Being a salmon

Being a salmon

 

Sometimes life needs us to be a little different.

When everyone else is “going with the flow”, sometimes you need to swim upstream.

When everyone else is taking it easy, sometimes you need to be putting in the effort. Even if it means you miss out on the fun.

When other people are believing what they see and hear, doing things without thinking, maybe you know that you need to be learning things more deeply. This might be the time for you to really question things.

If it looks like the whole world can just do what they like without ramifications, while you need to take extra care with every step just to keep on an even keel, then maybe you’re feeling a little lonely about that.

The journey to health can be a long, twisting path. Some of that time you might feel like the only person on the planet who’s saying no, slowing down, lightening your load or listening to your body.

You’ve been tuning in for a little while now, and you know that your life depends on it. Your health, wellbeing and sense of stability is calling you to be super mindful and conscious about your choices.

And it looks like maybe you’re the only one?

Until…

One day you look to the left…

or you look to the right…

then you realise that you’re not alone.

There are other salmon out here! Swimming upstream, putting in the work, listening to the call of the wild, heading for the source.

There’s no Salmon Club. There’s no hashtag or Youtube channel or box to tick on a form that says you’re one of us.

But if you’re reading this, and it resonates, then you’re a salmon too.

The more you honour yourself, the more you swim, the more you’ll find your fellow salmon. Then the journey to the source will be shared among likeminded travellers. The journey home.

 

 

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Acupuncture safety

Acupuncture safety lotus

 

Acupuncture is generally considered a very safe treatment.

All health procedures carry some risk, and some risks may depend on an individual patient’s circumstances (eg age, gender, illness or other health factors).

Before you start your acupuncture treatment, we will explain the risks to you and allow you to make an informed decision to proceed. We will also check in with you throughout your course of treatment that you are feeling comfortable and provide answers or responses to any questions or concerns you may have.

 

Research on acupuncture safety

Several very large-scale studies involving many tens of thousands of professional acupuncture treatments have found that acupuncture is generally well tolerated and, if side effects happen, they tend to be relatively minor – for example tiredness, bruising or dizziness. (1-3)

 

Qualified practitioners

It is important to receive acupuncture from well-trained health professionals who understand the risks and how to minimise them. Working near vulnerable areas of the body requires special techniques and precautions, so please ensure that your therapist is adequately qualified.

Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners (listed on the AHPRA website) have met the appropriate education standards.

 

Acupuncture in pregnancy

Acupuncture is generally considered safe in pregnancy.

Qualified practitioners understand how to modify acupuncture treatment for pregnancy and to avoid certain areas of the body or specific acu-points due to their therapeutic actions.

A recent review concluded that if adverse effects do occur during acupuncture in pregnancy, they seem to be minor and transient (of the type noted above) and occurance is similar across all trimesters of pregnancy. (4)

 

Free consultation

If you would like to discuss your unique health situation and ask any questions you may have about acupuncture safety, please request your 15-minute Free Consultation to find out more.

 


 

(1) White A, Hayhoe S, Hart A, Ernst E. Adverse events following acupuncture: prospective survey of 32,000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists. BMJ. 2001;323:485–6.

(2) Macpherson H, Thomas K, Walters S, Fitter M. The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34,000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ. 2001;323:486–7.

(3) Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Wruck K, Tag B, Mank S, Willich SN. Safety of acupuncture: results of a prospective observational study with 229,230 patients and introduction of a medical information and consent form. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009;16:91–7.

(4) Clarkson C, O’Mahony D, Jones D. Adverse event reporting in studies of penetrating acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 May;94(5):453-64.

 

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Menopause, mid-life and meaning

Menopause autumn

 

Are you approaching menopause? Already there?

In our culture – in the developed, English-speaking world – menopause is becoming increasingly medicalised… symptoms and hormones and treatments.

The medical narrative around menopause has become so ingrained in our cultural consciousness that we don’t even see it, like a fish not seeing the water it’s swimming in.

There’s a different way of seeing this phase of life.

In other places in the world, menopause is experienced as simply a time of change, or freedom, a phase of self-reflection and evolving self-esteem, a phase of life marked by being respected due to attaining wisdom, a feeling of cleanliness and attaining maturity, a time to experience fulfilment or success (1).

 

Turning the corner

According to Chinese medicine, and Hunyuan medicine in particular, menopause is a turning point.

Nature creates in cycles. From small cycles such as the heartbeat or breath, through ever larger of day and night, seasons, lifetimes, to cycles beyond the human experience such as geological epochs – the way that something opens out, and then closes back in, is a common pattern.

 

Beginnings

From resting quietly at night, you dream before dawn and then awaken and move into the world in the morning.

From the fallow and stillness of winter, seedlings and buds appear and grow.

From the secluded mystery of the womb, babies are born, emerging into the world.

From the hidden, something becomes revealed. This is the beginning of the visible part of the creation cycle.

 

Full expression

In the middle of the day, you are active and engaged with the outside world, eating and drinking to bring energy in from “the outside”.

In the summer, the leaves on the trees are fully open and engaging with the sunlight “outside” to create energy for the tree.

From childhood and teen years, marked by the “Yang” expression of growth and differentiation, a person reaches their reproductive capacity in adulthood. Their life cycle can exchange with the “outside” by participating in the creation of new life.

This phase is maximally engaged and exchanging with the “outside”.

 

The return

Then we come to the afternoon, closing in to the evening. You return home from the day, you shed your “mask” of your work life or other roles in society, and you nurture yourself and settle down in preparation for the recharging and replenishment of the night phase.

For the tree, it now divests it’s energy from the leaves. That exchange with the “outside” has run its course. The sap turns inwards, flowing down towards the root. It’s a reversal of direction.

After the child-bearing years, this “Yang” impetus for growth and connecting “outside” has similarly run its course. Now the “Yin” phase begins. Moving towards the root, towards the source…

 

Menopause yin yang

 

The hidden

Going into sleep, your idea of “action in the world” must become very small. You must let go. Let go and yield into the mystery, where there is no “I”, there is no “this” and “that”. When you wake in the morning, you will feel refreshed. Where did this energy come from? If you try to watch, you’ll miss it! You can only gain this energy by “not being there”. By allowing the movement of the Heart-mind, the sense of “I”, to become very small. The energy comes from what we call the “internal connection”. The very nature of this connection is hidden.

For the tree, bare branches on the outside, snow on the ground, energy underground, hidden in the root.

For the human, the mystery of old age.

This “hidden” phase of nature is a part of all the cycles. It is the source, the root, the beginning and end and continuation.

 

Our culture

Our science is explicity based on the “visible”, the “seen”, the “knowable”. Our science hasn’t yet included this hidden phase into a cyclical understanding of nature.

Perhaps linked with this, our culture venerates youth and achievement and growth and productivity. The “Yang” phase.

We lack a view, a language, a love and appreciation of the whole other side of the cycle. From the top-most point of exchange with the “outside”, the return to the root is often expressed as a decline, a decay, somewhat almost as a failure.

 

Do you feel this?

It’s time for a new narrative. More accurately, it’s time to reclaim an old narrative, an ancient story.

Here’s the question to contemplate – at “midday” you are giving to the world in terms of your speech and actions. You are also bringing in something – external energy in the form of food and drink. Combined with the external energy from breath and then from the “internal connection” of sleep, you can have another day, another cycle. Bringing in from nature, connecting, replenishing, then expressing your form outwardly. The same cycle repeats, again and again.

So in terms of the cycle of your whole lifespan, at menopause you are in autumn. No longer growing towards the outside, now changing course, energy heading within.

What is coming along with that movement, from the outside?

The tree has generated energy through photosynthesis, bringing this back to nourish the root.

What are you bringing back?

Knowledge? Experience? Wisdom? Self-awareness? Appreciation?

 

The “Sandwich Generation”

Maybe at this time of your life you’ve got teenagers to care for, or grandchildren, alongside working and ensuring your nest egg will see you through retirement, alongside caring for ageing parents… a lot of energy being used on the “outside”.

This is the challenge for women in our culture who are in the menopause phase of life. More people to care for now than ever before, or more intense caring, coupled with an ancient biological imperative to turn inwards.

Could this be the start of some of these “symptoms” that we pathologise as an inevitable part of the menopause experience?

And if so, then how to reframe, so that the challenges of this phase of life do not overwhelm you?

 

The jigsaw puzzle

Each one of us is a jigsaw puzzle. There’s no simple answer to these kinds of questions.

However, the questions are important.

If these questions resonate with you, and you would like to explore a more wholesome, nurturing journey through your menopause years, then I’d be delighted to talk to you and let you know what I can offer.

You can request a 15-minute free consultation or contact me to book an initial consultation and treatment.

 


Reference

(1) Doubova, SV, C. Infante-Castañeda, C, Martinez-Vega, I, Pérez-Cuevas, R. Toward healthy aging through empowering self-care during the climacteric stage. Climeractic. 2012;15:563-572.

Other resources

Rita Charon, MD. Narrative Medicine: A Model for Empathy, Reflection, Profession, and Trust. JAMA. 2001;286(15):1897-1902.

Befus D, Coeytaux RR, Goldstein KM, McDuffie JR, Shepherd-Banigan M, Goode AP, Kosinski A, Van Noord MG, Adam SS, Masilamani V, Nagi A, Williams JW Jr. Management of menopause symptoms with acupuncture: An umbrella systematic review and meta-analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Jan 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Image credit: Antonio Grosz on Unsplash

 

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Your fertility story – where did you come from, and where are you going?

Your fertility story

Where did you come from?

According to that “facts of life book”, you came from your parents!

But where did each one of your parents come from?

From their parents, of course. And where did they come from?

From their parents,

and their parents,

and their parents…

At some point you may lose track of the names of the people who came before you. They were all the parents of the parents of the parents that eventually became your parents. How far back in time do they go?

All of these living human beings, reaching far back from that place in time, all the way through to you, today – all are part of a continuous thread of life that extends so far that nobody alive now knows anymore who was there.

Imagine all of those generations ago – people eating, people sleeping, people worrying about things, rejoicing, planting and harvesting… The sun going up, the sun going down, the seasons changing through the years… This is your legacy. You belong to all of that.

This is all YOUR history. All of those people have lived before you, and because they lived, you have your life today.

Chinese medicine takes the long view – your fertility is a voice in the chorus of the unbroken expression of life unfolding through the generations. The power of those people has been passed on through you, and the power of nature is all around and within you. The view of the universe unfolding into the future through you – embedded within nature, within the continuum of life, is the underlying framework of Chinese medicine.

 

And where are you going?

When you decided to have a baby, what was your original dream?

Was it “a family” that you wanted? Do you love babies in particular? Did you imagine how it would feel to be a great grand-parent, surrounded by people who are all descended from you and your partner? Did you imagine having a close bond with a teenager, or enjoying a coffee with your grown-up child?

Whatever your original idea, take a moment now to really recall it well, bring it alive in your mind, your heart. Take some time to feel your dream.

This is where you are going.

That original inspiring thought – can you notice how you feel when that’s really alive in you?

Do you feel hopeful? Happy? Trusting? And will you dare to let yourself feel this, right now?

If you’ve been at this fertility thing for a while, you may have started doing what I call “spiralling in”. You may have dreamed about being a grandparent, but as the months go by, not seeing success, you start thinking about simply being a parent. You notice people out with their children in the playground and just wish for that. Then as time goes by, maybe you’re noticing the babies. Just a baby is all you’re asking for. Then it’s the pregnant bellies, just let me be pregnant. And then it’s the pregnancy test – just let me see those two lines or get that phone call from the nurse.

From your original dream, your inspiration, have you started “spiralling in”? Have you felt yourself pulled in towards the yes/no, yes/no – up/down, up/down – am I, or aren’t I this month…

When you’re spiralling-in, how does it feel? Tight? Restricted? Anxious?

Now draw your awareness back to your inspiration – could you feel the expansiveness of that thought? Will you let yourself feel that way again? If you can feel it now, how is it feeling in your body? Light? Open? Like you can take a deep breath?

Did you feel a moment of peace, a moment of calm? Know that this peace, this calm, is always available to you, just beneath the thoughts on the surface.

Write yourself a little note, or draw yourself a picture, to remind yourself of YOUR inspiring dream. Put that note somewhere that you can reach for it any time you are feeling tight, constricted or like you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Remind yourself – this is where I’m going.

And then breathe, and smile to yourself – and let yourself feel your peace, your calm.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fertility | Meditation and support program

Circle+Bloom

 

 

Circle + Bloom is a meditation program to help your fertility:

  • Natural fertility
  • IVF and other assisted reproduction
  • Pregnancy and birthing
  • Other women’s health and general health issues like PCOS, sleep and energy

 

The programs help you enter into a relaxed state and contain helpful information and visualisations to help you connect with the physical aspects of your fertility experienced in a calm and empowered way.

 

It may suit you if

You are looking to gain information to feel reassured but feel overwhelmed and stressed every time you read books or articles on the internet, this program will likely suit you really well. It helps you understand issues such as your ovulation cycle through the relaxation state, using breathing and visualisations.

 

It may not suit you if

You have a lot of knowledge already and are looking for a way to tune into a deeper level of pure relaxation without any content about the fertility process. You may prefer a general meditation program (browse on iTunes) or a Three-Principles approach instead, in order to access your own inner state of calm and wisdom.

 

 

 

I do not receive affiliate payments from any recommendations on this site.

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