It’s balance. But not balance in the sense you would necessarily think about. Balance in Chinese Medicine is more about harmony than equality. For example, if you divided your life up into priorities, your relationship time may be highest on your list and your work time lowest, but in terms of time, we often have to give more to work in order to have the quality time we want from the relationship. The problem comes when we put too much emphasis on the time portion of one thing and as a result the quality portion of what’s really important suffers.
In the West, we have a huge problem with this, and in Chinese Medicine we would argue that this is the main cause for disease and pain: when you put what you value on the backburner, you are compromising something important to you; this leads to internal stress that builds on itself over the years, comes out in umpteen different ways, and eventually presents itself as disease.
Even in Western Medicine, it’s pretty much accepted that stress is ultimately the culprit of most health-related (or, more appropriately, “un-health-related”) conditions. In Chinese Medicine, the problem is simple, no matter what the stressor: It all comes back to balance and harmony.
This simple concept has changed my life completely. I am happier now than I ever could have imagined possible. I have an amazing home life, a flourishing spiritual life, a career I could never have dreamed I’d love so much, a beautiful relationship, many lifelong friends, excellent health, and a weight that’s healthier and much lower than it had been most of my adult life. And I owe it all to the concept of balance/harmony.
Here’s the simple formula (simple, not necessarily easy :)). Figure out what you want in life, and do that. In every area of your life. Every day. You are worth the effort!! And over time, it becomes completely effortless, almost like magic. Truly. You just start with small steps. Example: Let’s say your spiritual life is the most important thing to you: you obviously can’t spend as much time on that as you may have to on your work, but you can spend some time every day on your spiritual life, and you can also examine whether your work is feeding your spiritual life or whether it’s draining you.
The thing is, we love to look at our lives and see ourselves as the victims of circumstance – but as long as you do that, you will never be empowered to change anything, and your life will continue in the same pattern.
Pain is no different. In Chinese Medicine, pain is seen as an imbalance of energy in the various meridians (energetic pathways), and acupuncture works to re-achieve balance and thus alleviate pain. But if the cause of the imbalance doesn’t get addressed, the pain will eventually return.
This is why regular acupuncture is important –at least monthly maintenance (some of you are smart and come even more frequently). Regular acupuncture is important because we live in a world of imbalance and stress, and even those of us who are extremely conscientious about the harmony in our lives fall subject to the stressors of everyday life. Acupuncture helps with stress more than any other modality I know (except perhaps daily meditation).
The other thing I recommend to gain balance in your life and change it completely is life coaching (I recommend Meagan O'Nan - www.couragethebridgetofreedom.com). Life coaching is often the key to a whole new way of looking at your life - and a whole new life as a result. The combination of life coaching and acupuncture has brought me to where I am today from where I was 15 years ago: Overweight, unhappy, in a terrible relationship, with very little income, very insecure, no spiritual life whatsoever, and pretty much just genuinely miserable. Those of you who know me today will know that this represents quite a change!
So. To sum it all up in two words, value yourself!! We’re not taught it, and it’s the best thing you can do for your own health and the happiness of those you love and who love you. Come for acupuncture regularly to keep yourself de-stressed and your energetic pathways open. Do something every day that you love. Name five things every evening that you’re grateful for. And when you’re really ready to change your life and make it exceptionally awesome, do some life coaching.
Here’s to good health and harmony - yours!