Heart's Discovery

...Gwen Williams

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Now is the Time to Awake.

Posted by Gwen Williams on March 1, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Signs of spring and the lengthening daylight are telling us it is time. It is time to awaken from the cold, hibernation, introspection and protectionism, and some aspects of fear, that represent the Winter-Water Element in traditional medicine.

 

We need to ready our hearts and souls for change. We need to begin or continue to question the norms, customs, expectations and beliefs that others impose on us. It is not easy to be who you really are. It is especially hard to break away from the constraints family and friends put on us, to be who they think we are, and should be.

 

We each have the power to change the world. We are not only inextricably connected to our physical environment as science outlines in quantum physics, but we are also one with the invisible consciousness of the universe. Therefore our thoughts and actions not only affect our own health but, the well being of others and how the future is manifested.

 

This is not such a huge burden, as it seems. If we look to how young children cope, we can re-learn how to be present, take each moment as it comes, be and do, what feels right in the moment. As long as we keep our hearts and minds free from bad thoughts and intentions, we can be assured, that our actions and words will flow from the best intentions. As a human being, that is the best we can do.

 

As adults who are awake, we feel hated and misunderstood. Some wonder if they were conceived on the wrong planet. You are the light that will guide the world and expose the darkness for what it is. You are needed now more than ever. You are not alone. Find your people.

 

If you are struggling, healing modalities that use a holistic (physical, emotional & spiritual) approach will help. Physical blockages can cause emotional and spiritual blockages and visa versa. Pain, for example, can be simple trauma or a multi-layered issue. Taking care of one-self not only allows us to be free-er, but our “vibes” will help heal those around us that we love, even when they don’t want to hear our opinions or accept what we believe :)

 

Thanksgiving & Gratitude

Posted by Gwen Williams on October 7, 2016 at 5:10 PM

The sunflower is such a happy flower. It is almost looks like it is smiling. It helps me remember to be thankful as I look out at this wonderful plant from my office desk.


The state of gratitude is such a calming state of mind and is a wonderful place from which to view the world. It has the power of drawing goodness to itself and creating more reasons to be thankful. Gratitude not only benefits those at which it is directed but also enriches the one who generates it.


Autumn is the time of the metal element and the corresponding organ systems are the lungs and large intestines. These represent what comes into our lives and what needs to be eliminated. The colour is white and represents purity and righteousness. The emotion paired with this element is grief and our sense of self-worth.


Just as the trees let go of their leaves, so we too need to acknowledge our losses and let them go as we prepare for a new chapter in our lives. Like the earth we all undergo a transformation that is perfectly designed. Allow yourself to look at nature as a mirror and see that, you too, are beautiful. Know that just as this season celebrates its accomplishments in brilliant colours, you too can find a reason to smile.


This is a good time to quiet our minds from external noise and feel our bodies connected to the earth so we can sense our true self. It is then that we can best feel the peace of gratitude envelope us not just at Thanksgiving, but everyday.

The Secret to Longevity

Posted by Gwen Williams on June 2, 2016 at 5:45 PM

Time goes by so fast when you are busy. I wonder therefore if you age more quickly when you have a lot going on? I wonder if a person could stay younger, longer by slowing down and living more simply?

 

According to the “Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (The Neijing)”, there were four types of ancient peoples that existed on earth, a long time ago, that lived very long lives and did not display the usual signs of aging. The Immortals lived the longest, followed by the Sages, then the Achieved Beings and lastly the Naturalists who lived to over one hundred years.

 

The secret of their longevity was that they “…lived simply…and close to nature…to prevent pathogens from invading”. They got their energy from nature and lived in harmony with the environment, seasons, sun, moon and stars. They preserved their life force by adapting to society without adopting or getting pulled in to popular, thinking, cultural norms, emotional drama, excessive living, ambitions or desires.

 

These folks were able to heal themselves. When they got sick they “…guided properly the emotions and spirit and re-directed the energy flow…to heal the condition”. If this did not work, they used herbs and herb-wines. Finally if a condition worsened, an accurate diagnosis with acupuncture and moxibustion, were used as an intervention to regain health and balance.

 

As a result of living simply, these folks also had remarkable abilities. They were able to travel freely outside the conventional view of time and space. They could see and hear far beyond what was considered normal. They were focused, accomplished much and kept a clear mind by integrating the mental, physical and spiritual with exercise, meditation, eating a balanced diet, at regular times and maintaining a pure conscience.

 

In Chinese medicine our life force or “Jing” and health is compromised by a weak constitution, emotional extremes, extremes in our external environment, overwork, inactivity as well as how, what and when you eat. This book (written approximately 2500 years ago) states “These days” people’s lifestyles have become detrimental to their health and they only live to fifty years of more. I believe this same statement is true today.

 

If we simplified our busy lives, got back to nature and focused more on what is most important to us, we would live longer and healthier lives. I am not so sure we would acquire supernatural abilities but we would probably find more joy and happiness.

Emotions - the Good and the Bad

Posted by Gwen Williams on April 3, 2016 at 9:55 PM

 

Tonight I watched Extreme Makeover on TV. I like decorating shows and in this episode, a family in need were gifted a new home. How wonderful! Earlier I had been sitting out on the deck listening to loons and feeling peaceful and calm. Now that had changed. I cried my eyes out. I found myself feeling weepy and reflecting on more difficult times in my own past.

 

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a measure of the ability to “manage” our emotions in a way that produces beneficial behaviour and optimal choices in decisions making. It consists of four abilities: identifying how others feel; using emotion to assist the thinking process; understanding the root cause of the emotion; and being able to manage the emotions.

 

Those with high EQ know what they are feeling, have good emotional self-control, are able to think clearly when experiencing strong emotions and are able to make decisions based on their hearts and not just their heads. This makes them better able to get in touch with their passions and find a path in life that is fulfilling.

 

Suppressing emotions makes it harder to find our life path. It can also make us sick. Our life force needs to be flowing appropriately for us to be healthy. Just as blockages in the flow of Qi from trauma can cause pain, extremes in emotions affect the flow of Qi causing Qi and blood stagnation, heat, dampness and phlegm. These patterns that can produce a long list of physiological imbalances and physical symptoms. For example:

  • Anger and guilt causes Liver Qi to rise creating symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, reproductive issues, vision loss and others issues such as depression and insomnia
  • Worry and pensiveness knot the Spleen/Stomach Qi resulting in possible digestive issues, weak muscles, fatigue, easy bruising, bleeding, varicose veins and other issues
  • Sadness and grief dissolve Lung Qi. This weakens the lungs and our immunity and can bring on respiratory issues, skin conditions and make us more vulnerable to colds and flu.
  • Shock and fear causes Kidney Qi to descend and dissolve. This along with overwork can cause weakened fertility, bladder problems, hearing loss, per-mature grey hair, sore knees and back
  • All emotions slow down the Heart Qi which houses the mind (cognition) and the Shen (the ruler of the Spirit). This may create anxiety and mood swings between happy, sad with insomnia


If you find yourself feeling strong emotions, get in touch with what you are feeling. Don't get busy doing “stuff” so you don't have to think about it. Don't blame someone else for feeling the way you do. Often we only see the shadow of the cause of our emotional imbalance when we see it reflected in someone else. Use the emotion as fishing line to see what else may be swimming around in the depths of your unconscious. Only you can allow yourself to feel the way you do.

 

Also our health can affect our emotions. The physcial, spiritual and mental aspects our our being are all connected. When you don't eat, get enough sleep or suffer from acute or chronic disease combined with the need to take drugs, these things can have an affect on our emotional balance.

 

The heart that is the governor. Our mind is just a tool and is not who we are. When we quiet our minds from the noise of our thoughts and emotions. When we feel our bodies connected to the earth and everything around us. When we connect to our interior self, sense the bigger picture and feel gratitude for what the universe brings us. It is then that we can know who we are. It is then that we can sense the things that inspire passion in us and are the markers that guide us in the direction of our true purpose.

Living Simply for Longevity

Posted by Gwen Williams on March 22, 2016 at 12:35 AM

I am not sure I would want to live forever but long and healthy would be nice. My translated copy of the “Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine”, describes four types of ancient people (Immortals, Sages, Achieved Beings and Naturalists) that lived very long and accomplished lives.

 

These folks did not display the usual signs of aging and were able to travel freely outside the conventional view of time and space. They could see and hear far beyond what was considered normal and lived to over one hundred years. What was their secret?

 

They gathered energy from nature and “harmonized” with the environment, seasons, sun, moon, stars and universe. They adapted to society without adopting popular thinking or cultural norms. They avoided emotional drama, excessive lifestyle, ambition or desire. They focused and integrated mind, body and spirit with exercise and meditation. They ate a balanced diet at regular times and maintained a pure conscience and a clear mind.

 

In a nutshell it says, “… people lived simply…and close to nature… to prevent pathogens from invading”. When they did get sick they “…guided properly the emotions and spirit and re-directed the energy flow…to heal the condition”. If this did not work, herbs and herb-wines were used. Finally if a condition worsened, an accurate diagnosis with techniques like acupuncture and moxibustion were needed.

 

The book states, “These days” people’s lifestyles have become detrimental to their health and they only live to fifty years of more. These two books were written more than two thousand years ago. This reminds me that the voices of our elders and ancestors, that told us to eat our vegetables, go to bed early, get some fresh air and be kind to others, were wise words indeed.

 

Time to Celebrate

Posted by Gwen Williams on October 31, 2015 at 10:10 AM

The colours of the leaves, in this part of the world, are glorious this time of year. The weather alternates between cool, warm, calm and wind signifying change is upon us. Fall is the Metal Element. Its colour is white. It governs our lungs and large intestines and it affects the skin, nose, water passages, mucous membranes, respiration and voice. The emotions associated with fall are grief and letting go.

 

Instead of slipping into sadness and regret, now is the time to be mindful of our blessings and take inventory of everything that has been accomplished. Like the full Hunter Moon we just experienced, everything has come to fruition, has bloomed, grown and produced its fruit. It is time to let go and celebrate. The landscape is a testament to that as it visually gives praise to the earth and its people for a job well done.

 

As we reflect and analyze, in the coming months, we are better able to see what can be improved or what was missed. Clarity grows like the ever-increasing crispness in the air as we examine our learnings, observations, acknowledgments and wonderment. Like the hardwood trees that shed their leaves, we have the opportunity to shed the things that no longer serve us. That gives us room for change.

 

As we travel inward over the fall and into the winter months, we need to rest and nourish ourselves. It is time for pungent, savoury, spicy and warming foods; socks to warm our feet; and scarves to protect our neck from wind. We need to restock our reserves so we will be eager and ready to embark on the next chapter of our journey with enthusiasm and hope as we edge toward the path of our true calling.

 

An Ode to My Father

Posted by Gwen Williams on June 24, 2015 at 8:25 AM

 

I miss my father still even though he passed away a long time ago. He was from the older generation where children were "meant to be seen and not heard" as he would say. He also did not allow anyone to talk about "politics, money, sex or religion" because that is what they did in the Navy. He also told me to "never rock the boat". As a result, our house was very quiet.

 

My father never backed down from a problem and when things were not working out he just used some "ingenuity" to see it through. Every job or task not matter how small had to be done properly. He was all about "whatever you do, do well" and "always do the right thing".

 

My father never said much but I knew he always approved of me and was proud of me. He told me I “could be anything I wanted to”. I just had to work hard. My father was my cheerleader and fan club all rolled together in his own quiet way. Sometimes he would remind me "you know you come from royalty, never forget that". A puzzling statement because my father never boasted but it made me feel proud.

 

I had lived a sheltered childhood and youth. I knew nothing about "politics, money, sex or religion". It wasn't until my 6th year of university that I knew about sexism. At the age of 26 I was shocked when I encountered it. "I can't do what...because I am a woman! You have got to be kidding!” That was just the beginning of the huge awakening and learning curve called life, where I made all sorts of uniformed choices that wrecked havoc but taught me so much.

 

My father shaped my life and inspired me to always be a good student, a lifelong learner and to never give up in the pursuit of my dreams. I have always been self-confident to the extent of naivety. As a result I feel I have accomplished things that, if I had given it more examination, I would not have attempted and would have listen to the nay-sayers that said it couldn't be done.

 

I have fought long and hard every step of the way and have won. I even learned (a bit of rebellion in me) to "always rock the boat" when it is the "right thing to do" that has carried me through every rough spot in life. I have my father to thank for making my life wonderful and rich. He gave the best gift anyone could give a child, a healthy sense of "self-worth" and an over the top "self-confidence” that is badly needed in a world that is not kind or fair, especially for women.

 

Spring has Sprung but Have You?

Posted by Gwen Williams on May 24, 2015 at 10:55 AM

Spring is the time of the wood element. For all of us the excitement mounts as the weather gets warmer and we can look forward to getting outside more. People, who are constitutionally “wood” types, like to be busy and will be especially anxious to break free of the confines of the winter cocoon to pioneer their new adventure. These folks will have well developed plans, be focused and ready to adapt and conquer any obstacle to obtain their goals.

 

The wood element corresponds to the liver and gallbladder, is east, the wind, green, shouting, angry, courage, tastes sour, controls the sinews and tendons, opens to the eyes and manifests in the nails. If balanced, you will feel supple, resilient and able to move like a tree, when the winds of change blow. You will be clear about what you are doing, what you want to accomplish and why. You will have energy, will power and determination sitting firmly in your circle.

 

If unbalanced, you may find yourself experiencing headaches, red, itchy or watery eyes, stiff tendons, reproductive problems, PMS or dream disturbed sleep. Mentally you may lose motivation, feel stuck, loose sight of the vision, and feel irritable and angry when things don’t go exactly as planned. The gallbladder is paired with the liver and if this is also unbalanced, you may feel more timid and indecisive than usual.

 

Now is the time, we are supposed to spring forth with renewed energy, however we should look to nature for our queues. It was a long winter and when we were meant to be resting and conserving our resources, we were instead shovelling snow. It is now the middle of May, the mayflowers have just recently bloomed, the buds on the trees have just transformed to small leaflets and even some crocuses are behind schedule.

 

The Spring of 2015 is in slow motion here in Nova Scotia. It would be prudent to relax a bit and gather your energy before tackling those big projects this season. Continue to dress warmly, keep a scarf around your neck as protection from the wind and hold off on overdoing the salads, cool drinks and fast cooked BBQ foods, for a bit. Continue to nourish yourself with immune boosting herbs and the slower cooked warming stews until you feel you are ready.

 

The Dead of Winter

Posted by Gwen Williams on February 19, 2015 at 8:25 AM

 

It is really hard to stay upbeat when the news reports are warning us of another storm and more shovelling. Where to put it all…? Our leisure activities and travel has been reduced and that leaves us a lot of time to think about things.

 

That is not a bad thing really. Winter is all about going inward, hibernating in a way and conserving our energy. We can think about what we are doing in our lives and review where we really want to be. This is the real beginning of the year for us as we contemplate goals, dreams and desires. The pure white landscape and sparkle of sunlight reminds us of purity and gives us a blank canvass for a fresh start.

 

The day length has been getting longer ever since before Christmas and that gives us hope. This reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you dress really warm and take a moment to look up from the shovelling, smell the freshness the new snow brings and remember that snow brings healing power to the earth.

 

The snow insulates our gardens and plants from extreme temperature fluctuations, provides needed moisture and nourishes the soil with nitrogen from the atmosphere. It also protects many small creatures and their access to food sources in the winter. Look carefully after a fresh snow and you will see many tracks left by wildlife that you may not even know live around you.

 

While you practice patience in this quiet time, pamper your health by eating warming cooked and nutritious foods. Use warming spices and reduce the damp forming foods like dairy, milk and fats. Keep your neck, feet and lower back warm to prevent the cold and damp from settling in. Curl up by a heat source and take time to rejuvenate your whole self in body, mind and spirit.

 

When Earth Transitions to Metal

Posted by Gwen Williams on October 3, 2014 at 10:05 PM

We have just entered our decent into fall-autumn where the glory of the summer warmth hangs suspended in our memories. Late summer is the peak time of the earth element when the colours of the landscape show up in many variations of yellow (the colour of the earth element) and the harvest is ready.

 

Late summer is a time of peace and of abundance. Just as the dense earth nourishes and roots the trees, so too do the organs of the spleen and stomach nourish and root us. These organs are the earth element in us and they are responsible for transforming and transporting our food to nourish us with “post heaven qi”. The earth is our center of gravity in both our interior and exterior, that allows us to move and change through life without losing balance.

 

People with a predominantly earth archetype are the peacemakers and those we call the “salt of the earth” as they establish, sustain and nurture relationships. They are those people in our lives that keep families and communities together. They are sensitive and reactive to the needs of others and embody sympathy, caring and friendship.

 

Fall-autumn is the time of year for the metal element where we will witness nature at its most brilliant self as the trees let go of their leafy mantle and engulfed us in piles of vibrant leaves. The organ systems that correspond to the metal element are the lung and large intestine. These represent what comes into our lives and what needs to be eliminated. The emotion paired with this element is grief. Just as the trees let go of their leaves, so we too need to acknowledge our losses and let them go as we prepare for a new chapter in our lives.

 

People with a predominantly metal archetype like order; they value the finer things in life and find inspiration in what is right. They are guided by courage and the conviction of their principles. The colour of this element is white and represents purity. The lung rules the “wei qi” that is the defensive energy that protects us at the skin level. The metal people in our lives also protect us and watch over us and keep us on the “straight and narrow” path in life.

 

So as the shadows grow longer, the water takes on the sheen of mercury (metal) and we notice the freshness of the air at dawn and dusk, we will need to pay more attention to what we eat, what we wear and what we think. This season can bring more stomach and lung issues and we can become pensive, worried or sad. Now is the time to eat regular meals, warm nutritious soups, stews, herbs to boost immunity, don socks and scarves to keep us warm and stay positive. It helps to be grateful for everything no matter how small.

This is Earth Time

Posted by Gwen Williams on September 20, 2014 at 10:05 PM

We have arrived at the time of year where we are suspended between summer and our decent into fall where the glory of summer hangs in suspension. This is the peak time of the Earth element when the colours of the landscape have started to yellow (the colour of the earth element) and the harvest is ready. The shadows grow longer and the water takes on the sheen of mercury as we notice the freshness of the air at dawn and dusk.

 

This is a time of peace and of abundance. Just as the dense earth nourishes and roots the trees, so too do the organs of the Spleen and Stomach nourish and root us. These organs are the earth element in us and they are responsible for transforming and transporting our food to nourish us with “post heaven qi”. The Earth is our center of gravity in both our interior and exterior, that allows us to move and change through life without losing balance.

 

People with a predominate Earth archetype are the peacemakers and those we call the “salt of the earth” as they establish, sustain and nurture relationships. They are those people in our lives that keep families and communities together. They are sensitive and reactive to the needs of others, sometimes to the point of neglecting their own needs or becoming overly concerned with themselves if they become unbalanced. The Earth person embodies sympathy, caring and friendship.

 

This is the time of year that we will have more issues with the Spleen/Stomach and it becomes easier for Earth to become unbalanced. Paired with our recent super-moon in Pisces, we will need to watch how, what and when we eat to keep emotions of worry, obsessive thinking and self-doubt in check. The power of Earth comes from the ability to link up with others and sustain a good balance between personal relationships, alone time and building community.

 

Do not feel sad that summer is ending. This is a glorious time. Enjoy and be grateful for the Earthy folks in our lives!

 

Wake up and see the Weeds

Posted by Gwen Williams on July 21, 2014 at 9:50 AM

We live in paradise and each of us has carved out our own unique, unconventional homesteads dotted in every nook and cranny along the shore. People from town are sometimes uncomfortable at first as they travel along our roads. They see big houses, small ones, bright and many colors, additions in odd configurations, lavish and humble, all mixed together.

 

Today while mowing my lawn, I became increasingly uncomfortable as I saw how I was decapitating the tops of the lovely little chickweed flowers, bluets, purple self-heal, tall yellow hawkweed, violets and other unnamed little plants that I have yet to identify. My lawn is really a closet meadow, very little actual grass… I was mowing because I was conforming to the expectation that my lawn be uniform, green, neat and short.

 

I then realized why I love my home, why I want to be here and that I don’t have to mow if I don’t want to. Nature in all its randomness is so much more beautiful than any landscape or structure we try to create. Our randomness and attempts to fit in with what just naturally grows around us is what I think, part of what it means to live on the shore.

 

Conformity, sameness and bland is what the world expects, wants and is comfortable with. The trend in the populated areas is houses on streets with restrictive covenants to ensure some level of sameness. Gardens are organized and planned to have colour splashes, height and textures in just the right spots. Lawns are uniform, green and “weeded” so only the chosen plants grow.

 

I love the randomness of our collection of homes, yard structures, escaped gardens, wildflowers n the sides of the roads, chicken coups, sheds of all kinds, garages without a roof, boats, the many known and secret beaches and the wild meadows. This randomness is the secret sauce that makes us interesting (we are rebels you see…;) and mirrors nature. If you live here a long time, you sometimes stop seeing and get too preoccupied to notice the beautiful surroundings.

 

Did you know that a small drop of water in a lupin leaf looks exactly like a diamond? This small gem would have gone un-noticed if I had not been paying attention and taken a picture of it. I almost missed it. And, I am not mowing again this season. Sorry neighbours, but I have a whole meadow of healing herbs that I want to explore before the summer is over.

 


What to eat? Looking Back in Time for Perspective

Posted by Gwen Williams on April 28, 2014 at 10:10 PM

There is so much confusion and conflicting reports about what we need to eat to be healthy that many people are saying, “I don’t know what to eat anymore.” My thought is that surely someone smart enough to stick the human race on this planet, would be smart enough to give us the resources to survive and thrive.

 

The discussion about the latest and greatest super food and arch villain of the edible world, is almost as popular as the weather. (Almost) Everyone talks about it and people have become very polarized in their beliefs about food. What to eat and what you believe about nutrition runs as deep and is as sensitive a topic as religion, in some circles.

 

I believe I have found what I was looking for. The answer lies in looking to our past. Our ancestors grew their own food, ate the animals they raised or hunted and lived off the land. According to studies looking back at all the historical data, our parents, parents, parents, did not have the same levels of health issues we have today with diabetes, obesity, infertility, heart disease,autoimmune disorders, depression, anxiety etc. Also they did not have shorter life spans, as some people would have us believe.

 

According to some emerging and controversial experts, we are essentially malnourished because of what we eat in our modern diets. There is much science looking back at large amounts of data and trends pointing to the importance of the traditional diet. This makes so much sense to me and I believe this is the common sense we forgot. Every food below under ``Do Eat``contains vital substances that our bodies need to grow, develop, repair and thrive.

 

Here is a summary of what I am learning about our traditional diets that we need to adopt to be healthy. If you have heard older folks say “eat everything in moderation” this sums up some of what we should do, with a few exceptions under caution below:

 

Do Eat:

 

Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt,kombucha, pickles (no vinegar); Seaweed; Organ meats; Grass fed beef; Free range eggs; Cod liver oil, fish eggs; Fish, salmon, herring; Lots of vegetables with fat; Esp. cooked green vegetables, kale, broccoli; cabbage family, cauliflower, turnip; onion family leeks, onions; Mushrooms; Brightly coloured vegetables,Soup stocks, bone broth; Whole milk; Whole eggs, Butter, lard/bacon fat, coconut oil, pure olive oil; Fruits in season; Berries; A variety of foods, all food groups; Real, natural food (as close to the source as possible)

 

Caution:

 

Restrict sugar; Restrict carbohydrates; No artificial sweeteners; Must ferment or sprout grains, nuts, and seeds; No processed oils; Good quality fats (toxins are stored in fats, know your sources); No processed foods; No soda drinks; No distilled water; No soy products; Do not restrict fat; Do not remove food groups with restrictive diets

A New Twist on Spring Cleaning

Posted by Gwen Williams on March 20, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Do you ever find yourself drawn to a particular book on your bookshelf or at a bookstore? I came in the house the other night to find that the cats had knocked one of my books, out of the bookshelf, and into the middle of the living room floor. I took this as a sign that perhaps there was something in this book I was supposed to read.

 

Today I finally opened the book. It was called: “Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui”, by Karen Kingston. I have lots of Feng Shui books and “clearing your clutter” is elementary step one. I didn’t need help with this so I never bothered to read it. The first page I opened at Chapter 21 had a little tick mark on it (a used book). It said:

 

“Clearing Spiritual Clutter:…the whole of the book has been about this…(it) obscures our vision…hinders uson our path. Each of us has a life purpose…Clearing clutter in all forms allows our original purpose…to re-surface…to clear the debris that prevents us from connecting with our Higher Self.”

 

I was surprised. I did a little speed-reading from the back towards the front until I got to some familiar ground. Not only is it important to keep your house tidy so good energy can circulate, we need to keep our bodies, our mind, our thoughts, our relationships, our consciences and our intentions tidy. This book put a whole new meaning on the term “Spring Cleaning”. There was definitely a message there for me (thank you kitties). So here is what I gleaned from what I read:

 

Adopting healthy eating habits that can give you that perfect bowel movement helps with physical clutter in our bodies.

Writing To Do lists and tying up the loose ends of tasks, gives us “uptime” to focus on the important things, and clears up mental clutter.

Examining why everything in your home has ducks or cats on it, or why you can’t throw out something you don’t need or use, could help identify blockages, or unmet needs, to clear emotional clutter.

Accepting others for who they are and stopping the judging, criticizing, worrying, gossiping and mental chatter that, makes us unhappy, clears psychological clutter.

Seeking relationships that uplift us and forgiving others, recovers the lost bits of our spirit, making us more complete and clears spiritual clutter.

Expecting goods things, being grateful and trusting we will be cared for, makes it so, by clearing clutter from our connection to the universe, higher power.

 

So as the snow melts, days start to get longer and you wearout the pages on that seed catalogue, don’t forget to plan for a little extra “Spring-Cleaning” this year. Getting rid of the clutter in the closets and under the bed can facilitate that deeper “de-cluttering” we could all benefit from.

Enjoy the Now

Posted by Gwen Williams on January 3, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Just this morning I was woke up with a knocking sound on the wall. My big orange cat was pawing at the TV, bumping it against the wall and making the noise that tells me the food bowl is empty. He knows that signal gets me up in big hurry.

 

Then as soon as I got up, my little dog was very keen on going outside right away to “explore”. I was immediately faced with a cool blast of fresh clean air to shake off the grogginess and noticed the wonderland of beautiful snow covered trees.

 

Ahhh. These little critters know how to bring you out of your head and your thoughts into the now. Because of my furry family members, my day now promises to be much more productive and I am able to enjoy the sun coming in the side window, that I would have missed, if I had slept longer.

 

Pets and children have a gift for bringing us back into the present and helping us to enjoy life’s moments that we may have missed otherwise. This is important because the present is the only thing we can count on. There is nothing we can do about the past and even if we do everything right, there is no guarantee the future will unfold as planned. The present is all we have.

 

The present is the place where we make good memories, do good things, help others and engage in relationships. The present time is also the place where we care for ourselves, take care of our health and heal. You may have had taken good care of yourself in the past and plan to get back to taking better care of yourself in the future but only doing it now, will do you any good.

 

People who are present and there for us, can have a profound impact on our lives. Over the years, I have met a few people who were really gifted in that regard. Even though our paths only crossed for a moment, there was a connection and somehow I was changed and made better by the encounter. I will never forget them.

 

The greatest gift we can give another person is a package of time in the present moment where we actively listen to, hear and see the other person, even if it is just conversation over a cup of tea.

 

So as we move into the New Year, my resolution is to be more aware that when the cats walk across my keyboard, I am the one who has strayed and it is time to take a break and enjoy the now.

Changes

Posted by Gwen Williams on December 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM

This has been a period of many changes. (In retrospect this was a period of GREAT and MANY changes from 2010 to 2013:


1. I was finishing up my 3 year training program in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In 2009, my children had put me on a dating site without asking my permission. I was not happy about that. I loved my contented solitary life. However I was learning in Chinese medicine that it was not good to be alone, so I stayed on that horrid dating site. I didn't enjoy 99% of the interactions, tried to keep my profile "real" as to attract maybe the right person. On April 29, 2010, I agreed to meet someone. He had good writing skillls and a sense of humor. I approached it like a business meeting but was surprised how much I enjoyed myself. We had a great connection, so much so that I re-examined my vow to never re-marry and married him on July 1, 2010. It was a surprise wedding for our families. It was orginally planned as just a BBQ. That event created a whole lot of excitment and it is now a annual event for us.

Original notes from July 24, 2011: I just celebrated my 1st anniversary of my marriage to a wonderful person. We have seen people move out, made changes to the house and property, changed careers, have persevered and won battles with health and neighbors. I am awaiting the birth of my 1st grandaughter and I have gained a whole new family with 3 great step grandkids. The little non-humans in our household have held up well with all this change. They especially love their new "papa" because he is so good to us.


2. Renovations. We did many to the "cottage". New doors, new plumbing to repair the old and moved the entire system deep in the ground under the old cottege and up into the new section. Now we did not have to worry about freezing pipes and with the new wall under the front, we had more protection from the north winds. We did go the entire summer of 2011 and into the fall without any runnning water. We spent a lot of time in the lake...Good thing I love to swim. We built the clinic in the 2 rooms formerly occupied by children, friends and my mother. My mother moved in with me in 2009 and I covered up all the wonderful murals painted by the teenagers. I added a door with a separate entry and a deck on the northwest side for her to sit. After she left, we then changed the rooms again by joining them with a door to make a larger clinic. We finished up the renos with an expansion of the bedroom and creation of the laundry room in the old "cottage" section.


3. All my children ended up in Alberta. My mother who had moved in moved out again. In 2011, the house was left to just my husband and I. My first grand-daughter was born on August 15, 2011 in Calgary. What a wonderful child that has brought so much joy to my life. Even better my daugther and her finance moved home from Calgary in 2012. We hava a big wedding coming up August 1, 2014 that will prove to be a great event AND in addtion to a new step son, another grandbaby on the way!


4. I opened my Acupuncture Business the last week of September 2011, called Eastern Shore Holistic Acupuncture. The newly found empty spaces in our home was a perfect spot for my clinic. There were lots of renovations needed to create a parking area. We built a garage and as a result took down a small forest of trees separating the house from the road. I really hated to take down the trees and really struggled with that decision. The postive result is that my husband is very happy with the garage and there is more sunlight. Now I can have gardens again!


5. My husband was diagnosed with a serious illness in 2010, just 3 months after we were married. After surgery, radiical western treament, supported by my Chinese medicine, homemade tea and acupuncture, he healed. It was a year long battle of treatment and recovery that we have now been able to put behind us. With good health and a bright fruture ahead, we took the shock of the year's events, to create a bucket list "just in case". So we just did one more renovation needed for the clinic; stairs down the hill for better safety in the winter. Now our focus is back to the bucket list. The cottage will remain as is and we spend our time between garage, clinic and family.


6. March 29, 2013, my son got married in BC and resides with his wife, my new step-daughter in Calgary. The wedding was a wonder event in the mountains still draped in snow at that time. I am so blessed with an even further expanding family and it makes me so happy to see my children doing well and making their way in the world with jobs, homes, pets and children of their own.)

Getting Ready for Winter

Posted by Gwen Williams on November 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

I like this time of year. The air is so fresh and clean. Soon we will enjoy the silence of snow. Summer and fall are loud months. Voices carry on the wind, on the water and people are always outside laughing, talking and being busy. Have you ever noticed how much snow insulates and buffers out noise and sounds? If you are a “water element” like myself, you will look forward to the quiet, slower pace of winter.

 

Winter is a time of hibernation, contemplation, introspection, getting in touch with our passions and dreaming. In Chinese medicine, winter is correlated to water, dark blue, black, willpower and potential. Like a seed we “go underground”. The emotion of water is fear, the sound is groaning and the organs affected are bladder and kidneys. The kidneys “open to the ears”, support bones, influence hair growth, lay the foundation for reproduction and fertility and are the source of our life force.

 

The ancient sages, in the medicine I practice, tell us to live in harmony with nature and the patterns of the seasons. Winter is the season to conserve energy, heal, recuperate, regenerate and rest. Even though we have electricity to extend our ability to stay up and work late, it is a good idea to go to bed earlier, sleep a little longer and rest more. It is important, especially as winter approaches, to protect our kidneys by keeping our lower back warm and eating foods to support kidney health.

 

The foods we need to consider for winter include salty and bitter flavours. These support the kidneys or “water energy” because they promote a sinking, centering quality. Bitter foods include endive, watercress, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, rye, oats, quinoa, amaranth and citrus peels. Bitter herbs include chicory root, dandelion root and burdock root. Salty foods include, miso, soya sauce, seaweeds, salt, millet and barley. Use these foods in warm hearty soups with warm spices like black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and onion. Include warming meats like pork or shellfish, eggs, small dark beans and steamed/cooked greens and vegetables. Also cook foods longer, at lower temperatures with less water.

 

It is OK to put on the odd pound or two, but keep mobile to keep from getting stiff. A gentle movement therapy like my Five Element Dance is good way to do that. Avoid fasting, strict low calorie diets, lots of cold raw food and cleanses in the upcoming cold months. It is also a good idea to reduce the intensity of any rigorous exercise regimes until spring.

 

If you want to burst forth in spring with aspirations of good health and lots of energy, this is the time to lay the foundation for that to happen. Now is a good time to come see me for a diagnosis and suggestions to improve any imbalances. You can always book a free consult and see sample of my dance at www.holisticacupuncture.ca.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Nutrition: It is not just about what you eat

Posted by Gwen Williams on August 14, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Did you know that the nature or properties of the foods you eat, how you eat and your frame of mind, affects nutritional intake and ultimate wellness?

 

The stomach and spleen are paired in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and together this system, along with the lung/large intestine system, provides the life-giving energy the body needs to feed and protect itself. Many imbalances and health issues according to TCM diagnosis, start with stomach/spleen issues. Western medical practitioners and naturopaths also believe many problems related to health, such as inflammation, allergies and autoimmune disorders, start with digestive problems.

 

According to TCM, the stomach and spleen are responsible for transformation and transportation of nutrients and fluids. The stomach likes dampness, warm temperatures and is affected by emotions. The stomach and spleen dominate muscle strength, control blood and transform dampness. Examples of symptoms related to issues with the spleen and stomach show up as pale colouring to the mouth/lips, yellowing of complexion, fatigue, diarrhea, easy bruising, prolapses, varicose veins, edema, nausea, digestive issues (bloating, gas, pain), lack of taste, heavy limbs and prolonged menstruation or bleeding.

 

The nature of the food is important. Overly spicy food or dry food can aggravate the stomach causing “heat” or “yin deficiency” problems. Cold or raw foods can cause stagnation with bloating, gas, flatulence or pain. If you already have a “cold” imbalance then it is OK to eat spicy foods. If you already have a “heat” imbalance then cold and raw is OK. The situation is different for every person. If you find you are ravenous for food at certain times of the day, chances are you have stomach heat. Food consisting of a warm, moist, neutral balance is best.

 

In terms of how you eat, it is important to chew well and eat meals at regular times. Don’t over-indulge, eat too fast, nibble, read while eating, eat too late at night, think about work, worry, or be sad or angry while eating. Emotional strain is a detriment to good digestion. A positive frame of mind is best. In particular, worry, over thinking and over analysing, even when not eating, can affect digestion over a long period of time and can lead to chronic deficiencies.

 

 So my advice is: be mindful of your eating habits, maintain a balance of temperature and moisture, chew well, eat on a regular schedule and most of all, be happy when eating!

It is Summer!

Posted by Gwen Williams on July 16, 2013 at 10:35 PM

As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, summer is fire and is about the heart, relationships, joy, laughter and heat. That could also translate to passion in intimate relationships and lots of socializing and partying in our wider scope of friendship. The heart helps us be our true self and works with our intuition. It is paired with the small intestine representing clarity, discernment and judgement which helps us see what is good for us and who is not.

 

The heart opens to the tongue, shows up in the complexion and is responsible for blood. It is also the house of the Shen (mind, emotions and thought). You see the Shen when you look into someone’s eyes. With good Shen the eyes are bright, clear and the person is present and appropriately engaged in your conversation. Excellent Shen shows up as a “sparkle in the eyes”. People with good Shen recover well from illness. With poor Shen people can’t “look you in the eye” or you get the feeling “nobody is home”. These folks may have experienced some emotional trauma and don’t heal as readily as others.

 

Summer is the height of yang (high energy and heat) while winter is yin and coldness. Now is the time when we have the most energy and we just want to go places meet people and have fun. The sound of summer is laughing and people who are predominantly a fire element may have a “laughing voice”, may laugh a lot during conversation and can be very charming. Now is the time to go out of your way to meet new people and talk to strangers. Go on adventures and see who comes into your life!

 

In the summer we love to have fires, roast “stuff” and have BBQs. The taste of the heart and summer is bitter and burnt. Foods good for you in the summer are colourful, vibrant, yin and cooling. Meals should be light, cooked quickly with steam or simmering, high heat and short cooking times. Include bitter greens such as dandelion, swiss chard, romaine or broccoli, vegetables and fruit such as cucumber, celery (also good for blood pressure), alfalfa, apples, watermelon and lemon. Hot spices are good in small amounts to induce sweat and cool the body. Drink teas such as mint or chamomile while avoiding ice drinks and cold foods (not good for digestion).

 

The most important thing in Chinese medicine is to be in synch with the seasons while staying balanced. So enjoy yourself. Be active, visit friends and family and laugh a lot. The water element controls fire, so to keep the fire in check, go to the beach and stay near the water. The fluids associated with the fire element, is sweat, so drink lots of fluids (you can add a bit of salt sugar and lemon to water for mineral replacement and taste) and don’t forget to rest. The peak time for heart is from 11am to 1pm so be active morning to midday, rest in the afternoon and be sure to be in bed by midnight.

Aromatherapy and Stress

Posted by Gwen Williams on July 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Fragrances can move us, bring back memories, improve memory, give us courage and change our mood to help us feel more positive, energized, happy, relaxed, aroused, sleepy or creative. Essential oils activate the olfactory system (sense of smell) to trigger the brain and affect mechanisms for mood or healing. When used therapeutically, aromatherapy is considered a form of alternative medicine.

 

Essential oils come from natural sources, mostly plants that are either cold pressed, distilled or extracted into a solvent. Quality is important and they must be pure if you want to gain therapeutic affects (synthetic scents are not beneficial). They are expensive but you only need a few drops at a time. Make sure the oils are in a dark bottle that carries the Latin name, the common name, the supplier name, the country of origin, “organic” and any other additive or oils, if diluted.

 

Unlike chemical synthetic scents, essential oils do not have negative side effects. They are very balancing. However safety is important. For topical application on the skin, dilute the oil in a carrier (another oil, cream), do not over use one oil, don’t ingest them, don’t put them in your eyes and keep them away from children. Also look at any precautions on the bottle because some fruit based oils can increase sensitivities to light.

 

There are a number of oils that are exceptionally good for relieving anxiety, stress and depression. Bergamot is my first choice for depression, anxiety and nervous tension while Lavender is my favourite aroma for calming and balancing emotional extremes. If you want to increase mental stamina and improve concentration, add Basil or Black Pepper. To help you feel more grounded, less irritable or anxious, add Fir, Black Spruce or Marjoram. Fir and Black Spruce also help with respiratory issues. Marjoram can be sedating and also eases joint pain. Neroli and Roman Chamomile are very relaxing and can help with sleep. Neroli also inspires confidence and is an aphrodisiac.

 

To improve your outlook on the world, some of the oils can do this by balancing the emotions in addition to relieving stress. Cardamom and Orange remind us of life’s abundance and combat negative thinking. Lemon, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Tangerine and Jasmine are happy oils and are great revitalizers and stimulants. Elemi and Spearmint are calming. Spikenard is very calming (sedating). Clary Sage is good for panic attacks but has estrogenic action. Tangerine and Grapefruit are also good to enhance weight loss.

 

We feel stressed when there is too much to do, things are not going as expected or as planned, we are not doing what we want to do, or we don’t know what we want. Depression, a gloomy outlook, overwhelming feelings of irritability, guilt, sadness, unworthiness or hopelessness can be more deep-seated, temporary or chronic. Many people suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. You are not alone. Essential oils, acupuncture and herbal therapy can help but also be sure to reach out to someone, see an MD or talk to a therapist, if your condition affects and interferes with your daily life.


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