by Katie Borchert, NMD, MSOM,Pain Recovery Therapy & Esoteric Acupuncture
As I thought about writing this article while fine-pruning a cliff-rose tree in the yard, I smiled, knowing that I was doing something that brings me great joy. Along with the lush greenery around me, both the feeling and the visual stimulus were filling me with joy, and in that moment I was happy.
I pondered further, feeling how this joy benefits my heart, and how in traditional Chinese medicine, joy is the antidote to negative emotions. Cultivating joy is crucial to health and well-being.
Knowing how to live in a way that brings forth happiness is one of the first steps to cultivating joy. For some, this is easy, as we all know what we enjoy and what we do not. Many others — constantly doing in a way that their world expects from them — never really get a chance to experience enjoyment on their own terms.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the Spirit of the Heart is the Shen, which is the totality of the other four solid organ Spirits. These are the lungs and the po, the liver and the hun, the spleen and the yi, and the kidneys and the zhi.
Loosely translated these are the corporeal, ethereal, intellect and willpower. The heart and Shen interact constantly and intimately with each of these organs and energetic systems; the Spirits are contributing to the totality of the Shen. The heart and lungs share the same energetic field of the body, the upper warmer, and the lungs oxygenate the vital fluid of the heart, the blood.
The mental/emotional and spiritual state of a being is highly dependent and/or reflective of the quantity, quality and movement of the blood. When blood is deficient, we get listless, unmotivated, fatigued and dried out. When the blood is stuck we get angry, temperamental, depressed, and anxious. If the blood is of a different quality, usually toxic or fiery, we get manic, anxious and fearful.
Such therapies as acupuncture, herbal medicine, qi gong, nature walking, journaling, nutrition, massage, chiropractic, reiki and other energetic modalities like Chios and Angelic Earth Resonance are necessary tools to keep the blood full, vibrant and moving.
Happiness is internal and external to our own person. Having the loving relationship with our own selves creates the space for joy and happiness, and the external methods foster and enhance this feeling.