Acupuncture Tips to Help You Reconnect.
Happy Winter Solstice. Today is almost the shortest, darkest day of the year. These short, dark days mark a turning point as we gather our energy and prepare to slowly expand towards spring.
Given Chinese Medicine’s Confuscist roots, every organ in the body has a specific function and is referred to as an “Official” or “Officer.” Wintertime in Chinese Medicine is associated with the Kidney Official and the Bladder Official.
While the Kidney is generally more glamorous and gets more attention than the Bladder, the Bladder channel in Chinese Medicine is actually pretty special in that it is both the longest acupuncture channel (with 67 points along the way) and it is also the only acupuncture channel that runs in two parallel lines (on either side of your spine).
If I’ve ever done moxa on your back, it’s most likely we were activating the Bladder channel, the Bladder being the “dual light” (two lines of electricity) official. The Bladder is the officer responsible for helping consciousness rise from our lower dantian (from our center of gravity just below the navel) up to the head and the heart. The Bladder Official also supports our immune systems and nervous systems.
The depth of our wisdom resides low in our bellies (in our “gut” instinct) and is housed by the Kidney and the Bladder organs.
One of the best ways we can nurture our Bladder Official is by breathing low and slow into your pelvis and low belly, then squeeze the belly in on the exhale, feeling that breath rise up the torso towards the head and the heart. Any low, slow belly breaths will calm the mind and slow your heart rate, giving you more space to access your own inner knowing. The answers are already available to you, even when they’re temporarily obscured. Trust your own inner wisdom.
During this Bladder and Kidney season, we can also take the time to stand with our feet parallel, hips width distance apart, feet firmly planted on the earth (without socks if your home is warm enough), palms shining out. This is mountain pose, Tadasana, in yoga, and it should evoke a feeling of groundedness and connection. With our spines upright and stacked we connect to heaven as we simultaneously feel our feet on the floor, grounded on the earth.
This felt sense of stability and connection can help us regain our composure when we’re feeling crumpled or lost.
If you’re facing lots of uncertainty, learning how to ground and reconnect can help you access the light of consciousness (heaven), the light that is always available to you, though sometimes its very difficult to see.
Learning to live in the dark knowing that the light will return can help you regain your connection when circumstances feel tough.
The original Chinese character for the Bladder Official is two hands squeezing a column. That column could be the trunk of a tree or a depiction of the spine (or both). This original Chinese character reminds us that the external pressure of the dark helps us to squeeze the sap down into the roots and the seed structure while also sending sap up towards the branches reaching to the light.
Wintertime can feel like a tight squeeze indeed, but remember that it’s the force of the contraction that then allows us to expand. You can’t push out without first pulling in.