Archive for the ‘Breath’ Category

by Gail Coffey, formerly CEO, Sharing Wellness Info, reprint from April 2011 newsletter

Feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, enjoying lengthening days and the gradually warming temperatures, thinking about or getting outside and exercising, preparing soil to plant flowers or a garden, bursting with ideas for new projects–these are all signs of spring. Some hints of spring arise inside your being; some appear before your eyes. Have you noticed the budding of the leaves on the trees? the first daffodils? the forsythia bringing us all that bright yellow color? the fruit trees beginning to blossom? the grass greening up? Maybe you’ve noticed that your mood is growing a bit brighter? Your energy is picking up a little and you need a little less sleep. This is the time of Wood in the Five Element model. Healthy wood is known by its flexibility–ability to bend with the wind without breaking; its deep-rootedness (lots of roots below the ground that you don’t see but that support and nourish the tree and keep it from being blown over during storms) and strength; its ability to produce seeds of new life; and its ability to go through the seasonal cycles in all its glory.

With the earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear reactor failures in the news and impacting our lives, it’s easy to lose the qualities of the Wood energy that we most need:  strength and flexibility; ability to cycle through the emotions that arise rather than getting stuck in fear or other emotion; staying grounded, rooted; and being able to provide the nurturing that those around us need during these times of stress.

The Wood element (spring time) has to do with the organic functions of the liver and the gallbladder–in a systemic way. In our lives, this may affect strategic planning, decisions, judgment–or it may show itself as frustration or a migraine headache when things don’t go according to our plans. It might show up as having trouble making decisions or sticking to a plan.

The eyes are the sense organs of the Wood Element. Dianne Connelly in Traditional Acupuncture, The Law of the Five Elements, says, “The eyes are considered to be vessels of vision integrating the outside and the inside of a human being.” Most eye problems are a result of some type of trouble with one’s Wood element–just as clarity of vision and the ability to “see” clearly are signs of balance in the element.

Often, we associate the months of March and April with a lot of wind, the kind that helps “blow in” a new season. In Chinese medicine, this wind is known as the East wind that, in excess, can cause problems in the neck and throat. It is wise to experience this wind in small doses, limiting its ability to create illness for you while appreciating that the same wind is drying the ground when it is too wet, and carrying seeds to where they will pollinate and start the next new life.

This is also the element of the soul, your desire to be “in life” and “live life.” No wonder, then, that so many people experience the bursting forth of spring as affirmation that they have lived through another winter and will “make it” another year. No wonder that spring and it’s glorious colors and new growth inspire us to write poetry, draw, start an exercise program that we’ve been putting off, reconnect with friends, plant a garden, buy some flowers.

The Wood energy is one of vision and so we invite you to join us and get and hold a vision of our Earth and her people that is all inclusive, respectful, full of peace and Light, and love–fill yourself with the vision, and then breathe it out, sending it to the farthest places you can imagine as well as to all your family and friends. Use this spring energy to do something kind and unexpected–at least once a day–and watch and feel your own heart grow. Since April 22 is Earth Day, you might wish to make a new or renewed commitment to reduce your footprint, ecologically speaking. Or to send prayers to those in spots like Haiti and Japan, or to those facing job cuts in the US–or to all of the above. Enjoy and celebrate spring!

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Mediation opens our awareness to our connection with the universe, to each other, and – most helpful – to ourselves. Forms of mediation are as varied as there are individuals on earth.  One can sit, walk, lie down, dance. One can focus on a sound outside, a thought, a chant, the breath, emptiness, the moment. Once can believe in God, the Universe, Nothing.  One can follow a regular study of sacred text, be with a group, embark on a pilgrimage.  I give thanks for all these options, knowing that for any to work, I must make a choice. I must commit to regular, daily practice, and allow that practice to work like tumbling water on a stone.  Eventually the tumbled stone becomes polished and smooth, and reflects LIGHT.  Eventually all the molecules of the stone merge with the molecules of the water and we know we are ONE.

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With our first breath, we inhale. With our last, we exhale. In between we repeat this many times over. Almost anything else we do in life is optional. Breathing is not.

This is our connection to Life-force.  Breath is a gift we can use with no awareness, or we can use it to increase our awareness of Life-force enlivening our bodies and connecting us to one another and the Universe. We are breathing the same air as did Jesus, the Buddha, Abraham and Mohammed. We are all sharing the same molecules of air. So, I breathe with gratitude and honor you, my companions inhabiting this Divine Creation.

Happy New Year!

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Our bodies are our homes in this lifetime. We cannot move into another one because we decide that our home is too big, too small, too restrictive, too uncomfortable or dilapidated. We have to take care of the home we have. Our home is most comfortable if we address its needs BEFORE it screams and becomes resistant or complacent. To do this, we have to learn to listen to our body, to feel. Unfortunately, nuanced feeling is generally overridden by the busy mind. Our home, our body then has to take more drastic action to get our attention.

Massage is a great tool for relieving pain. Massage can also help to prevent pain by quieting the mind and body, and calling attention to feeling, physical and emotional. What we feel, we can heal.

Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year!
December 30, 2012


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