Fall Flavors II

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 4th, 2012 | Comments Off on Fall Flavors II

Hello All.

Today I will briefly talk about common Lung conditions and ways to treat them with whole foods. All this information comes straight from the book, Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, 3rd Edition.

HEAT CONGESTING THE LUNGS will show as a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and possibly thick, yellow-green sputum.

Foods that help cool and transform the sputum are: watercress, cantaloupe, apple, persimmon, peach, pear, strawberry, citrus, seaweed (agar, nori, kelp), mushroom, daikon radish, radish, carrot, pumpkin, kuzu, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, chard, and papaya.

Cook soups as soups are comforting to the stomach and easy to digest. Soups with barley, millet or rice are soothing for Lung Heat. Watercress is the most effective food of the list above.

Foods to avoid: coffee, alcohol, lamb, chicken, beef, warming fish (trout, salmon, anchovy), onion, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, and fennel. These are all warming foods.

PHLEGM IN THE LUNGS is when mucous accumulates in the Lungs, often brought about by deficient Spleen Qi and poor digestion, when food isn’t fully transformed and there is inflammation in the form of excess mucous. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, wheezing, or asthma accompanied by sticky phlegm. The treatment will be to transform, reduce, and or expel phlegm.

Foods and spices: fennel, fenugreek, flaxseed, cayenne, watercress, garlic, onions, horseradish, turnip, fresh ginger, radish, daikon radish, mushroom, and seaweeds.

Foods to avoid: all dairy, mammal meats, peanuts, tofu, tempeh, miso, soy products (soy sauce, milk, etc.) sweeteners. Stevia can be used as a sweetener.

Best method is to eat simple small meals that are easy to digest.

DEFICIENT QI OF THE LUNGS is a chronic, often debilitating lung pattern. Symptoms include: weakness, fatigue, weak voice and limited speech, coughing and shortness of breath. There can also be spontaneous sweating with any activity and frequent cold and flu spells. Treatment will consist of choosing foods that will tonify lung qi and improve absorption of qi that we gather from food.

Foods and herbs: rice, sweet rice, oats, carrots, mustard greens, sweet potato, yam. potato, fresh ginger, garlic, molasses, rice syrup, barley malt, and herring.

Foods that are cooling and/or mucous forming should be avoided. They include: citrus, salt, all dairy, spinach, chard and seaweeds.

So in this entry you have learned foods that warm, foods that cool, foods that moisten and foods that dry. Keeping immunity up in the next several months will be important. Eat well, get enough sleep, wash your hands and be sure to get plenty of antioxidants into your diet. I will sometimes drink an Emergen-C (a packet of powder of essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that dissolves and fizzes in water). Another thing that will build the defensive qi (wei qi) that circulates on the level of the skin is using a loofa or sugar or salt scrub to slough off the dead skin. Scrubbing the skin reinvigorates the wei qi and keeps it active in the prevention of external pathogens. Wearing a scarf that covers the back of your neck will also help as the chinese believe Wind (which is “the spearhead of all diseases”) enters through a point at the base of the back of the neck.

I hope you all stay healthy through the seasons. Listen to your body and cater to your needs. If it is telling you you are tired, don’t push through anyway. Drop what you’re doing and take a nap or go to bed. You will wake up refreshed and ready to pick up where you’ve left off.

Till next time, Be Well!

Posted in Article

Fall Flavors I

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 3rd, 2012 | Comments Off on Fall Flavors I

Greetings!

My Dad is 67 today, and I have a lot to do to honor his birthday. Today’s blog will be the first of a two-parter and will feature yummy recipes with Fall flavors. Tomorrow’s entry will go into detail about the medicinal qualities of foods that will boost immunity and protect the Lungs and Large Intestines delicate mucous membranes. We will explore flavors and how you can treat yourself while cold and flu season approaches.

HONEY-CARAMELIZED FIGS WITH YOGURT

1 Tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling

8 oz fresh figs, halved

2 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Heat honey in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook figs, cut sides down, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Serve over yogurt with cinnamon and pistachios. Drizzle with honey if desired.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, APPLE, AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled,  seeded, and diced (3 cups)

3/4 cup superfine brown rice flour

1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup hazelnut flour

1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground ginger

3 large eggs

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup cane sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1 sweet apple, such as a Gala, peeled, cored, and grated (1 cup)

2 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts

1. Heat the oven to 350* and line a muffin pan with 12 baking cups.

2. Steam squash until tender, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients except sugars. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 cup squash puree, sugars, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest.

4. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well incorporated, then fold in apple. Spoon batter into baking cups and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center becomes clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For an additional antioxidant boost, add one cup frozen blueberries and bake muffins an additional 5 minutes.

KALE, PINEAPPLE, AND ALMOND-MILK SMOOTHIE

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup packed, chopped kale

1/2 cup pineapple juice (organic)

1/2 cup diced pineapple (fresh, not canned)

1 banana

Puree ingredients in a blender until smooth.

All above recipes are from Whole Living magazine

CURRIED SWEET POTATO AND BROWN RICE SOUP

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (12-14 ounces each), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Maple syrup, for serving

In large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add celery, carrot, and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and vegetables are beginning to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, rice, and curry powder. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice grains are translucent, 3-4 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer. Cook until rice is tender and sweet potatoes to soften, 35 to 50 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately as a chunky soup or pureeing 1-2 cups with an immersion blender, and stirring back into the pot. Serve hot with maple syrup drizzled over bowl.

CURLY KALE AND POTATO SOUP WITH SAUSAGE

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage, casings removed
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large bunch kale, stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
  • 1 pound waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and sliced thin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until crumbled and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes more. Add kale, potatoes, and reserved sausage, along with a couple pinches of salt. Cook about three minutes longer, then add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the kale and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and top with fresh black pepper and grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Both soups above are from www.seriouseats.com

Notice what new produce is out at your local market. Pears, kale and pumpkin are among the really yummy Fall harvest. Put away your raw salads and get your dutch oven out so you can start cooking up some hearty stews. Your body will thank you.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for some nutritional tips to stay healthy as we shift into cooler temperatures.

Posted in Article

Good Grief

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on September 26th, 2012 | Comments Off on Good Grief

Hello everyone!

How is the Fall treating you? Are you able to breathe more deeply? Do you feel a shift in your body from the Summer to the Fall? Are you slowing down a little? Are you reflecting more?

Today’s topic is going to flesh out grief a little. Grief is an emotional response to a loss of any kind. Most commonly it is thought of as a loss of a loved one or pet. It can also be felt by a loss of limb, or any other body part or function, divorce, a break-up, a job, etc. It is common that people will tell me there was no time to grieve their loss. Some will say they had to table their grief to take care of others. Some of us may just find it challenging to go there. Explore in yourselves any stories you have about grief. Are any of them negative? I find this culture to be uncomfortable around anger and grief, which can sometimes go hand in hand. Let’s look at some common negative stories or misconceptions about grief:

If I cry, I am weak… I have to be strong for my family…

Feeling sad, angry and scared is a normal response to a loss. Tears are just a natural expression for some. Showing up authentically, however that appears, will serve you and your family and friends 1) by honoring yourself and where you are and not creating any stagnation by stuffing down any feelings, and 2) by showing up and showing them healthy ways of moving through grief without shame.

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”
William Shakespeare

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.”
― Jose N. Harris, MI VIDA

Time heals all wounds… If I ignore it, it will go away…

Ignoring the pain, the grief, whatever emotions come up, will only stow them away for a later day where they either come up as emotion or worse, as a physical ailment. Also, the energy you use to ignore and stuff your grief will most likely take away from other aspects of your life. You may feel numb, distant, detached, not quite your full self.

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
― John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

Grief is heavy and I don’t want to burden anyone with what I am going through…

Actually, when you are reaching out for help, you are giving someone the opportunity to feel useful, needed, important, caring and appreciated. It is up to anyone who stands up to be there for someone to draw their own boundaries. There are people who tend to ‘not want to burden’ their friends and family and they end up isolating themselves and feeling worse. Those people are generally people who wouldn’t hesitate to support their loved ones. Everyone benefits from love and support, so do not cut off your nose to spite your face. Swallow your pride or guilt or worry and ask for what you need and be receptive to how your community scoops you up in your time of need.

I don’t have time for this right now…

Honestly, what is more pressing than acknowledging a loss in your life that has you forever changed? Honoring what you’ve lost and at the same time honoring your body and giving it the time and space it needs to adjust to the change has to rank pretty high on the list of priorities. Life shows up as it will. It can feel disruptive if we cling to our own timelines and plans and while we’re still trying to fit life into a mold we created, it is still going on around us. How present are we to it? How present do we want to be to it? What price do we pay if we are not (see the second bullet point).

I am sure there are many other reactions that may not serve us in the movement of our grief. Take a moment and reflect. Is there and feeling of loss, sadness or grief that you’ve held onto? Explore that for a few minutes. Is there still some acknowledgement that would serve before you let it go?

I am mainly focusing on those who have trouble expressing grief. I do acknowledge those who have trouble letting go of their grief. It is important to know you can let go of the grief without letting go of the love and of the person you are grieving. Turning grief into appreciation can be a very healing thing. Putting your focus on the love and good memories rather than the loss. Of course, this all is easier said than done, but the process towards success starts with your intention.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
-Mary Elizabeth Frye

So, I hope I’ve given you something to reflect upon. Open up your senses to the Fall. Get in touch with your physical body. Spread your consciousness past your head and your mind and even past your everyday aches and pains. Spend some time with your lungs. How is your breathing? Spend some time with your heart. Does it feel tight or constricted? Spend some time in a space in your body you rarely explore. Spend some time in quiet reflection. If you find some emotions come up, welcome them and then let them go. Feel yourself getting lighter and lighter until all you are is light itself.

Until next week, Be Well.

Posted in Article

Connection and Disconnect

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on September 19th, 2012 | Comments Off on Connection and Disconnect

Hello Everyone!

This morning I woke up with a thought: “What is the feeling of being connected to Source?”

When I say ‘Source’, I am referring to God as you know Him, the divine Universe, the miraculous, the unseen magic that drives all life, the fuel for inspiration. We are in Fall and the corresponding organs are Lungs and Large Intestine. To get in touch with your Lungs is to feel the awe, the wonder of the magic of the unseen. There is an uplifting excitement that has you draw in breath and your focus shifts on the Source that is giving you the feeling of being lighter than air. There is a quiet. There is a spaciousness. There is a humility and surrender.

There are people that come into my practice with the label of ‘depression’. A commonality I see is that most will say they are ‘agnostic’ or that they do not believe in God altogether. Their experience is feeling cut off, disconnected, flat, heavy, dull. Can one have a sense of awe and deny the existence of Source? If not, what is it to live your life cutting yourself off to the mystical?

“This is all there is. I can only believe in what I can see, touch, measure, dissect and conclude. I am not interested in being moved. I am practical and logical. There is an explanation for everything.”

This sounds very left brain, and yet, we were born with two hemispheres:

LEFT BRAIN

I am Left Brain. I am a scientist. A mathemetician.

I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear.

Strategic. I am practical.

Always in control. A master of words and language.

Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers.

I am order. I am logic.

I know exactly who I am.

RIGHT BRAIN

I am Right Brain.

I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion.

Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter.

I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet.

I am movement. Vivid colors.

I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas.

I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel.

I am everything I want to be.

When a person gets too left brain they can get very rigid in their Mind and in their way of being. Their world starts to shrink and breathing gets constricted. As their world contracts, there becomes less and less space for welcoming people in their life. They become isolated and cut off. Life seems to have very little joy or meaning. This is what it is to be stuck in the Fall. My job as an acupuncturist is to keep someone moving with the seasons.

How do you know when you are connected or disconnected from Source? How do you tap into it to that which is unseeable and untouchable? In a previous post from last Valentine’s Day I stated that loneliness is the feeling of being disconnected to ourselves. As I see it, it would be a tremendous help to first connect with yourself before you ever make the effort to connect to others or to God. Get centered and still. Welcome all thoughts and feelings that may come rushing in. Find a home in yourself and stay there a while till every corner, ever window, every smell becomes familiar. And sit there in observation. Set a place of non-judgement. Make it a safe space filled with love and acceptance. Then I am sure you will be well on your way with feeling more connected to your soul and all that is spiritual. If there is fear, welcome it. If there is anger, witness it. If there is sadness, cradle it. We all are our own instruments of divine peace. Let go. Surrender.

I will finish with a lovely poem from the Sufi, Hafiz:

A CUSHION FOR YOUR HEAD

Just sit there right now
Don’t do a thing
Just rest.
For your seperation from God,
From love,
Is the hardest work
In this
World.
Let me bring you trays of food
And something
That you like to
Drink.
You can use my soft words
As a cushion
For your
Head.

And with that I will leave you all, hopefully more inspired and willing to strive for more expansion within yourselves. Don’t settle. Life can always be more. I invite you all to say a prayer today from the heart. Design it however you will.

Till next time, Be Well.

Posted in Article

Letting Go of Prefection

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on September 5th, 2012 | Comments Off on Letting Go of Prefection

Hello Everyone!

I have returned from California, fully embracing the Fall energy and am here to offer my experience and insights from a rather challenging trip! I hope this finds you all well, every day another opportunity to grow and expand your higher selves.

Some of you know, I went to California with a very special job. My best friend,Tyler, of 23 years was getting married and asked me to decorate his wedding cake! I said, “Of course!” with no hesitation. Really, the only red flag that I ignored was that of my unlimited ambition. The theme of the wedding was ‘Magical Forest’. All summer I sketched out ideas, practiced meringue mushrooms, sugar ferns, edible moss etc. I also sculpted their toppers out of clay. The topper was made of two pieces; a tree stump with their names carved in a heart one the front and the date of their wedding on the back, and a sculpture of their beloved shih tzu, Annie. A lot of care and planning had gone into this project before I even made it to California. I am a creature who tends to cling to the illusion of control with big projects like this. I am a perfectionist and I have a clear vision of what the finished work looks like in my mind. I rehearsed it over and over again, thinking of every possible catastrophe and solution. Or so I thought…

I arrive at my destination, brimming with excitement to start this project of a lifetime. The first day, I went shopping for all my supplies and got straight to work on the meringue mushrooms and gum paste leaves. I was right on schedule. The cake was baked and assembled by a professional bakery in town, which was to be delivered the next day, so I was very much relieved that, that part of the project was not my responsibility.

The next morning, I woke up with the aim to complete the assembly of the mushrooms. They were oddly a little tacky, so I popped them in the oven for another hour-no big deal. Well, I found out that morning that meringue is extremely delicate. If you want to know how humid or dry your place is, whip up some meringue and see how it responds. Back home, I was working in an air-conditioned, closed environment. In California, I was working with open windows and no AC. Ok… not the ideal environment. In fact, I found that this did not just apply to the mushrooms, but also to the sugar ferns, that are delicately piped sugar creations that ideally harden to stand up on their own. I found that most everything I had easily accomplished at home, somehow took at least twice as long over there in sunny California.

With every snafu, I was increasingly getting more frustrated, discouraged and more exhausted. Time was ticking away as I wasted day 2 and day 3, getting closer and closer to the Big Day! It was right around day 4, the Thursday before the Saturday wedding, when I broke down into tears. And this is where I tie this all into the season: These were not tears of frustration, but tears of grief. My perfectionist was forced to recognize that my vision could not be realized exactly as I played it out in my mind. I had to let go of my original vision. I had to let go.

It was painful. I took some deep breaths, until I felt an empty calm move through me. I acknowledged the beauty of my original vision, and kissed it goodbye, knowing that clinging to it would only stagnate my process and bring me more misery.

Once I let go of ‘my perfect vision’, I was empty again, which freed me up for the cake to come together and unfold as it would.

So, the cake came together, and with much ingenuity, I was able to get the sugar ferns on there in one piece after all. The groom never wanted mushrooms on his cake, so it all was for the best. The cake made it to the venue with very little damage. I repaired and restored it to a state of completion and polish and walked away from if for most of the evening. Again, breathing a sigh of relief and detaching myself from my project to ensure I did not obsess over it.

My parents also came to the event. Shortly after dinner was served, I came over to their table to check in with them. My dad teased me by saying, “the right side of the cake seems to be drooping a little.” I smiled and nodded and generally dismissed the comment along with his pessimism. We continued chatting and maybe a few minutes later, I look over and a young man from the catering staff is nervously holding the top two tiers of the cake at about a thirty degree angle! I freeze, and my mother tells me I need to get over there to help with the cake. (Seriously?)

By the time I made it there, more of the catering staff swarmed over the cake like frantic bees defending their queen. Trays and spatulas in hand, trying desperately to salvage my masterpiece. They made a valiant effort. In the end, the top tier made it unscathed. I looked down at my cake-coverd hands-at the carnage I could see just past them. All I could do was crack up. The moment was ludicrous to me! I stepped out to have a moment to myself. I was met by a few friends who comforted me. Again, the best thing I could do for myself and everyone around was to let go. Let go of the humiliation I was feeling. Let go of the shock and disappointment of the cake not making it to the cutting for pictures. Let go of any ideal I had for how things were going to go and turn out.

As I’ve said before, there is a poignancy in the Fall. The experience is appreciating the beauty while holding the impermanence of the moment. Admiring the golds, red, oranges of the leaves and at the same time knowing that they will soon dry up and loose their color to a muddy brown as they die and return to the Earth. The external beauty of the material, when held too tightly will ultimately cause one grief, pain and disappointment. The truth of the matter is, that which is truly of value is immaterial. The cake in the end, didn’t matter. What mattered was the love I have for my friend, Tyler. The cake was an expression of that love and was destined to be a success no matter how it turned out. It was also destined to be destroyed from the beginning, where it could then be enjoyed by 167 people. Rather than being attached to my work, I immerse myself in the process.

Ultimately what I want for all of you is to make choices that create expansion in your being. Think how small and sad I would feel if I decided to stay in upset over the cake debacle. Instead, I fed my more expanded self, reflecting on what is essential and worth holding onto. What are we holding onto that has us flourish and grow? There is a great Cherokee legend I’d like to end with:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I hope this all finds you well. Keep practicing. Practice makes permanent.

Till next time, Be Well.

Posted in Article

Treat Yourself and Forgive

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on August 22nd, 2012 | Comments Off on Treat Yourself and Forgive

Hello All!

We are in the transition into Fall. Do you feel it? Do you notice a shift in your body as well as outside? Is your mood shifting?

Today I would like to prepare us for the lovely Fall energy with some thoughts on forgiveness. Fall is about letting go to what no longer serves so that we may make room for new gifts. The leaves must let go and fall to the Earth so that new growth can emerge in the Spring. The organs of the Fall are Lung and Large Intestine. The Lungs can not inspire without fully expiring. The Lungs breathe in precious oxygen to diffuse it into the blood where then it is carried out to every cell in our bodies. The Lungs must expire carbon dioxide (which can become toxic if not kept at a certain level) before taking another breath. The Lungs are literally and figuratively where we get our inspiration from. It is no coincidence that our language links the Lungs with breath and a sense of divine influence that has us be moved. The Large Intestine is also charged with the task of letting go. The Large Intestine’s job is to hone in on precious minerals that need to be reabsorbed into the body as nutrients before sending the rest of the bulk as waste to be eliminated. The Lung and Large Intestine thrive on rhythm (breath and peristalsis). These are organs that enjoy the feeling of being empty and clean.

With all that being said, you may already be thinking about the importance of letting go for both of these organs and the consequences of getting backed up or held up on a physical as well as mental and spiritual level.

So, for today’s topic, I chose Forgiveness.

Take a moment and reflect. Is there anyone in your life you are holding something against? Do you feel someone has wronged you? Are you holding onto disappointment, hurt, anger, betrayal, resentment? Is there anything you are holding onto in your life that is minimizing or cutting off your ability to love someone fully? Is there anything you are holding against yourself? Are you being too hard on yourself?

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
-Buddha

Anger, resentment, betrayal, disappointment; these are all states that live inside of us. We are the ones experiencing them, living them. We are the ones who will be hurt by them, emotionally and physiologically. No amount of hate, no matter how strong, will touch another unless they welcome that hate-which of course is out of our control.

When you forgive, you are giving yourself a treatment. You are letting go of whatever bad feelings you have that rob you of your peace, love and joy. Focus this week on what you can let go of. Think about the gift you will bring to yourself by letting go. Sometimes pride can get in the way. Remember, you are not forgiving another because “they deserve it”, you are doing it because it will serve you. And if you’re waiting for the other person to apologize, don’t waste your time. Swallow your pride and be the one to offer movement in a stagnant  situation. There is also no need to verbally forgive someone. You can do it privately to yourself. The effects for yourself will be the same-Freedom from negativity.

Everything we hold onto carries a weight. If we hold onto enough pain and negativity, it will start to feel like life is dragging us down. Soon, we’ll be bombarded by unpleasant thoughts and emotions. Negativity will influence all of our senses. We will see the world through a negative lens. Our world as we know it would be filled with irritation and judgement. We will expect and think the worst of people and situations. We will be so mired in our crap that clarity will be inaccessible and there will be many perceived slights.

So the key will be to make room for positivity by letting go of the negativity. Lighten that heavy heart. Choose Love over Hate. Feel how that is a much more fruitful space to be in. Be an example to your family and community. Inspire those around you with your strength and commitment to living well.

There will be no blog next week. I will be in California, creating a wedding cake for a dear friend. Continue to live with intention. Be Well.

Posted in Article

What Are You Stubborn About?

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on August 15th, 2012 | Comments Off on What Are You Stubborn About?

You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha.

Hello Everyone!

We are starting to transition into Fall. Can you feel it? We’ve had some crisper days and the smell in the air isn’t as sweet. I thought I’d offer a few more thoughts in the Earth season before we move on.

Last week we explored some thoughts on what it is to be nourished. A focus was put on integrating what we take in by opening up our sensory being. When we put our attention on our experience, the experience becomes a part of us. Puts a whole new perspective on “We are what we eat.” “I am a nutrient-empty, salty bag of chips.” “I am a succulent, tangy, ripe peach.” Could it also be said that “We are HOW we eat.”? “I am a mindless drone, going through the motions of my monotonous, fruitless life.” “I am a present human being who finds adventure with every bite!” Just a thought.

It moves me to explore this phenomenon that I see happening in each and every person I come in contact (including myself). I am talking about the feisty rebel in us all. The stubborn child within us all that when told to eat their veggies, replies, “NO!” When I first began my acupuncture practice, I thought a huge part of my job would be education. People would come to see me for wisdom of the better ways of living and being. Now, I realize, most people know better, they just struggle with themselves in choosing better habits. So, now I see my role as disciplinarian in charge of dismantling the miseducation society has seduced us all with. We know better. Now we need to choose better.

“Why is this so hard?”, I ask myself often. Everyone should ask themselves this. Why would you choose to mistreat yourself in any way? Perhaps you are cunning and truly believe that ice-cream is “treating” yourself. If you are one who uses food as a reward system, spend some time thinking of healthier ways to reward yourself. A massage, a facial, a swim, 30 minutes of giult-free, uninterrupted nothing… Is there less guilt involved with these choices? What are the long term benefits? One of the best things we all can work on is the need for immediate gratification. Think about all the times this need has gotten you into trouble. Break your pattern. The next time you feel that need, take a moment to pause before you leap into your habitual mind and go for the box of donuts a coworker brought in. One of the powers of the Earth element is thoughtfulness. Be thoughtful in your choices. Know that each time you put down a brownie, the ice-cream, a candy bar, that you are rewarding your body with respect and appreciation. You are saying, “the momentary high I get when eating junk is shortly replaced with guilt and indigestion and today I’ve decided it’s not worth it.”

What drives the choices we are making? Spend some time exploring this. You may find the root of your suffering. You may be under the illusion that you are not deserving. You may tell yourself you are weak, and your addiction to junk food is much stronger. You may tell yourself that for a moment, the junk fills a deep need you have inside of you. Whatever illusion you choose, know they are all false. If you have stepped foot in my office, you are among the wealthiest, most fortunate, most free peoples in the World. You are free. If there is any part of you that does not feel free, it is generated by you. You create the world you live in. Your dogma, your rules, your mood, everything. If you find yourself not quite satisfied, perhaps it is time to revamp your world.

So, nourishment and self-care is improved by savoring and it is also important to be mindful of the sources of nourishment we choose. Ask yourself, “What am I being stubborn about?” Are you choosing to add to your suffering? I challenge you all to let go of the you that makes excuses for your behavior and start to make bold choices in service of your well being. Consider this a dose of tough love! Start living with intention. Get off of the bench and become a co-creator of your life. There is a voice inside you telling you there has to be more than this. Keep listening and seek out those whispers of longing. Let them lead you to the depths of your soul. One glance of your soul will shatter all the painful illusions that otherwise cloud your heart.

“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.” –Marianne Williamson

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Spoil yourselves spiritually! Till next time, Be Well.

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What is it to be Nourished?

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on August 1st, 2012 | Comments Off on What is it to be Nourished?

Hello All!

I hope the summer has been enjoyable for all of you. This idea of nourishment has been curiously popping up recently. What is it to truly feel nourished? To be satiated? Content? How many of us feel confident that the foods we are eating are providing nourishment and that our bodies are taking it all in and assimilating it? Today’s topic will cover the current season we’re in with some insight in deepening our sense of nourishment and abundance.

The humidity has been pretty strong lately. Working with a Five Element model there are five seasons. Yes, five seasons. We are currently in the fifth season the chinese call Late Summer. Late Summer starts when the humidity level goes through the roof and it becomes hot AND sticky outside. The fruits drop from being heavy and there is a lingering sweetness in the air.

So, we are indeed in Late Summer and this season belongs to the Earth Element. The Earth has two officials/organs: Stomach and Spleen, two organs hugely involved in integrating what we take in to provide the body what it needs. When we are in the womb, we are totally dependent on our mother’s nourishment to sustain us. Then we emerge and join a whole new experience of nourishment, wether from a bottle or the breast. As we grow, we still look to our parents to provide us with what we need. There comes a time for all of us when we leave the nest and provide for ourselves. How do we learn to nourish ourselves? And how do we know if we are providing well for ourselves? This journey is a personal one and as many humans have lived, there are that many ways in which we nourish ourselves.

Nourishment is a far bigger conversation than just the food we put in our mouths. The definition of nourishment is: the substances necessary for growth, health and good condition. Language is wonderful in a way that it is open to interpretation. When I consider growth, health and good condition, I apply it to the mind, body and spirit levels of being. What nourishes my body? What nourishes my mind? What nourishes my soul? What has me be content? What has me stop and smell the roses? What do I enjoy with all of my being? Any of these questions hard to answer?

One key component to nourishment is the act of savoring. This fast-paced, plugged-in world provides new challenges. Humans had trouble before in staying present and soaking up the present moment with all of their being. Now in this world where people are constantly checking their phones, texting, searching, emailing, etc., the pace has quickened. Everything is immediate, instant gratification. People are now frustrated if the internet takes two seconds instead of one to load! What used to be enjoyed is now taken for granted.

In order to savor anything, one must slow down and take their focus inward to their sensory being. From time to time I still savor this bite of tiramisu I had at my cousin’s graduation party. The experience was sheer perfection from the time I smelled that spongy, coffee-soaked lady finger/mascarpone mixture to the time it’s creamy-richness landed on my tongue and filled my mouth with unabashed delight! I took that moment in. The intoxicating smell, all the textures and the flavor that was out of this world! I took that moment in and it is with me to revisit whenever I choose. It nourished my soul more than it did anything else. In that moment I knew life as a luscious, flavorful surprise!

Now, I could have just globbed a huge chunk on my spoon and shoved it in my mouth as I argued with someone over their politics. If I had, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t remember the tiramisu or the conversation.

Nourishment must be a conscious choice. I see it as an act of self love and valuing my own self worth. I eat well because I care about myself and my own health. I play well because I love myself and know playing is good for my soul. I sleep well knowing my mind will be more alert and anchored. Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg in the conversation about ways we nourish ourselves. Start by actually stopping to smell the roses. Notice your pace has slowed. Notice your eyes soften and your senses become heightened as the fragrance of the flower meets your nose. Take in the color. Touch the feathery-soft petals. And as always, notice how your body shifts in this moment. Did your face muscles relax into a smile? Did you take a deep breath? Let go of your shoulders? Let go of your thoughts?

Be present with yourself. If you do, it will be easy to know what you need. Make taking care of yourself a priority.

Till next time, Be Well.

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Choose Love

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on July 13th, 2012 | Comments Off on Choose Love
How
did the rose
ever open its heart
and give to this world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
otherwise we all remain too
frightened.
~Hafiz
Thank you all who love and encourage me. Think how awesome this world will be when everyone blossoms and shares their unique gifts unabashedly. How can anyone have hate for anyone, knowing we all succumb to the illusion of our ego from time to time? Love thy enemy… Love them knowing you will never fully understand how or why they suffer. Love them as a fellow human being. Love them, because loving them will bring about far more possibilities for positive growth and change than your hate ever will.
Choose peace.
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Clarifying Illusion

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on July 11th, 2012 | Comments Off on Clarifying Illusion

The Sun in Drag

You are the sun in drag.
You are God hiding from yourself.
Remove all the “mine” – that is the veil.
Why ever worry about
Anything?
Listen to what your friend Hafiz
Knows for certain:
The appearance of this world
Is a Magi’s brilliant trick, though its affairs are
Nothing into nothing.
You are a divine elephant with amnesia
Trying to live in an ant
Hole.
Sweetheart, O sweetheart
You are God in
Drag!

-Hafiz

Hello All!

Everyone staying cool? I know I’m struggling! It’s HOT! I am just going to give a short offering today. My mind feels like a swamp. It may be on vacation.

So, some of you may think this poem is a little out there-and well, some of you are right. I want to talk about illusion. A lot of eastern spiritual philosophy states that this world is an illusion. Hafiz above talks about this world being a Magi’s brilliant trick, speaking to the illusory quality mentioned in ancient spiritual texts. What are they talking about? I will try to explain this ancient concept relating to this modern world.

illusion |iˈloō zh ən|nouna
false idea or belief : he had no illusions about the trouble she was in.
• a deceptive appearance or impression : the illusion of family togetherness| the tension between illusion and reality.
• a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.

We are human. We live in the world of our complex minds that are always firing off signals to think, feel, react, touch, interpret. There can be an event that effects five people, and each of those people may recall that same event differently. Their experience will be different, their story will be different, and their dealing with it will be different as well. There is the phenomena: It rained the day of my wedding. Then there is story: It rained the day of my wedding because God hates me. Humans are natural story tellers. We entertain, escape, indulge, and we create our world through the stories we tell both in our speaking and in our subconscious. This is one part of the concept of this world being an illusion. Our stories, our memories, the past and future are illusions. As I’ve said before, and as the poem says above, the mind that dwells in illusion keeps us from the truth. We live in a world where we think we are human beings having a spiritual experience, when we are in fact spiritual beings having a human experience (-Ram Dass). The ego (mind) is designed to ensnare you and keep you hostage from the truth that you are filled with the light that is eternal. Listen for a moment. What stories do you tell over and over again? What is your experience telling the story? What is your mood? Does it broaden or narrow your perspective? Is it a big enough story to live in? Does it serve you?

To take this away from the abstract, I’ll give you an old story of mine that I rewrote several years ago now:

Original story: “I grew up in a single parent home with my mother who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. She was mean, nasty and hateful. She would put me down and ice me out. My mother doesn’t love me.”

Current story: “I grew up in a single parent home with my mom who was an incredible example of a strong modern woman. She worked, cooked and took care of me. She was generous, giving me every opportunity in travel and education. My mother loves me very much and growing up, she did the best she could.”

Both stories are true, one is just easier to live in. We create the world we live in everyday. In the time it took me to rewrite that story, I instantly was living in a more positive world, filled with love and appreciation. Take a story and see what edits you can make that will create ease in your body.

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