In Chinese medicine, this is the season for the water element, kidney and bladder meridians. December's column mentioned that if a person's kidneys were mechanically, emotionally or energetically challenged, that person might lack the resolve to see a new initiative through to success. Feeling a lack of support? Need some backbone? The bladder meridian runs parallel to the spine, double-wide on each side. There's a simple qi gong exercise for strengthening both. It looks like dipping a handful of water from a brook. If you're resolved to improve some aspect of your life in the New Year, use the bodymind connection instead of trying to lift yourself up by your bootstraps.
If affirmations are your game, check out Conscious Language: The Logos of Now. Robert Tennyson Stevens explains how the mind is much like a computer and how if we use the wrong commands, nothing will change. Instead, we may actually deepen the neural ruts we're hoping to escape. Call it neural spasticity.
Implicit in Stevens' book is the notion that every cell in our body hears our every thought and utterance. How could it be otherwise? If, consciously or unconsciously, you're habitually practicing what some call "stinking thinking," your harvest in terms of health, wealth, relationships, career, etc. will likely be bitter.
Speaking of thinking, old anger, grudges, irritations, resentments, etc. are corrosive. A possible corrective/get-out-of jail free card may be simply to ask who is this really hurting, me or the other person? Typically, the object of our antipathy has moved on without a moment's pause or reflection. Why insist on carrying that torch?
Of all the toxic thoughts, few do more damage to us than self-criticism, self-judgement, self-loathing or constantly comparing ourselves to others. Imagine what it's like to be a cell in a body continually bombarded by the message that we're bad or not enough. While that belief may have helped us survive a dysfunctional childhood, it's guaranteed to hamstring us ever after, unless and until we change it. Whether we actually believe the message or not, it implies that we deserve to suffer, fail and be punished. If this is your experience, you must begin here because self-acceptance/self-love is the foundation of all positive change.
Plenty of people on the planet will gladly criticize us. Someone must be our number-one supporter. That's our job, arguably, what we're here for. When my military patients changed this one thing, their pain diminished dramatically, and their careers and relationships took off.
Our worship of technology has many people focused on the genetic basis of disease and genetic engineering. The simple truth is that genes are continually being turned on and off, by stress, thoughts, beliefs, environment, etc.
Patients frequently say that such-and-such disease runs in their family, that everyone on mom's side or dad's side, or even both sides suffer from back pain, heart disease, etc. Often, these family histories stem from programming, learned behavior. When you hear something over and over from infancy on, it begins to sound like gospel.
A few decades ago, much of the above was dismissed as New Age horse-pucky. Scientific research has proven most of it true, though medical schools and most doctors typically ignore it.
Why wait? Catch the wave. Or fight it. Your choice. Best wishes for your upgrades and a safe, sane, healthy, happy, prosperous 2023.
—Mike Macy, LMT, is an avid skate-skier and birder. His book "BodyWise" conveys bodymind insights gained during 30 years as a Craniosacral Therapist. Reach him at [email protected].