Have you ever wondered just how you keep going, when you have been going and going for so long? Or do you have a go go go life and fear serious burnout?
This month's Portal blog centres around "the salt of the earth" to physically and energetically preserve Kidney Qi so that we cease the burnout we create for ourselves and align with the responsibility of taking care of our human forms.
It ain't easy, and it's rarely pretty, but without self care we get further away from our dreams. In this month's blog, I provide tools to care for your life force.
kidneys made from pink himalayan salt
What does it mean to be the Salt of the Earth?
and what does that have to do with your Kidney Qi?
The definition from Collins of the phrase "salt of the earth":
"If you describe someone as the salt of the earth, you have a lot of respect for them as the type of person who deals with difficult or demanding situations without making any unnecessary fuss."
I am a "salt of the earth" person and I have had it up to here (insert eyeballs) with the idea that someone is more respectable because they deal with demanding situations without a fuss. Honestly, as I develop and establish better boundaries my own "without a fuss factor" dwindles. High five for that!
Lately my "salt of the earth"ness is getting straight up salty as I live the consequences of the wear and tear of taking the hit and being so damn gracious. While my working class ancestors might be so proud of how much I can hold down, I am transforming that disregard for self (and other) right here, right now.
Being able to deal and be graceful is something I totally appreciate about myself, but these days I am behind the wheel of that skill to preserve Qi and prevent further burnout.
Do you know what I mean? Are you also ready to put down the conditioning that burns the candle at both ends? Do you want to generate a life that cares for your foundation day after day after day? Ways of being that are conditioned and obligatory do nothing for the freedom possible for us all, SO here ye, here ye, I say it for all to hear ... being the Salt of the Earth may come with a cost, and that cost is to our Kidney Qi and Jing. If being the salt of the earth is:
- draining you of life force
- something you are recovering from
- how you wanna be, but not burnout big time.... read on!
this is a model of a kidney!
"Not making fuss" often means we compromised our selves for the other, the institution or the state. While that can be "just life" sometimes, ongoing compromise extinguishes our inner flame. Of course, some of the burnout is completely systemic and rooted in capitalism and colonization and there are decisions you and I make every day that compromises our Kidney Qi. These decisions may be reactions, and taking time to prepare for winter is an embodiment of response. moving from reactionary living to responsive living is a way to preserve your Kidney Qi!
Where you decide to over-do are portals of exemplary care for you.
Take a moment now, think of 3 areas on your life (pick the easy ones, please) where you are over doing.
Then decide, right now, to stop. Maybe you need to assign someone else that task, or you need to talk sweetly to yourself to stop doing your kids chores, or you just have to sit down and let those dishes wait a minute while you regroup. Whatever small things you found, commit to stopping that over-do right now.
Start taking care of you with this season change
1. Establish care practices for your Kidney Qi this solstice!
2. Check out some of the movement, breath and food ideas I have for you and
3. check in with me anytime you want to get healthier in your day to day life.
Kidney Qi is responsible for storing Jing or essence which then transforms into Blood and Qi (with some help from other organs!). It is also the source for primordial Yin or Yang and with this it forms the foundation of all life. Pretty big deal, right? and it makes sense.... when we get tired and are burning the candle at both ends, we feel empty and exhausted and all the life force feels gone, I know you know. After big pushes in life we often need a big rest, but far too often we do not get that time. I know it can feel impossible, so tiny care actions are gonna be the winners here.
Check out these bears preparing for winter. This is all they DO right now! Smart bears
What bear activity can you get up to this December? fun stuff!
Here are some ideas to ensure you have more rest this winter.
- block time off in your calendar
- commit to no new things until spring
- make plans with people to rest together
- schedule naps
- go to bed 30 min earlier/wake up 30 min later
What works for you to rest?
What rest can you do more of in January and February?
Eating foods that energetically enter the Kidneys will help to boost your Kidney Qi!
Some of these foods are ...
walnuts, chestnuts, pistachios
cooked grains, parsnips, turnip, sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, pumpkin, squash, carrots, yams, peas, garlic
black beans, chick peas
lamb, beef, veal, goat, venison
tuna, anchovy, prawns, salmon
black pepper, fresh ginger, dry ginger
cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, rosemary
If you have night sweats, or tend to run hot you may want to take it easy on the more warm spices and foods like black pepper and lamb, etc. Getting to know how to eat energetically is simple once you get the hang of it. If you ever want to check in about food you can book a food consult with me, I can do this virtual and if you have ever (in all the twenty years) been a client of mine, you can just book a food follow up
Rest is often what we need if we are going hard for years on end AND just resting can be the hardest one to do. I am saying it again here to drive the point home, we need to rest more in winter. Period. If you are not resting much, schedule it in. Seriously, the body "forgets" what it is like to rest, we get caught in "GO" mode and can't slow down. Plan to rest by blocking off nap or zone out time.
This image is an example of the Kidney/Bladder Meridian exercise by Shizuto Masunaga.
You can do this standing, sitting or one leg at a time AND you do not need to touch your toes! The juiciness of this stretch is that by extending the arms over the legs, turning the palms outward and looking down to the toes we open up the bladder channel and compress the kidney channel thus allowing for the Qi to flow freely through the back of the body and the Qi of the front of the body to get a nice compression "Massage". This stretch nourishes Kidney Qi! Other movements to nourish Kidney Qi include:
- anything that stretches the hamstrings
- laying in your back, brining the knees up to your chest and wrapping your arms around your body and then rocking a little back and forth
- asking someone else to lift your legs to stretch the hamstrings
- taking your loose fists to your lower back and doing some light pounding
Kidney Qi carries us along, not asking for support for much, being the Salt of the Earth, the Earth that is your body. We can live with only one kidney, these organs are phenomenal! Your Jing is also phenomenal and getting to know what nourishes you, and then DOing those things, will carry you through winter and into Spring!
prepare, food, rest, movement ...
What will you do for your Kidney Qi this winter?
Thank you for being here, for reading, and for doing all you do to take care of you (and yours and everyone else! lol).
May we each have this moment to plan for care for our Kidney Qi, for ourselves and the web that is Life.
Lamia Gibson, R.Ac.
~The outer expression of inner freedom is everyone being free~
Portal Acupuncture is a freedom for all project
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Lamia Gibson, R. Ac, is an Acupuncturist, Shiatsu Therapist and TCM food nerd working with pregnant humans, human humans and grieving humans to relieve suffering. If you want to book with me, start here