The Journey of Ice Caps and Tears

Meandering along the water’s edge, fire and water kiss the earth in a resplendent dance between sun and wave. A deep internal resonance emerges in my being. My heart, like a moving mandala flowering outward, expands to meet the sunlight shimmering in the water’s reflection.

When the heart opens to the outermost edges of its blossoming, there is a threshold where joy and sadness meet and intermingle- like how a flower in full bloom reaches its completion and naturally moves toward its waning. Both are necessarily included in the wholeness (yin and yang) of the heart.

One way in which fire and water relate in the body, is though the heart/kidney axis- a foundational connection that nourishes the seeds of one’s potential by connecting with the shen spirit/divine consciousness. Together, they provide a central axis around which one’s growth and transformation is supported throughout one’s lifetime. Sometimes the vital connection between the heart (fire) and kidneys/adrenals (water) is weakened. One can become frozen and unable to move forward. Great care is needed to attend to this place of frozenness. Fire and water can re-establish connection by bringing enough warmth (fire) to the frozen water so that it can once again flow. Just as the sun warms and nourishes all life on earth, one’s inner sun (the heart) warms and nourishes the body and soul.

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Dragons and Ants – Guides From Beyond

The west wind howls through the forest under a dark shapeshifting sky as I make way through the chaos of tree and limb. Hair flying wildly around the edges of my hat- I lean in to a churning invisible force so palpable, I can almost see the outline of dragons thrashing wildly between earth and sky- stirring the pot, creating chaos, bringing change. 1

I reach an opening of plush tender moss. Some movement catches my eye. Crouching low I find hundreds of ants on and within a large mound, busily following their instinctive impulse- building and burrowing in a spectacular orderless order. I reflect on how bothersome ants can be to humans. Like ants invading our picnic, there are those things in life that steal into our carefully curated lives, rearranging who we think we are and all we hold dear.

Yet all bugs have a vital purpose in the web of life. Ants aerate and amend the soil. They eat other insects, and carry seeds deeper into the earth for germination. As natural architects, ants are able to build and connect intricate pathways and create living structures. Here, in the middle of a windstorm, these little creatures continue on with their purpose unfazed.

I reflect on the ways in which the irritating, messy, unresolved, uncomfortable aspects of one’s life call for attention- the addictions, habits, crises, chronic pains, failures, longings, compulsions, cravings, relationship problems, embarrassments, that thing you thought your were ‘done with’ but now it is back, and more. Even when one has worked diligently toward healing/whole-making, these ‘bugs’ continue to show up, often when it is least expected, begging us to open to something more.

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Inner Pilgrimage (Part II)


As we collectively weather the whirlwind of change, overwhelming or unprocessed emotions may be felt as physical symptoms in the body. By establishing regular practices to listen inside, one develops a way to center- to connect, ground, move, release, or transform trapped or frozen emotions and energy.

In Chinese Medicine, unprocessed emotions which manifest as mysterious physical symptoms speak to the realm of the po spirits. The po are connected to one’s animal instincts, physical sensation, and subconscious material. They are related to the physical embodiment of spirit- the corporeal soul- and are connected to the metal element. The po are the yin aspect of spirit, live in the lungs, and circulate between the lungs and large intestine. When healthy, the po anchor the yang aspects of spirit and extract what is of value from our life experiences. There are many ways to nourish the po- though feeding the senses, movement practices, conscious breathing, engaging with nature, spending time with animals.

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