With an Extraordinary Year, It’s Time to Use the 8 Extraordinary Channels

Have you ever found yourself driving along a highway? The road stretches out in front of you and disappears into the horizon, almost lulling you to sleep. You press into the gas a little more, going a little too fast, but no one is on this highway. You stop thinking about driving and start thinking about your life. No longer paying attention to the road, you hit a bend in the road. The sudden pull of the car as it tries to break from the trajectory you’ve given it pulls you immediately back to your place behind the wheel. And for a road that hasn’t seen any traffic for the last 30 miles, suddenly there is a truck in the other lane bearing down on you.

That’s kind of what this year feels like.

It’s like I was in the middle of a great dream, and someone is shaking me awake and screaming, “Wake up, wake up, the house is on fire!”

2020 is like being in the midst of some significant change, some enormous societal change. It’s a change that has been coming for some time, and there is no way to change the course. It’s pressing an overwhelming emotional force on every individual I know.

In Chinese Medicine, the 12 primary channels are well-known. They consist of the major organs like the heart, the lungs, the stomach.

Every time we have an experience in life, we have to process the experience and incorporate it into our psyche. That’s the job of the 12 primary channels. Check out my blog on the heart, “Chinese Medicine, the Heart and How to Avoid Chaos

But, there are another set of channels called the 8 extraordinary channels. When life experiences have become too much or have lasted for a long time, the experience can become overwhelming.

The pandemic is an excellent example of life experiences becoming overwhelming. An overwhelming experience is no longer able to be handled at the primary channel level. Many different experiences can become overwhelming. Just look at those situations that are considered major life events such as a divorce, losing a job, homelessness, moving, getting married, being a caregiver. Then there are the emotional scars from abuse, such as everything that can cause PTSD.

Some of the hallmarks of an overwhelming experience are it is unknown. Covid-19 has many unknowns, including when it will end. Another hallmark is the situation is a threat to personal survival. Here again, this virus has decimated the financial stability of millions of people in the United States. Not only financial stability, but it has an inconsistent side that threatens the lives of individuals. As the pandemic continues to threaten personal survival and family self-preservation, individuals become more frayed and run down. There can be a sensation of being powerless and trapped, leading to feelings of hopelessness.

These overwhelming types of experiences have a tendency to get trapped in our bodies and our psyche. Daily activities become difficult to manage. It becomes more challenging to sleep. Your emotions start taking more control of your interactions and your life. Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, grief, brooding can become your daily drivers making it difficult to accomplish things.

How would you treat this? Well, all your traditional coping skills are probably taxed. Your traditional coping skills are like primary channels. Usually, they can handle all of life’s stressors. But, when faced with an overwhelming experience, coping skills get maxed out. That is when you use the 8 extraordinary channels. What are the 8 extraordinary channels?

The 8 extraordinary channels existed before you were born. The Chong mai starts with the zygote. When the zygote splits, the Du and Ren mai are created. The egg splits again, creating the Dai mai. Splitting one more time and the other four channels are created.

So, these channels were the start of you before you were interacting with the world. That would make them seem to be more you than your primary channels. In Chinese Medicine, when you get overwhelmed, the extraordinary channels can be used to siphon off and store some extra trauma.

Experiences and trauma at this level can be a little different than at the primary channel level. Here, it makes an impact on your personality and changes your outlook. You know, one of the things I’ve been hearing is hopelessness. As the pandemic drags on and more and more stress is shoveled on top of individuals, hopelessness starts to crop up. Hopelessness is a belief that is getting changed at the 8 extraordinary level, which means it will change your outlook on life.

And I’ve talked about how our beliefs create our world and why it is so important to own and manage your thought processes. My blog, “Karma Free Zone,” and my vlog, “Understanding The Laws of Karma – the First Step to Finding Your True Self,” are two opportunities to learn more about managing your thought processes.

There are other ways to identify if your situation has passed the point of simple management at the primary channel level. It’s not just that it is a belief. You are experiencing the same outcome over and over, even though you want a different result. Or, you may be dealing with some chronic issues like autoimmune diseases or long-term difficulty in sleeping. Things are happening in your life that you just can’t seem to get around.

Yet, as everyone started hitting quarantine fatigue, I noticed the emotional stress had begun to take on a whole new direction in the office. Clients were showing less resilience. They were having a hard time finding direction and were feeling stuck. Some were feeling like they were perched on a precipice, wondering when they would be pushed off. Others were experiencing a low-level nervousness that they couldn’t shake. Sleep was becoming a big issue, and staying motivated was challenging.

These were all signs that what is being experienced today is getting too complicated to manage. That’s the thing about overwhelming experiences. They have the opportunity to change how you interact with the world. Not all of it is good. So, suppose you are feeling stuck in your current coping mechanisms or treatments and need to find another solution. In that case, 8 extraordinary treatments to overcome the stories and the stuckness may be an option.

October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the Source of Disease

Some of you know, breast cancer has a special place in my heart. Both my mother and sister were breast cancer survivors. My sister lost her fight with breast cancer in 2018, and a month later, my mother passed due to complications from a brain bleed. 

Before I go much farther, I want to point you to two breast cancer organizations I support. The first is in memory of my sister, “Friends of Lisa.” This organization helps get my sister’s daughter through college! Thank-you to the amazing community that was part of my sister.

The second is “Casting for Recovery” This organization focuses on providing outdoor, fly fishing excursions with other survivors wholly funded by donations from people like you and me! Most of you are aware; finances can become a critical issue when battling any cancer. This is an excellent opportunity for survivors to feel special and relax. 

So, for all of you who are helping with your hard-earned dollars, thank-you!

I thought I would share a little about disease theory in Chinese medicine related to breast cancer. I have a two-part series on my Youtube channel, introducing you to one of your “Sacred Keys.” Sacred Keys are things in your universe that allow you the opportunity to pull back the curtain and see what makes you tick. The series goes into the Sacred Key in more depth and gives you exercises to start helping you unlock that door. 

Why I even bring that up, is because disease theory in Chinese Medicine outlines where the disease originated and a generalized outline of what may have started the disease. Yet, for every individual, this generalized outline is just that, a generalized outline. 

It’s like saying, “Oh, you’re looking for Mount Rushmore? Yeah, that’s located in the United States.” That is what a generalized theory is. It would be more helpful to say, “That is located in South Dakota in the United States.” Even more helpful would be to say, “It’s in the Black Hills region of South Dakota outside of a town called Keystone.”

You get the picture.

One of the more common causes of breast cancer in Chinese Medicine is pathology in the liver and gall bladder channel. The gall bladder channel travels along the breast’s side, and the liver channel travels beneath the breast.  

Both these channels and their relationship with the triple warmer seem to develop with my breast cancer patients. Repressed emotions take a large piece of their soul. Anger, frustration, resentment, depression can all play a role in their disease.

The emotions may be combined with poor eating choices. To be real, it’s challenging to have good eating choices today due to the highly processed nature of all our foods. Yet, poor food choices can leave you nutrient deficient. The liver is dependant on calcium to detox the body, and one of the more common nutrients that becomes deficient is calcium. Poor food choices can also help fill you up with preservatives and other toxins. 

But going back to the emotions, the emotions of anger, frustration, resentment, depression need a source. That’s why I say the diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is very broad. The source becomes very specific to you.

Reading the words of anger, frustration, resentment, depression, you can probably point to a potential cause. Depression could be tied into a self-worth concern or an inability to succeed. Frustration could be due to feeling powerless. Resentment could be feeling you are facing things other people don’t have to face. Anger could be due to feelings of being abused or unjust losses. Everyone’s source has a particular flavor that is all about them.

This flavor begins to tarnish your life. And I say “tarnish” because it does take the shine off your world. You can see or feel this tarnish in your aura. It comes out almost like a brown. 

There is an effort in Daoism to let the world flow past you without causing any disruptions in your flow. For me, that is really hard to do because I’m attached to many things in the world. The problem with emotions is they mark an attachment in the world. It’s not that Daoism says this attachment is wrong. What Daoism says is attachment stunts your internal growth. You can’t grow beyond your attachment.

With Covid-19, I’ve been watching my office bookings and managing insurance, very heart channel things. I was talking to a client this morning. We were talking about some of the research on Covid-19. They made an interesting observation. 

“It’s almost like the world is trying to reduce the population.” When I thought about that and the amount of effort I was putting into ensuring client bookings and insurance payments, the office suddenly looked like nonsense. If I was to die tomorrow, all this meant nothing. I finally found that point of internal Daoism with my practice.  

That also helped me see how very personal disease is for each individual. The disease manifests not only because of an emotion. The emotion is rooted in something that has high value to you. 

When I was a kid, my little brother accidentally ran his bicycle into my Dad’s friend’s vehicle. It left a scratch and a dent. As payment, my little brother had to give my Dad’s friend something my brother found valuable. My brother had hot wheels and just loved them. He gave away his favorite hot wheel. I can remember my brother’s face when he gave the little toy car away. It was a mixture of longing and regret. The lesson made an impression on me, and I was impressed with my little brother’s integrity, commitment, and understanding of value. 

Yet, every day, disease asks you to make that decision and give up something you find valuable in exchange for you. It sounds really simple when I say it like that, but it isn’t. Disease could leave you questioning survival needs, love, safety needs, abandonment. Being human is complicated, and I’m not that perfect Daoist who has figured out how to detach from all attachments. 

Yet, trying to figure out what that thing is that we find valuable can be the most challenging part of the exercise. It’s the same exploration involved in finding Karma. What is the story you are telling yourself? And don’t count on everyone else being able to see your story. They may see your behaviors and completely misunderstand the cause of the action. The easiest way to know when that is happening is you are sure what they say has nothing to do with you. 

In episode 2 of Finding Balance, Sacred Key, you can find tools to help you find that inner story playing in your head. As a special gift to you if you’re struggling with chemo-induced neuropathy, check out my episode on “Natural Remedies to Stop the Progression of Chemo Induced Neuropathy.” Good-luck on your journey. I’ll catch you on the other side! 

Five Great Reasons Why Water Should Be the Most Popular Person Right Now

There hasn’t been a better time to be a person who has a Kidney constitution than right now. All the chaos happening in the world is ripe for the strengths and resilience of someone with a Kidney constitution. This also makes them great to have as a friend. What are these amazing strengths?

In Chinese Medicine, Water is the representation of the Kidney channel. Every quality of water has the potential to be expressed in people with a Kidney constitution. The qualities make water the most appropriate element to help us through the chaos and upheaval we are experiencing. Here are five impressive traits that a Kidney constitution could have and why their friendships are essential right now.

A balanced Kidney channel exhibits wisdom and patience, and understanding. I’ve been listening to motivational speakers and spiritual leaders because I’m seeking guidance in the chaos. I’m looking for a little piece of serenity in a world that is imploding into civil conflict. Sometimes it only takes one word from one wiser than me to change my direction.

Water can cool off a hot situation. Out of all molecules on earth, water has the highest heat capacity, which means that water can consume a lot of heat before getting warmer. Water can absorb 11x the heat copper can before increasing 1 degree. In situations of tension and strife, the Kidney person can diffuse and absorb the energy allowing a pathway for calmer minds. Each Kidney person has a particular way they do this, and being that diffusing a situation is one of their superpowers, people naturally follow them.

Water is considered a universal solvent. Through patience and perseverance, water can dissolve all the paraphernalia used to create the ego identity. Like rocks and stones are only the egos of sand posturing as mountains, even the most hardened rock, will dissolve under the constant vigilance of water.

Another superpower of water is the ability to be very still. There can be chaos happening on the surface, but sink into the depths of a lake, and you will find quiet and calm under the storm—the perfect place to rest.

Water has flexibility no other element has and can “separate the wheat from the chaff” or separate what is valuable from what is not. Water is always moving to the lowest point and gives no attention to obstacles because obstacles are chaff. Water finds ways around the obstruction without engaging the barrier and continues on the journey.

With these five killer traits, kidney people are my anchor in today’s turmoil. When I find myself angry and fraught with frustration, a kidney person can distract me with humor. When I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, the kidney person helps me remember a new birth is always messy. When I’m just exasperated and tired of it all, the kidney person lets me sit with them and find that quietness in their presence. When I’m spiraling into distraction, the kidney person reminds me of my goal and that some people are jerks.

Why Fear Should be Your First Focus

Who knew Chinese Medicine could completely change how you see the world? I work with Chinese Medicine and have been using Classical Chinese Medicine to help people improve their internal dialogue and transform their daily interactions. They are the bravest people I know. Sometimes, to change your outlook on life, you have to face your darkest fear.

I know – you don’t have a dark fear. Your life is good. You feel sorry for those people who have these dark fears and realize they must have come from a very troubled house. 

To be afraid of something can be a healthy response. In fact, celebrated when the response keeps you safe. What happens when fear isn’t a response to something that can harm you but is a reaction to a current event? What happens when fear is the internal emotional turbulence which affects your interactions with others and not your physical safety?

It made me think of how we communicate. I thought about the verbal and physical body language. When I started working with Classical Chinese Medicine to bring your internal dialogue back into harmony, I became captivated with communication.  

You have a family where you were taught behaviors, emotions, community, and more. These experiences and learnings you applied outside your family and found friends and relationships based on what you learned growing up.  

I worked in large Corporations. I moved and traveled a lot. Finally, travel became exhausting. At first, it had been an exciting experience of different social and cultural norms, different ways of communication, different expectations. After years, I found it draining and stressful. When I made my last move, I remember looking for a location with people who had similar values to where I grew up without the snow. 

When my husband and I finally met, I was tired of the dating scene, the bar scene, and the lack of connection. The lack of connection was probably the biggest concern. If you can’t connect, how can you be understood? If you can’t connect, how can you recognize somebody? 

The whole world is based on interactions. Everything is this noisy box of you reaching out to connect and reacting to your interpretation of the feedback. You change behaviors or environments to attain the most emotionally pleasing response. And you rinse and repeat.

These experiences taught me communication was more than words and body language. Part of the conversation was discounted. Part of what happens in communication was social norms, shared experiences, social conduct, and cultural expectations. Yet, when I was looking for something familiar, what I was really looking for was the ability to connect. I was looking for a connection based on prior experience. And all my previous experiences created my internal dialogue.

So, the most emotionally pleasing response was not necessarily a good one.

I had a client who had to give presentations. He had thought he was horrible at giving presentations, and he wasn’t valuable enough to speak to other people. This would cause him nervous anxiety. He would sweat and shake, and it would take over his mind. Though what he was thinking was not reflected from the outside world, he couldn’t see that. His prior experiences had created an internal perception of himself that he could not give up. And then his mind started taking over. The brain does that. If the lesson was you are not valuable enough, but your outside environment is not reflecting back that information, there is disbelief. The disbelief encourages the internal chatter to increase until you overcome or succumb. 

Most times we succumb and continue to live a life we don’t want to live.

I think the people I work with are the bravest people I know. When you want to change, you have to face these internal demons or acknowledge they exist. This chatter that you learned from your youth insidiously plays in your head. The chatter is background noise that keeps playing over and over. It’s your self-judgment and self-criticism. It says things like I can’t do that. I’m not worth that. I’m not that. The talk is so entrenched in your psyche that you don’t even hear it anymore. Still, every one of your interactions is tuned in and ensures you stay in the role created in your head.

By seeking what is familiar, you are guaranteed to play out the role you are playing in your head.  

I had another client who finally left a horrible relationship and found a fantastic partner. Not an easy thing to do. But, even with a great partner, the internal dialogue played its insidious tune in the back of their mind, “You are not worth this relationship. They will leave you. It’s not safe…” It was scary to be so vulnerable. It was scary to find yourself in a position that actually challenged your internal dialogue. It was frightening to go after a connection you really wanted because if that failed, would it prove all your worse inner beliefs about yourself?

These thoughts are life-threatening because you can’t get away from yourself. So, they can destroy your life. 

When faced with something life-threatening, you get busy. Busy, busy, busy, so you don’t have to hear that little voice in the back of your mind scaring you. You work really hard to stop hearing that voice. And the endless activity is part of the destructive sequence of finally succumbing to your past and seeking something familiar. 

Why this ultimately becomes destructive is by being busy you are avoiding the “problem.” You are trying to repress the fear. Fear is uncomfortable, so who wouldn’t want to suppress that? In Chinese Medicine, when you try to avoid examining an emotion, it causes energy to block in your body. The energy is blocked, but the feeling doesn’t go away. Instead, it gets bigger and bigger. Like a river flowing to a dam, the water doesn’t stop, and the dam creates a pond, then a lake, then an ocean. Finally, it breaks the barrier and causes massive flooding downstream.

When your dam breaks, you retreat from the thing that is causing you the discomfort and seek more familiar shores. Every time you reach for what you really want, you are challenging what you were taught to believe about yourself. You are stepping out of your safety zone of what is known and entering into a free fall. Can you trust yourself enough to know you will survive?

Dams are managed because without letting water out in controlled spills, the water will destroy the dam.

For you to change your world and obtain a bigger and better life, you have to face your internal fears in controlled bursts. Fear is the problem. The fear may be a belief that acknowledging what your inner dialogue is saying about you will make it true. That is not what happens. By avoiding your internal dialogue, you create the energetic back-up, which will ultimately destroy your dam and your chance of changing. By hearing your inner talk, you allow the tremendous internal sadness that has attached to each one of those self-judgments and criticisms to be released from you. You allow yourself the opportunity to be present in the current moment instead of the past. 

One of the beauties of Chinese Medicine is its ability to identify the blocks and help open the gates allowing the stream of emotions to come through in a safe environment. You can see these emotions in their raw presentation, without fear, and they become understandable and lose their power to control you.

Other things help you face your fear. Meditation can allow your mind to release the fear. Writing will enable you to free form and find a way to your own answers. Friends, counseling, music, positive affirmations.

Fear that has no basis in our physical well-being has a basis in our mental well-being. My inner dialogue is my opportunity to change my world. Every day is an opportunity to face my fears. Finding what the fear is hiding is the puzzle. As soon as you can find what fear was hiding and acknowledge it, you release it.

Good-luck on your journey.

Halfway to Heaven and Earth, a roadmap to inner peace using the trinity and self-cultivation in Chinese Medicine

Not a day passes me by where I don’t think about my life, my spirituality and how to find greater inner peace. Each time I attain a new level of awakening and understanding I think to myself, “Ah, I’m here, I’ve finally made it.” As I sit and rest and look around, I find I’ve only removed part of my blindfold. Being able to see more clearly, I see new opportunities and new clarities. 

I can stop if I want. So, as you go on your journey to your own inner peace, remember you can stop at any time. Each step forward brings a more beautiful environment than the previous one. Stopping in a more beautiful place seems o.k. to do. 

What is the trinity of heaven-body-earth in Chinese Medicine? The trinity of heaven-body-earth is a Taoism principle and gives guidance on how to interact with the world. It is a roadmap to the city of inner peace. You don’t have to try and figure out how to get to inner peace or what it means. Instead, you can look at the roadmap, determine where you stand on the map and where to make your adjustments in your journey

I focus on the emotional and spiritual aspect of our lives in my practice…how to get to that inner buddha. So, I’m going to talk about a very narrow aspect of this trinity as it relates to our internal chatter and internal emotional environment. And I’m going to share with you some checks you can use on yourself to start identifying more informed choices for yourself.

In Chinese Medicine, the trinity helps define three realms of being a spiritual human. Heaven is your relationship to your identity, the body is your interaction with the world, and earth is your physical body. The three realms mark your existence and are not separate from each other. They are intertwined and happen simultaneously.   

Heaven is your identity or the inherent qualities of mind and character. The qualities change through interaction with other people, especially through your childhood interactions. 

To get more information on how Chinese Medicine sees this check out my Youtube video “Forgetting What We Were Taught” or “Using Chinese Medicine to Feel Normal Again” or my blog “Changing your life isn’t as mysterious as it sounds.”

 The body is your interaction with the world. Your choices to interact in one way or another. 

Earth is how your decisions impact your body.

In Chinese Medicine, there is always a yin and yang. You want to be at the point of balance between the two polar opposites. Let’s look at the point of balance for each of the three realms.

For heaven, balance is compassion. You can change your character with compassion. Without compassion, your personal faults are unforgivable. With compassion, anger and greed don’t take over. 

For the body, balance is wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to choose a course of action with the best positive impact. With wisdom, grudges don’t rule your activities. 

For earth, the point of balance is reason. Reason is the ability to use your mind to think and understand rationally what is happening. To see the situation clearly without resentments. 

Each of these three realms happens simultaneously and without any effort on your part. I was at dinner the other night and in a conversation when I noticed my internal dialogue was going off the charts. I realized it happens all the time. I was just quiet enough to hear it that time. 

But, we usually are not quiet. So, how can you become more aware of how your realms are doing? Ask yourself some simple questions.

  1. Heaven asks the question, “Is there any anger? How do I feel when people go against me?”
  2. The body asks, “Am I content? Do I show favoritism?”
  3. Earth asks, “How was my conduct and can I change something?”

Finding inner peace is about getting to know yourself in ways you haven’t previously discovered. It is a road that you must walk on your own. You will find guideposts to help you choose your direction. Guideposts are any resource you use to help you navigate through your journey. They can be gurus, practitioners, books, videos, conferences. Guideposts help your journey go faster because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

At any time, you can sit down and say, “I’m o.k. with here.”