A Guide to Seasonal Transitions

The transition between seasons can be beautiful, and challenging.  In moments of transition, thoughts, feelings, speech and actions may be imbued with a creative renewal. Ideas and visions that inspire the need to do more and know more are highly palpable, and the permeability between the senses, and a sense of time, deepens.

As a practitioner of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I am often at the frontline of transition. I have the privilege of meeting patients on the brim of seeking new solutions, whether that be diet, exercise, relationships, or self-care. What I witness most in the people that I work with is a recognition that the healing process can serve as a reminder of the precious experience that is their (and others) humanity.

In many ways, humans beings are like plants. Orienting from the earth, we require water, minerals and nutrients, sunlight, and time. These elements become all the more integral when challenges arise, and sustaining them can generate a sense of safety and calm.  Leaning into resources that connect the human experience to earth ecology can provide the kind of comfort and coherence that is necessary to encourage a smooth, and holistic transition.

Over the last few years, I’ve tried to utilize a human-body/earth-body framework, in both my professional and personal life. This mindset has helped to alter the way that I think about change, especially during seasons of adjustment ― be it emotional, the loss of a loved one, or confronting the reality of climate change. I’d like to share a particular set of helpful ideas that I’ve been relying on, in addition to a few guiding practices to help you move through any seasonal transformation.

GROUND

If you’ve ever taken a Yoga, Pilates or meditation class, you may have heard your instructor advise that you “feel our sitz bones” when in a upright seated position. The first time I heard the proper anatomical name for these bony protrusions, was during a Shiatsu course. The bones in reference are also called your “sitting bones”, or tuberosity of the ischium. Drawing your attention to this area, which is the base of your pelvic girdle, can provide subtle realignment of the spinal column. Alternatively, if you are able to stand, place both feet firmly on the ground, making sure whatever surface you’re on comes into contact with all four corners of your feet.

NOURISH

One of the most enjoyable parts about my job is that I get to talk about food! And not just preparation methods, or nutrient content. Chinese medicine takes nutrition a step further into the energetic, dare I say spiritual, quality contained within our food. In order to understand what is in the food we eat (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, etc.), it is important to understand the conditions that have helped to shape and develop its life, such as where and how it is grown. A great resource on this subject is Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. This is a seminal text that you’ll find in any Acupuncturists library. Sustainably-sourced meats and produce, and making sure to thoroughly cook your vegetables, are two solid ways to ensure the digestive system is able to integrate all the beneficial energetic qualities in the food you eat.

ROOT

In a world with many distractions, it can be all too easy to lose focus. A universe of knowledge is readily available at our fingertips, which can be both amazing, and overwhelming. There are ways to dial back in, recenter the mind, and bring greater consciousness into focus. This could look like establishing a set of go-to rituals that help restore your spirit in times of uncertainty or confusion, or creating your own unique morning and evening ritual to help you establish consistent self-care throughout your day.

TRANSFORM

Holding space for yourself to feel and heal your way through transition is one of the best forms of self-care, and the process can take on whatever form you need it to. If you enjoy retreats, but are unable to afford the cost of one at the moment, we have a simple and free option for you with suggestions on ways to unplug from technology and reconnect to better self-care. Making time to reflect on the progress you’ve made can provide a helpful boost in confidence, whether that time is spent individually or in community with others.

FLOURISH

Prioritizing self-care has been on the rise in the last 30 years, and is now recognized as essential in the management of chronic illness. Along with the influx of attention to this topic, there have been new opportunities made available, including access to services and research methodologies. As self-care becomes more standardized, it is important to maintain a personal definition and practice. Leaning into your own personal definition of wellness can help you flourish in new and exciting ways.

To support you through any seasonal transition, we have a free PDF with journal prompts, which includes a few of my personal favorite practices. Access the PDF HERE via Dropbox.

What are some of your go-to practices that help keep you encouraged through transitions?

In solidarity,

Christian

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Eclipse Season Offerings (+ An Office Update)

My relationship to the earth and land was taught to me by my maternal grandmother. In the same way she expressed her care and love for me, she provided care and love to plants and the nourishment they imbue. I witnessed her nurture life. From form to function. Seed to leaf and root. I am eternally grateful for these lessons, as they continue to provide sound, sustainable guidance in my life.

It is because of the quality time I spent with my grandmother, from farm to kitchen, that I am able to do the work that I do. Ultimately, her nurturing led me on the path of restoration, regeneration, and reclamation of the ways or our ancestors. Our culture. Our medicine. Our relationship to the ecosystems of the earth. Through this process, I have found purpose; the culmination of which has allowed for consistent learning and creativity. As you know, this year I gathered all of my experience, love, and memory to weave together an acupuncture clinic and mind-body studio. So far, I’ve shared the beginning stages of the process, which you can read more about here.

Our clinic + studio is located in Lima, OH. We offer acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping therapy, gua sha, nutrition and herbal consultations, Asian bodywork, and mind-body workshops. Additionally, we offer distance sessions, CORE Consultations, for our homies and community in other areas of the world. In honor of the Eclipse Season, beginning with Thursday’s Partial Solar Eclipse + New Moon in Cancer, and ending with the second Partial Solar Eclipse in August, we are offering a discount on CORE sessions. A CORE consultation offers time with me one-one-one to rap about self-care strategies that fit your individual needs + goals. Each session will provide access to a questionnaire, a personalized meditation, detailed notes, and follow-up materials.

Through these sessions, I’ve been blessed to work with folks seeking strategies for menstrual health, fertility, musculoskeletal injuries, mind-body practices, nutrition, and wellness logistics. It’s been wonderful to meet with folks, and share what I have learned about sustaining self-care. Check out one of our first CORE client testimonials. Use the coupon code ECLIPSE-SEASON18 at checkout.

We’re currently finishing up the website and putting a few final (for now) touches on the brick and mortar. I’ll be sharing a few of the ideas and inspirations that went into these udpates on the blog soon.

I am beyond excited and humbled to be on this journey with you. Make sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive early notice about newly published blog posts + future offerings.

May this eclipse season provide you and yours deep nourishment in mind, body, and soul.

xo In solidarity, Christian

Creating a Green Office: The Before

Dear relatives,

My grandmother would have been 91 years old this week (Gemini love!). And this year, I’ll be celebrating her life in a way I never expected as I work toward opening an acupuncture clinic and mind-body center in my hometown. In between farm chores, I’ll get to design my dream office. I’ll be documenting the process and progress here, and hope to address some of the struggles that come with being a person of color and business owner. I’m also looking forward to educating myself on beginner Feng shui principles, which is an important part of Taoism, Chinese philosophy and cosmology. For now, I’ll ease into that conversation by sharing with a few “before” images. All of the photos you’ll see were made with my phone, so bear with me! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetWhen I first visited the office, I was immediately drawn to this open space. There is great potential here. I can see it so clearly: Qigong classes, community acupuncture, workshops, meditation… I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetThere are three rooms in total — the large, open room is located to the right when you first walk in. The images above are of the middle room. This will be utilized as an administrative center primarily. There will be a small sink and kitchen area in here as well. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetAt some point, the middle room may need to transform into an additional treatment room. Until then, I’m just taking everything one day at a time.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetA random photo of me just to show you the mirrored ceilings, which are located in the entrance. This was the second thing I noticed, for many reasons. In particular, the symbolism that mirrors carry as a reflection of internal and external environment. I’ve also been trying to learn more about using mirrors as a design strategy. If you have any resources, send them my way!Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe main treatment room is pictured above. This was the room I had the most challenge with in terms of envisioning what it could be. The room rectangular in shape; more long that it is wide, but it’s not narrow by any means. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this space has to offer once everything is cleared out. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetIn the last month, there has been so much progress already. I’ve slowly started to tell folks about the office, and the response I’ve received has been so warm and encouraging. The experience has been very humbling, and I’m thankful for the postive feedback. This has been a dream of mine for a long time now, and the idea of seeing it all come to life in community with others is more than I imagined.

Here’s to honorinng our grandmothers, and all the ways they inspire us. A blessed New Moon in Gemini to you and yours.

In Solidarity,

Christian

 

April 2018 Full Pink Moon

Dear friends,

I hope this letter finds you well, post Full Pink Moon in Scorpio intensity.

The month of April proved true to its character. Full of showers of all sorts. Rainy days give way to momentous blooming. Truth spilling over from the depths of shadows. Spring asks us to toe the line between what we believe is possible, and what we have yet to imagine.

Spring is associated with the Wood element in Chinese medicine. Wood connects, networks, sets boundaries, lends benevolence and generates the warmth that fuels the element of Fire. By nature, spring holds the energy of both rooting and growing. Seeking to move in all directions. Willing to unfold again and again. Spring is the seed manifested. It is the presence of intention. Every year we have the honor of witnessing the regenerative force behind life itself.

This season, I’ve had the pleasure of joining Lima Sprouts, an inaugural Urban Farmer apprentice program in Lima, OH. I’m really proud of the work my cohort and I have been able to accomplish in our short time together.

One of my goals in joining the program (besides learning about agricultural theory, farming/food systems and sustainability!) is to highlight the connection between soil health and human health. This work has been done by many before me, especially the work of female farmers and farmers of color. I know the work ahead will continue to require consistent advocacy and education. I’m really looking forward to delving into more research—if you have any materials or resources on the topic, feel free to leave me a note!

Another part of this process has called me to lean into my intuition and creativity. And the shape of that leaning has actually led me to new opportunities. To possibilities I could not have imagined. One opportunity has taken the shape of TCM based consultation services. It was something that was on my heart for a while, and once I started to work in farming the call grew louder. Intuitively, I think this work organically nourishes the advocacy and education work and I know it will help me develop more clinical dexterity.

I am equally excited and a little nervous for what is to come. This moment has helped me to trust the learning, the development, the complexity. It is teaching me that with all cycles, generation after generation, there is a world of magic waiting and wanting in the depth to be loved. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, head over to my booking page.  I’m offering a deep discount for the rest of May—$40 for an hour with me over Skype or phone conference to rap about Chinese medicine + Self care, and together we’ll dive into your health + wellness goals. If you’re looking to develop sustainable strategies, earth-based intuition, and next level insight. This offering is for you!

May blessings to you + yours.

xo, Christian

 

 

 

Mixtape 16

Each day provides multiple opportunities to begin. As an individual. As a member of a community. For all we are related to. Today’s New Moon embodies that spirit, as it moves into the Earth sign of Capricorn.

Earth is a supportive facilitator for Water. Providing a base through which Water is able to permeate. The essence of Earth — both the physical planet, as well the energetic quality of the land itself — is absorbed in what is possible. The Earth is common ground for creativity and insight, with an immense power to regenerate and restore.

In honor of the New Moon, and the coming Lunar New Year I’m taking a ‘lil rest from the screen. I’m thankful for the time and space to align with spirit for work ahead. I put together a playlist for the journey I’m about to delve into, and put up a link in my bio if you’d like to listen.

See y’all next week!

 

In Solidarity + New Moon Blessings,

Christian

Meditation Cushion Roundup

Meditation Cushion RoundupMeditation is a powerful self-care tool. For at least the past decade, the subject of mindful meditation has benefited from the rigor of scientific research, and subsequent rise public interest. In a 2014 study, a group of 38 adult participants with high levels of self-criticism showed marked reduction in depressive symptoms in addition to increased self-compassion. Maintaining a regular meditation practice has also been linked to helping reduce chronic pain. Personally, I’ve practiced Taiji, Qigong, and Yoga on a pretty consistent basis since entering grad school, and can attest to the efficacy of steady mind-body activity in my own life. One thing I’ve noticed that has significantly improved my practice is ensuring a comfortable seat during meditation. A nice, well-crafted cushion will support proper spinal alignment, helping to elevate the hips and upper body so that the legs can open and rest easy during practice. Today I’ve rounded up a set of meditation pillows to share with you. This list is a mix of styles that I have personally used, as well as a few wish list items. If you’re familiar with any of the styles included in this meditation cushion roundup let me know. I’d love your feedback.

May we be aligned and relaxed in our meditative practice.

In solidarity,

Christian

From top to bottom: Organic Yoga Bolster // Zen Naturals Meditation Pillow // Reehut Meditation Bolster // Zafu Yoga Meditation Pillow // Zafu Meditation Pillow // Zabuton Organic Buckwheat Cushion


Cover image: Crystal Cove Meditation Pillow

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.