“I’m Not Done,” Tucker 21

I have this handsome orange kitty named Tucker. He’s 21 years old. You know, in Chinese Medicine, they talk about the Fall of your life where you get to reap the rewards of the life you lived. I was watching Tucker the other day, sleeping in the window. He was passed out and very content. This was his life, and he was finally letting himself enjoy the Fall of his life.

I bring this up because it hasn’t been easy getting to 21. Tucker has cashed in on his nine lives. It started when he was 18 years old, and he started losing weight. Then he refused to eat, became constipated, and I just thought everything was done. As humans, we hear this from our doctor’s enough, “Oh, you’re getting older. These things happen.”

I have clients who refuse to go to their doctor because their doctor will tell them. “Oh, you know, you get knee pain when you’re older. Don’t be so active.” “You’re getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Yes, that is what happens when you get older.”

You know, in Chinese Medicine, these are not normal signs of aging. Because I’m talking about Tucker, if you want to get more input on how Chinese Medicine sees aging, check out my blog:

Anyways, that was what I was telling Tucker. Then my husband told me I had to do something because Tucker’s constipation was so bad. O.k., it’s always a little tricky figuring out what to do with animals because they don’t talk to you. They just look uncomfortable.

I looked at everything and thought about IBS and constipation and was able to pull something out of Chinese Medicine. The neat thing about animals is they respond so much faster than we do. It’s like they have these bodies that lack all the toxicity we are carrying around.

Sure enough, within one day, he responded and was feeling better. This meant that since I was treating him for IBS, he was sensitive to his food. I spent the next month testing out different foods to see which ones he could eat. Over the last couple of years, every once in a while, something would happen, and Tucker would look like he would pass, and my husband would ask me to do something, and I would.

The thing is, you can’t believe how stressful that is. I mean, I really feel obligated to fix Tucker. So, you know, I try something, and I obsess over it and micro-manage his responses and change things up based on what happened. It’s exhausting.

Well, last month his partner of 19 years, Monkey, finally called it quits. Monkey, another boy cat, was done. We wrapped him in a blanket and took him to the vet. Tucker followed us to the door as we left with his companion.

Monkey just laid with me. We stayed with Monkey, holding him and talking to him until he was long gone. Then we came home without Monkey. Tucker was at the door looking for Monkey. I think Tucker thought we would always be able to save them. But, you know that just isn’t real, and Tucker fell into a depression.

My husband and I were giving Tucker extra attention, and it was o.k., but losing Monkey seemed to have changed his desire to live. He slowed down on his eating. And then one day he didn’t eat. He was losing weight and looking haggard. My husband and I talked through this. I didn’t believe I could do anything this time because I couldn’t fix a broken heart.

The second day of not eating came and went. Memories of my mother stopping her eating came to mind. She decided she was done with life, and she stopped eating. I think I learned that, in the end, all the medicine in the world could help, but there is going to come a time when it will only be up to you to decide if you are going to live.

Tucker had made his decision, and my husband and I decided we could honor his wishes and take him to the vet. So, we bundled up the exhausted, emaciated companion of 21 years and headed to the car. I sat down in the car the closed the car door, swaddling Tucker in a soft blanket.

All of a sudden, Tucker woke up. This poor little cat who had been listless and lacking any interest in food woke up, started meowing and fighting to get out of the blanket. Clearly saying, “No.”

Back into the house, we went. I put him down, and he immediately demanded food and started eating. Afterward, he wandered back into the bedroom, jumped on the bed, found his favorite spot, laid down, and fell asleep, completely content.

Tucker decided he wasn’t done. Sure, he was 21, but he wasn’t throwing in the towel. The Fall of life can be the most rewarding and relaxing as you watch everything you’ve done in your life bloom. And that is where I found him that day passed out in front of the window basking in the sunlight, finally letting himself enjoy the life he has and has lived.

Judgment says more about the person than the situation

I was thinking about this today because my husband and I found a cute kitten hiding in our woodpile. My husband had noticed the little guy hanging around the house. He had tried to get close to the little guy, but the kitten was having none of it.

Well, the little guy, we’ll call him Smokie, was hungry enough to make it easy to catch him. He was really clean and well behaved, litter box trained with a good sense of boundaries. Whoever raised this kitten did it with love and respect and did a great job. A second similar kitten was found a few blocks from me.

I had wanted to post on our community chat to let the person know that this kitten and one other were safe and well taken care of and to thank them for doing such a great job of raising them. I hesitated because my community chat can be filled with judgment. I didn’t want to see my post overwhelmed with replies of what a jerk the person was and blah, blah, blah. Negativity overload!

So, I didn’t.

Many of you know, I lost my sister two days before her birthday in March of 2018. My mother passed a month later, in April of 2018. And, in June 2018, my horse passed. I was pretty shell-shocked.

Through this, I ran my business and saw clients. I had a new client who was a hairstylist. The only time she could get in was early morning – before my office hours. As a favor, I agreed to see her early.

Around the third appointment, I forgot I had booked her early. I woke up that morning and was overwhelmed with my grief of losing so much. I remember how sad I was. I was lost. I wanted to be alone.

I got ready for work thinking it was a typical day and trying to pull myself out of my funk. It is tough being in healthcare and giving to others when your tank is empty.

When I got to work, I heard the message on my answering machine. My client was upset. She was really upset. I immediately called her and tried to offer free products, taking care of her payments. She was having nothing to do with it. As far as she was concerned, I was unprofessional and had caused her significant injury. She was a very important person, and I had wasted her time(and let’s be real, many of us drop that attitude on others). I had the sneaking suspicion that judgment wasn’t going to be enough. She was going to want payback – vengeance.

Her husband had scheduled to come in that afternoon. I knew he wasn’t going to show up after the morning call with his wife. I expected her husband not to show nor call to cancel. For my small business, this is a big deal because the only thing I sell is my time. So, when a client books a slot, I can’t give it to another person. If they don’t show, I just lose that money and there is less money to pay overhead, employees, student loans, taxes and everything it takes to run a business.

My client’s vengeance would be that I deserved to have what she believed I had done to her – intentionally missed her appointment.

Well, that’s what happened. Her husband just didn’t show. I left her a message apologizing again. I never heard from her or her husband again.

I learned two things from that experience. First, that was the last time I made special arrangements for a client because if something went wrong, would we be grown enough to work through the problem?

The second was judgment says more about the person than the situation. She had made a judgment about what happened to her and acted on her judgment of the situation. You can either respond to situations based on your history or show a healthy curiosity about why I might have missed the appointment.

Even though the past no longer exists, it plays over and over in your head making you believe that every situation is the same situation from your past. It creates your playbook. That playbook judges what is happening and responds. I have a series on “Why does my Stomach Hurt?” which is starting production end of November 2020. It goes into this phenomenon from a Chinese Medical perspective.

Anyways, these types of playbooks create that kneejerk reaction to a situation and allow you to wonder, “Why does this always happen to me?” These kneejerk judgments and reactions that you can’t stop are an example of your past driving your future. My blog “Taking Back Your Power! How to Start Letting go of the Past and Moving On” talks to this. And when the story from your past is something that left you feeling hurt or powerless, the response is vengeance. You want to be able to tell the world you are no longer powerless.

Crazy, but I understood who she was because I grew up in a situation where I felt powerless and unsupported at times. Even today, experiences from my past lurk in my shadows.

The feeling of being powerless is the worse feeling. When confronted with a situation where I feel powerless, I feel that the need for vengeance.

Chinese Medicine is all about balance and two sides of the same coin. Being powerless is also being vulnerable…the out of balance side of vulnerable. In Chinese Medicine, everything has a point of perfect balance. Vulnerability in perfect balance is love. Vulnerability out of balance is powerlessness. And, when someone has experienced the out of balance side of vulnerability for too long, the ability to experience unconditional love can be foreign along with compassion.

So, judgment says more about the person than the situation. Everyone will experience judgment differently. Not everyone gets to experience the situation I experienced, in Chinese Medicine you experience life based on the law of attraction. The world brings a mirror into your life every day. Each day is an opportunity to find another piece of yourself through your interactions with others. She was my opportunity to see myself. It could have happened at a less traumatic time in my life. But hey, life doesn’t wait for you. I have another blog post, “Learn to Remember What You Want in Life to Live a Happier Life” which starts to touch on how to change attraction.

Yet, I started this story about an abandoned kitten. I want to end with an abandoned kitten.

I had a friend back about thirty years ago when we were still teenagers. His cat had kittens, and they were the adorable mixed siamese kitties with fluffy hair. They were all buff with blue eyes. His parents told him they couldn’t keep all the kittens.

He wasn’t about to take them to a shelter because who knows what horror would happen to them there. He could have given them to a feral cat adoption group, but he couldn’t be sure who would get his kittens. He could advertise them, but who knows who was going to show up?

What did he do? He took his cute, clean, healthy, fluffy kittens and put pink bows around their neck. He got three picnic baskets and put a baby blanket in each basket. He put one kitten in each basket.

He picked people he saw in his communities that he thought were good people. These were people he didn’t know but would have liked to know and put the picnic basket with the kitten on their doorstep. His kittens ended up safe and well-loved.

Even back then, he was a great salesperson and understood presentation is half the battle. And judgment, you never know why someone does something or what it means unless you ask. Judgment is more about your past, your beliefs, and your value of yourself than the situation.

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. This change is creating an enormous amount of pressure for every individual I know.

Our body was created to manage the stresses of life. 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” to get ideas on how this works.

But, there are another set of channels called the 8 extraordinary channels. These channels are not well known and help us with life experiences that have become too much for us.

The pandemic is an excellent example of life experiences becoming too much. It use to be major life events such as a divorce, losing a job, homelessness, moving, getting married, being a caregiver, or the emotional scars from abuse were the things that fell into the “too much” category.

I think what surprised me is these major events that overwhelm our primary channels and need to be off-loaded to the extraordinary channels have four characteristics. First is the event is a major life change. A second characteristic is the event has a component of being “unknown” in it. The third is a threat to your survival including financial health. The fourth characteristic is a component of being unpredictable.

The pandemic has captured each of these. It has brought in a huge life change. This virus has so many unknowns from how it is transmitted to when the pandemic will end that just thinking about it can be overwhelming. The financial stability of millions of people in the United States has been upended. The virus a side that threatens the lives of individuals in very unpredictable ways.

The longer this goes on, the more frayed and run down people become. People can feel a sense of being powerless and trapped, leading to feelings of hopelessness. People can start to feel defensive and thin-skinned.

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. In Chinese Medicine, your traditional coping skills come from the primary channels. Usually, these channels 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, store or help manage 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 changed at the 8 extraordinary level.

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 a belief you’ve internalized which allows it to create your life experiences. If you are experiencing the same outcome over and over, even though you want a different result, that is the hallmark of past experiences that were too much to handle. 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.

Have you had experience with 8 extraordinary channels treatment in Chinese Medicine? How did it work for you?

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.