Mysterious Pass

 

By watching Fabienne Verdier1 paint, it is possible to enter the contemplative and meditative space from which she works in a palpable way. Spontaneous movement embodied as the moment emerges through her being- through the brushes, paint, the forces of nature, and elements around her. She says, “When I paint a tree, I become a tree, when I paint water I become water. The same with tectonic forces. It’s something self-generating. I feel it powerfully in my heart. It comes out in an abstract form.”

Like in the teachings of Taoist sages, she too is engaged in the practice of emptiness creating itself. Such practices require silence and solitude, enough to create a highly receptive state where one can begin to truly hear. Fabienne says, “you hear your inner voice, sometimes the inner voice of clarity itself. I don’t know, it’s a great mystery.”

I see many parallels in Fabienne’s practice as a painter to the practice of a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. In the treatment room with a patient, together we open to possibility- to emptiness- to mystery-to the forces of nature- to the elements- with a shared intention, and then we see what ‘wants’ to happen. When this inquiry engages and moves with the tools of Chinese Medicine, something new is able to emerge- bringing change and creating space as nourishing ground for the spontaneous arising of harmony, clarity, and wholeness embodied. True healing is a mystery- moving away from the known toward the unknown in a dance of moving stillness and stillness moving.

 

 

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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