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Archive for March, 2014

Answer: Whatever your heart desires!

How do you manifest that?? Read on. . .

galloping-horse-1We are in the year of the Horse, and it’s a Wood Yang horse. Wood is the element of spring, upward moving, fast and Yang is outward, upward, moving fast (as compared to yin, which is receptive, inward, slow) – to simplify.

This Horse year, according to Chinese astrology experts (which I am not, but I am an avid follower!), is going to be a Promethean, fast-paced gallop. Following 5 years of dissolution, of breaking down and disseminating (two years of Water and one of Earth) this Wood Yang energy is a huge energetic shift, the most dramatic in the last 60 year-cycle of Chinese astrology. In this system, there are 12 years corresponding to 12 animals – instead of 12 months, which correspond to 12 mythological signs, (which name 12 constellations of stars in the sky) as occurs in western astrology.

In addition, in the Chinese astrological system, each year or animal is linked to one of the 5 elements (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) and also to yin or yang. So, this year is the Horse, the element of Wood, and Yang.

Now to the weather. . .in the northeast US, we have had a dramatic cold snow-filled winter and our early spring holds the same. As I described in my last blog, Get out Jail Free, the feelings and emotions connected to the Wood element, Spring, can be anger, frustration, impatience. It’s time to move, and sometimes we just cannot do that – either we are snowbound, or it’s just too cold to be out and about, or the spring cleaning tasks of gardening and property maintenance are just not happening. We feel STUCK! But . . . if this galloping horse year 2014 – which started January 31st 2014 – holds this amazing energetic propulsion shift, then wouldn’t it make sense to start from a refreshed, rejuvenated state of being?

As always, we have choice – we can choose to be in a state of anger or impatience, we can choose to use the time to rest up or attend to more foundational actions, we can choose to just tune out and ignore it all, we can choose to wisely look through our lives and dream and plant seeds, visualizing our future desires in the upcoming year.

Perhaps to concretize, to make physical this energetic ritual of dreaming and visioning, you may want to – literally – plant some seeds. A pot or two in a sunny window, planting the seeds for a flowering plant or an herb – this type of action gives form to idea.

You could also consider making this easy, refreshing, chia seed pudding. Gluten-free, loaded with calcium and omega-3s, protein, vitamins and minerals, these tiny nutrition-dense seeds were used by the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans as a staple of their diet and as an energy food. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and they were known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance.

Perfect food for this galloping Wood Yang Horse Year!

CHIA SEED PUDDING with Mango Berry Compote

galloping-horse-3serves 2

4 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk*
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch or 2 of salt

* use any coconut milk that comes in cow milk-type cartons, not canned or septic cartons, so as to avoid BPA exposures

In a small bowl or jar combine the first four ingredients. Give it a good stir and refrigerate for at least one hour. After the
first thirty minutes give the mixture a stir, so it doesn’t clump together.

Fruit Compote Topping

1 mango, peeled and cubed

Heat gently in saucepan, breaking up cubes to make a soft consistency.
Remove from heat.
Add a cup or two of frozen, organic berry mix – stir gently
galloping-horse-2
When pudding is ready, spoon into separate bowls or containers (clear glass, even jelly jars are nice to see the colors) and add the compote on top

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GET OUT OF JAIL FREE

Aaah ’tis spring …. and what is one clue to its arrival? The increase in FUs and car honkings at road intersections!

Impatience is in the air … this anticipatory ‘We’re Almost There …. but then again not’ hovering all around. The sap in the trees, having been underground since its descent in the fall, is moving up up up – and then stops with the cold, and then moves up when the sun shines. A staccato jazz rhythm in each and every tree. And that’s our rhythm, as humans, as creatures in the spring.

We are climactic beings … no matter how 24/7, indoor, urban we may choose to live. After the dormancy of winter, which we may have chosen to ignore (in our 24/7, indoor even urban lifestyle), this rising up of energy, of season is all around. In my treatment room, everyone’s pulses express variations of that same rhythm – coming and going, a little tight then relaxed, staccato.

photo 2In the Chinese taoist paradigm of 5 elements / 5 seasons (late summer considered the 5th), spring is the element of Wood. We’ve actually been in Wood, in Spring since around the equinox, with the increase in daylight. Wood is forward and UPWARD moving, yang, a no-holds-barred energetic.

There are 5 elements, 5 seasons, 5 spirits. Each of the elements / seasons has primarily two organ systems associated with it (one yin, one yang) and each yin organ is associated with a spirit. It’s an all-inclusive, body/ mind / spirit system of looking at human beings.

Wood is the terrain of the Liver and the Gallbladder organ system energetics. Our Liver houses the spirit of The Hun – the dreamer, the visionary, the one who sees the big picture. Literally, the Hun is the dreamer – at night when we sleep, it flies out and visits the beyond, the universal spirit, communicates with it and then returns to us, giving messages coded in dreams.

Each of the elements has an emotional component and anger is associated with Wood, with the Liver functioning particularly. Why? Because the Liver is associated with the smooth flow of qi (energy) in the body. Sometimes it’s a rocky road. And that can be frustrating. Maddening. Aggravating. If it’s not smooth. Which it rarely is all the time. The upside of anger is righteous outrage – the feeling that inspires activists to create change in our society, for example.

Typical of the spring season, it’s a bit push me / pull me – 70* one day, snow the next (in northern US, other climates have their own versions of course). With the Liver (and Gallbladder) being the predominating organ systems during spring, we naturally have this vision or dream of new beginnings, clearing the old debris out of our way. We want to move move move. Yes, it’s cabin fever, yes it’s boredom from the long cold winter and yes it is perfectly, wonderfully and magically part of the cycle of life. This is the Tao of the seasons, which cycle again and again, the same yet different, returning each year of our many lives (if you believe in earthly re-incarnation).

The other day, my teen age daughter and I got into a screaming fight over An Issue typical to teens and moms (housework chores). It escalated to a speedy and take-all-prisoners velocity. “That’s it!!” I heard myself yell. “Now you’re grounded! One week!” She yelled back. “Ok, make that TWO WEEKS!!”

Really? I almost had to laugh mid-argument (though I wasn’t in the mood) as it was that surreal, on both our parts.

I drove her to an outing, daggers of silence in the car.photo 1

How do I extricate myself from this one? Without blame or letting go of my intention (contributing to a clean house)? I am not a “you’re grounded!” parent, that just came out. ….. hmmmm ….. PING!!! an idea presented itself. I will give her a GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE card!!!

Getoutofjail-photoI wrote up my one version, wrapped it up in a beautiful blue Tiffany box (crossing out the Tiffany so as not to disappoint) … VOILA!!! Saved the day, saved face, for both of us.

So, consider creating a few GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE cards for yourself, your loved ones, your not-so-loved ones. Anger and resentments are pretty nasty prisons to be stuck in.

So – sigh, release, open the gates … give yourself, and the rest of us, a well-deserved break.

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treeThe best spring tonic is in your backyard! Find a maple tree and purchase a spile or spout, a sap bucket or bag (or be creative connect a plastic unused paint bucket and aluminum foil) and tap the tree for this mineral-rich, healthy drink.

The common way to tap a tree is to drill a hole in the lower trunk, angled slightly upwards. From the Cornell cooperative extension pdf online (see link for further details): “Tapholes should be drilled when temperatures are above freezing to reduce the risk of damage to the tree. Use a 7/16 inch diameter drill (available from hardware stores or maple equipment dealers) in a hand brace or breast drill. Drill into the trunk of the tree in an area that contains sound wood (free of scars, wounds, or older tapholes). …. Drill 2 to 2 1/2 inches into the tree at a slight upward angle to facilitate flow of sap.”

Tapping doesn’t t harm the tree – but remove the spile or spout when finished. Read the Cornell PDF for more info.

glass-sap2Use the sap to drink as is, heat for tea, use in making oatmeal. Even though it looks like plain water, you will taste a subtle maple flavor. This is not maple syrup, which requires a 40 to 1 ratio – meaning it takes 40 quarts of sap to boil down to 1 quart of maple syrup. That is a lengthy and detailed production, best done outdoors.

Other trees to tap-
Black walnut
Birch – which flows after the maple trees have stopped, so you re-use your equipment
Tap the sap and enjoy they benefits of this healthy spring tonic.

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Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. And then hydrate again. And follow some of these simple tips below to help moisten and replenish this almost-post-winter condition.


NETI POT

Neti Pot


If you use a neti pot, take it out. If you do not, consider purchasing one at any local health food store.

Go to my website www.ThereseSibonAcupuncture.com under Self Care – look for instructions on how to use a neti pot.

Be patient at first, and stick with it. This is an amazingly beneficial way to keep your sinuses hydrated and to protect your immune system from germs and viruses.


BATHS

Take long, luxurious baths, adding in Epsom salts.

bathtub

For an additional health benefit (physical, mental and spiritual), add in some essential oils to the salts before putting in the bath water. This slows down their evaporation. Thyme oil is perfect for strengthening the immune system, lavender is great to add in as well. They make a lovely combination.


HUMIDIFIERS

If you have humidifiers, keep them running! If not, maybe it’s an end-of-season sale item to  purchase?


WATER

Drink it. A lot. Some people like the standard 8 glasses. Sometimes halving your weight in ounces is a marker. For instance, if you weigh 120 pounds, that’s 120 ounces, cut in half is 60 divide by 8 – that’s 7 1/2 cups. Another way is to look at the color of your urine when you pee – if it’s fairly clear, you’re on the right track. Of course, meds and supplements make alter the color, so keep that in mind.

Consider NOT using ice – the body is, normally, 98º – if you drink iced water, your body has to work hard at bringing the temperature from freezing back up to its norm of 98º. Why make it work? Also, it is not good for digestion. Oftentimes, drinking warm water can soothe digestive upset.

Just make sure you drink water pretty consistently throughout the day. Other fluids are great, but get in your plain old H20! It’s a great way to re-energize during an afternoon slump.


PEARS as DIETARY THERAPY

pearsHere’s a simple, excellent recipe to moisten your throat and provide yin support. Yin represents what we need to remain hydrated – yin is moistening, cooling, dark, introverted, quiescent, receiving, embracing. The energy of winter, the element of Water.

Yang, on the other hand, represents the energy that is light, heating, extroverted, active, forward-moving. The energy of spring, the element of Wood.

Pears are known in Chinese medicine dietary therapy to moisten the lungs – which we have dried out after much indoor forced air heat. It is not surprising that I see many people in my practice with a hacking cough they cannot quite shake. These dry conditions can also lead to dry skin and a dry, scratchy throat. Listening to people’s voices, here in the northeast, there is a low, sort of groaning quality to the sound in this moment. Pears will help all of that. Deliciously.

SPICED PEARS with COCONUT OIL

4 servings

INGREDIENTS

apples

4 pears – core and cut up in large pieces, unpeeled Anjou, Red, Asian pears are great. Bosc are fine as well, though not as moist a fruit as the others
Spices
cinnamon stick (or powdered)
fresh ginger – could use powdered, but I highly recommend fresh
cardamon seeds – if you like them – crush them a bit to release the seed from the pods

METHOD

In a saucepan, place the pears and spices and some water to cover. Cook over low heat, til pears are soft.

Remove from heat. Add in a few tablespoons coconut oil, to taste.

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