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

Advertisements

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

A Year of Restoration

Dear friends,

I write to you from my (current) bedroom, a space filled with the aroma of warm coffee and the quiet hum of morning. Outside the sun glows bright on a blanket of snow. Trees extend their joints to the blue sky. Everything around me seems to be in prayer. This moment calls for a commitment to memory. I will need to summon it again and again because I am human and, sometimes, I forget. This moment calls for a commitment to action, as Maxine Hong Kingston taught us, “In a time of destruction, create something”. And if prayer is the act of creation, then I will pray harder than ever.

The transition between “new” and “old” does not start or end when the clock strikes midnight. It is ever-changing. It is the sloughing off of that which is no longer of service, and the integration of habit in hopes of creating a more sustained self. We are alive during this moment of transition for a reason, and there is no better time to continue the work of healing.

Staying accountable to personal healing is possible if we decide to keep coming home to ourselves. Seeking to remember that we are flexible, resourceful, creative, and resilient beings manifests greater humility and courage. In order to make room for whole-self and whole-community liberation we must tirelessly return to the work that is bone-deep. cropped-file_000-7.jpegThis deep work takes a level of clarity, compassion and consistency that we often forget we have access to (I’m raising my hand over here!). To level up in 2018 while embracing whatever fears may accompany struggle, is to hold space for restoration of personal and communal power.

A few years back, I shared 10 Ideas to Unplug (and Reconnect), and today I’m revisiting that initial work with a reiteration which provides more detail and structure. As the coming year unfolds I’ll be harnessing this vision as a navigation guide. If this resonates, feel free to utilize it in whatever way feels good to you.

Schedule health checks and self-care

The end of the year proved to be challenging health-wise. It was a good reminder to make sure that I prioritize my healing and well-being. By scheduling wellness check-ups and self-care dates early on, I hope to maintain a healthy awareness throughout the whole year.cropped-dsc_0809.jpg Organize staycations and road trips

Being back in the Midwest has allowed me to see how much I don’t know about Ohio. I intend to learn more about my home state by planning as many getaways and staycations throughout the year as possible. I will definitely be writing about these adventures in the new year, and will post on the site. 

Wake up (early)

Waking up early in the morning is one of my greatest pleasures. I find peace in the still moments when sun the rises. On snowy days it is barely seen, but the brightness that gleams from the earth lets me know it is there. Even though I love waking early, there are days when I struggle to move my body from the warm, soft sheets. One new ritual I plan to incorporate is to place my phone across the room from the bed, and set the alarm to a gentle, uplifting song. The transit time and music will be a good muse to help motive me to stay woke. One current ritual that I will be keeping in 2018 is planning nourishing and exciting meals for breakfast. I’ve loved making my first activity of the day something that involves creativity and self-care.DSC_0938 Create something

Writing, like reading, is a means to deepen our understanding and experience. I’ve written about creativity many times before on the blog. In the past I’ve often tried to set too many limitations on myself when it comes to creative expression. A practice that has been an ally to me is writing my ideas down first. Whether I have a vision for a photo shoot, poem or wellness workshop, jotting it down helps to bring the idea for fruition.

Prioritize literacy

Literacy is a privilege. It affords opportunity. It connects us to the legacy of storytelling. It reminds us that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. Literacy reminds us that we are resourceful beings. While in grad school, I spent a lot of focused time reading, studying, and integrating information from both classical and modern medical texts. It was deeply nerdy and humbling. It helped to root the knowledge in a profound way and supported my practical application in clinic. The experience shaped me as a reader in ways that I will spend a lifetime learning from. Visiting libraries, museums, independent art shows, and attending classes are common ground ways in which we can cultivate literacy. Learning with others in community provides ample opportunity for consciousness to grow. It also gets us out into the world, which can be a sweet retreat from the constant pull to be online all the time.dsc_0823 Cultivate mental dexterity

There are times when my work requires that I spend a significant amount of time online. It’s difficult to avoid the internet altogether, but setting appropriate boundaries is just the remedy I need to keep my mind supple. We can always give ourselves the gift of planned time away during the day, week, month, and year. Carving out space to dream is critical sustenance for survival. I wish to grow mental dexterity in the New Year through more prayer and meditation.  Taking a walk around the neighborhood, or in the woods. Being in group with others. Cooking a new or favorite dish. All provide an opportunity to move beyond the limitation of patterned thoughts, to reorient toward less stress and more flexibility.

Redefine exercise

Movement teaches us about the complexity of life. The stretch of muscle fibers. The graceful open of a wing. We crawl and stand. We sit motionless, and jolt quick as a lightning bolt. Every creation on the planet has a signature, which is eloquently expressed in the way that it moves. There is power in movement—be it physiological, an expression of solidarity, or the shifting force of tectonic plates. In redefining exercise, I’m also considering what it means to be empowered. In the coming year I seek to strengthen my power by refining my Qigong and Taiji skills. I look forward to breaking down each movement and form into small digestible components. I have a feeling this process will allow me to unfold in unexpected ways, and remind me to work toward right relationship with the earth.ChristianTotty_DyshaWaites I’d love to hear your tips on how to embrace restoration in the coming year. Thanks for reading mine. 

May we continue to remember who we come from. May we uplift our unique cultures and traditions. May we grow in capacity to love more deeply. May we be unafraid to make magic that is rooted in profound gratitude and imagination.

New Year Blessings.

In solidarity,

Christian

 

Bullet Journal Essentials

Recently, I decided to start a Bullet Jounal after reading an article on Buzzfeed. In truth, my first exposure to this concept was back in 2010 while I was on the board at the Chicago Freedom School. One of my fellow board directors utilized a #BuJo, with serious expertise, and it was inspiring to witness her process. Continue reading “Bullet Journal Essentials”