By Dove Sprout, co-owner of Creston Acupuncture and Natural Health Centre
Right as I begin writing this article, I’d like to invite you to stop.
Are you breathing? Pause whatever you are doing (even reading this) just for a moment and notice what is happening with your breath, without trying to change anything. Just notice. Is it shallow, is it deep, is it limited to the top of your lungs or are you filling to the bottom of your lungs? Is it constricted or free-flowing? Just notice. Sending your awareness to your breath can be a simple way to shift to a more body aware state, if you are feeling caught up in the whirlwind of your thoughts. If your mind has control over you, just notice and breathe.
My understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) grows deeper as the years of practice build on one another. It’s a gradual unfolding and blossoming of insight that parallels the wisdom that living life can bring. This has been the lens which I have been blessed to view the world through. My observations are that many of us, myself included at moments, have been in a perpetual state of stress and fear, especially when considering current global events and a lifestyle that may seem busier than ever at a pace that seems unsustainable.
The energetics of stress cause our body systems to stop, to stagnate, to get stuck; and the energetics of fear pulls all of that stagnation into the deepest areas of our body. If we become attuned to our bodies, we may be able to catch this patterning while it is still in energetic (Qi) form. One of the fundamental principles of TCM is that “form follows Qi” and that “Qi flows where attention goes”, which is simply saying that the energetics happen first, and then structure (cells, blood, bone etc.) follows a physical, tangible pattern.
This is perhaps why when we are given a diagnosis of some condition, no matter what it is, it is often our response to that diagnosis that depicts the outcome. New areas of study are showing how powerful our minds and belief systems are. When we adopt certain beliefs and we feel them as truth, it is almost certain that whatever those beliefs are will be the outcome. We’ve all heard of miracle healings when it seemed as though there was no chance of survival, and conversely, we’ve all heard of those who did not even know they were sick but take a fast downward turn once they hear their prognosis. Or how during certain drug trials, some respond just as well with the placebo sugar pill as those who take the drug. We’ve got to wonder… how this is possible?
We are primarily energetic beings when broken down into even the smallest cellular components. Each and every cell in our bodies has its own vibrational frequency. If each of our thoughts and beliefs has its own vibrational frequency, then couldn’t it make sense that our cellular structure (form) begins to take shape around those thoughts and beliefs? This is also the theory behind such theories of the Universal Law of Attraction.
Ultimately, we do not have control over world events, but we can control how we react and respond which depicts how we feel. Sometimes it seems as though we are being led around by our emotions. In the moment you become aware of being lost in your emotions, that creates the opportunity to pause. You now have the space to set a new intention and to decide how you want to feel. If you want to keep on feeling exactly the same, then keep on doing what you have always done. Perhaps, you are in a beautiful flow with life. If things haven’t been going so well for you, then there’s power right in this exact moment to think of something that brings a little more joy into your life. Think of someone you love, or an experience that you want to have that fills you up with excitement at the pure thought of it.
This is something that can be done repetitively as each moment brings the opportunity to choose your response, choose your focal point, and bring some awareness to any given situation. If you can’t stop the rollercoaster of thoughts, you can focus on your breath. Your breath can send signals to your brain to relax. Generally, slow deep breaths calm you down; fast shallow breaths prepare you to run/fight. So choose how you want to feel, take that authentic power of choice, and use it to your advantage.
I’ve given a few examples, but this same concept can be applied to all external stimuli and experiences. For instance, what kind of media are you consuming and how does it make you feel? What kind of nutrition are you putting into your body? How are you moving your body? Pay attention, become attuned, and your thoughts and feelings will let you know if you’re on the right track.
If the only thing you get out of this article is to pay more attention to your breathing… then mission accomplished!
Dove Sprout and Paul Gaucher co-own and operate Creston Acupuncture & Natural Health Centre located in downtown Creston. For more information or to book an appointment with Dove, call the clinic at 250-428-0488. For further questions about what acupuncture and herbal medicine can treat, e-mail Dove at email@example.com or check out acupuncturecrestonbc.com.