my own skin.

zenImage1

Auntie Angie

In one month I’m flying home for two weeks to meet my brother’s first baby and play Auntie. Up until now I really didn’t want to go and couldn’t put my finger directly on why. You see, my brother and I don’t play well together.
I’m not going to pull the veil over your eyes and start off by telling you how when we were young my brother and I fought but now that we’re adults we are close and have never been cruel or hurtful to one another since. That’s the thing is we have been cruel and hurtful to one another. Dave and I have always grown up with very different opinions, ways of approaching people and life, and even different ways of approaching each other. When I say different ways, I mean throwing closed fist punches, glances of pure disgust at each other, and screaming matches that would drive our poor mother to tears. She couldn’t figure out why we just couldn’t get along. OK we were kids back then but the general disagreements and distemper toward each other has just changed into avoidance and at times snarky remarks.

Some of the problem I realize is now as an adult I have this “idea” of what my brother and my relationship “should” be as adults. We come from a close family, family that is involved in each other’s lives. This has translated to everyone, except between my brother and I. In the last five years, I have flown home twice a year, to help out with his wedding, and will soon fly home to see his baby. When I fly home we a brief encounters and visits but there are moments filled with anger and frustration. I think I remember when first talking about California and how excited I was, David stated very bluntly “Well you’re in Minnesota right now, not in California.” Which I guess literally he was right, but immediately the tension was flared up between us. When I flew home for his wedding, I was seen with annoyance before the wedding and then was met by a disgusted glare while he was at the altar. It hurt me to the core and this is why I’ve been hesitant to go home and celebrate with him again. Then something changed.
On Tuesday I got the text that the baby had been born and then pictures followed, I cried. Right there in the middle of Diagnosis Class the love for both him and his new little family came pouring out of me. I saw my brother; I didn’t see the person that had been mean to me or hurtful. I glimpsed moments of connection and love we have had over the years. I saw a new beginning and that the reason for our disconnect wasn’t just on his side but on mine. We got to FaceTime and I saw the softer side of my brother, I had lied to myself over the years and believed in some small way this wasn’t there. But there it was right in front of me as he held and kissed that little boy. Out of a beginning for new life, came a new way of thinking about my brother. That is a beautiful thing.
Healing ourselves is top most priority but its amazing when we are strong enough to stop and heal the parts of us that interact with others. I hope that with this new insight and love that the relationship between my brother and I can start to heal.
Things may continue to be strained or uncomfortable for a time being, but here’s to a blossoming, a beginning, and a baby boy.