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Feeling Verklempt?

by Brigita Slekys, L.Ac.

Feeling Verklempt?, I've never before felt a parallel between my home needing repairs and my own health. I mean, a leaky roof does NOT mean a leaky brain,(right?) and a broken heater does NOT mean you will evolve to become a cold blooded reptile.

This particular occurence, however, happening just at the brink of the much awaited 2017, is actually not just house-related, but reflective of some deeper accumulation. Perhaps a slow collection of ideas, dreams, and aspirations clogging up the root of my existence, not being able to move smoothly. Perhaps too many goals for Feeling Verklempt?, the new year. Too many ideas all at once. Perhaps too much cheddar-gruyere with my baguette. Stunted by fear, denials, and the aforementioned white bread, my true destiny has been denied. Stuck, in a bottle neck.

Similarily, my 1942 sewer pipe has not been able to see past some sizeable occlusions.

Feeling Verklempt?, Thirsty roots, decades of sludge, and pipe corrosion has made it impossible for this system do its job: waste removal.   That's right, epic sewer back-up. So, efficient waste removal.....isn't that EXACTLY what we humans need as well???

Unable to move past these accumulated obstacles of negative self talk, I myself have been backed up not in sewer drainage, but in my own creativity. Without room, freedom, and smooth pipes we become stunted, and 'verklempt' as Mike Myers put it in 1992.   Feeling Verklempt?,  

Holding in our breaths, afraid that our whole system may blow with an addition of yet one more idea, we stop- in silence- until the feeling of possibly daunting change dissipates, and we can return to our complacent selves, denying expansion. Denying true FLOW.


The parallel of our own 'waste removal' is obvious, as we need to remove from our physical bodies daily build up of sludge. When this basic disposal system is not functioning we can indeed incur painful symptoms that need immediate attention. Drinking more water, getting a minimum 25 grams of fiber, and raising that heart rate for half an hour a day will help. I think that's why this emoticon is smiling. He's sweating!

                                                              Feeling Verklempt?,

But even with this physical removal we need to also make sure our emotional pipes are clear. Are we suppressing emotions that may help us grow? Are we overwhelmed by aspirations and endeavors, old and new, that may never come to fruition?Feeling Verklempt?,

The New Year is a good time to assess our FLOW. We should inspect what is running through our systems, and maintain clear pathways for proper movement. Out with the old, in with the new. Only with this room can we EXPAND.  

                          Feeling Verklempt?,      

My plumber agreed 75 years was a good time for new sewer pipes.  I'd say for us humans it should be, well MUCH less. More like 75 hours. Maybe even every 7.5 minutes.

Oh my, I'm starting to feel verklempt- Discuss!

Bloom where you're planted

by Brigita Slekys, L.Ac.

Bloom where you're planted,

Despite this saying's origin in a verse from Corinthians, it has more relevance to my life (and maybe yours?) now more than ever. BLOOM. Flourish, grow, overcome. Develop into that full, vibrant flower that you imagine yourself being.  

Not happy with your location, and want to move?? There's a website called Craigslist, Do it. Then pursue your goals.                                                                              Even Tiny flowers can grow through concrete. 

Bloom where you're planted, Hoping for a better job before you start developing your hobbies? Get out there, one Networking event at a time.

Wanting to improve your relationship before you tackle the promotion at work? You DO know there's Marriage and family psychologists practically on every block. AND Match.com.

But wait, are you putting off your own DESTINY? Funny (well, more depressing actually) how fussing over details can distract us from our true larger goals. The true BLOOM.  

Bloom where you're planted,

You may go to bed 20 years old with a head full of goals and dreams, then wake up 40 with an empty purpose. Maybe that's why there are so many Life Coaches these days, to help us focus on starting towards our goals despite the noise, the obstacles, the CONCRETE.  

Amazing things have happened in doomed situations where success seemed impossible. Refugees with no homes got jobs and started families in foreign lands.   Like-minded parents formed communities promoting healthy organic lifestyles and then a whole movementBloom where you're planted, was created. People reversed their health conditions with persistent life changes, emerging healthier than ever.  

Even my own mother learned to text and is now using email, so really ANYTHING is possible.

Its true our surroundings, timing, relationships may never be ideal. Waiting around for them is like waiting for Prince Charming, or some other fairy tale. Create your own tale, and see what lies in its conclusion. Flowers need only water, nutrients, and sun, so pick a garden patch and GROW! Bloom where you're planted,

 

Falling Palm

by Brigita Slekys, L.Ac.

As I was walking down the street this misty Santa Monica morning, I was noticing pieces of palm tree debris all over the sidewalk and street.  It was during this rather peaceful moment that a rabid squirrel jumped down from the tree and attacked my head as I was walking! 

                                                     Falling Palm,

It took a minor heart attack, lunging to the side, and of course a loud yelp to realize that it wasn’t a blood thirsty squirrel, but a piece of palm debris.  

      This debris peppers our west side streets with its rich, brown, and chocolate hues. Falling Palm, It represents not just the season of Winter,(and reminds me of chocolate), but also the continuous shedding that takes place in all living things.  From reptiles to humans, dolphins to Palm trees, this shedding allows our healthy inner layers to take over the function of our skin, hair, intestinal wall, and in this case, Palm leaves.  We lose more than a POUND of skin cells each year, replacing our outer epidermal surface every month, and our blood cells every week. Our stomach lining replaces itself Falling Palm, every 7-9 days, similar to lung tissue keeping digestive function and oxygen absorption high.  It’s like a renewal; to sustain not only our healthy outer glow, but keep our inner cellular function at an optimum.

 

Interesting to think, wouldn’t it be great if we could shed EMOTIONALLY?  Keep our EMOTIONAL function at an optimum??

Falling Palm,

Shed our judgmental conceptions so we can optimize healthy relations?  The ruminating thoughts, self-doubt , and insecurities could slough off daily like dead skin.  The inner layers of strength, confidence, and peace would shine through grudges and anger, revealing a calmer and more capable body.  One that could resume activity without being hindered with doubt ("because 2 months ago it didn’t work out"), or disabled by fear ("because last time He didn’t call").  Wouldn’t it be Falling Palm, freeing to have daily judgments on ourselves and others pile up in the drain like dead hair after a shower??

One physically exfoliating ritual I partake in monthly is at the Korean Spa.  After a series of contrast hot/cold hydrotherapy dips, my body is exfoliated with a gentle salt mixture.  I always marvel how light I feel post-Spa, understanding that along with the 1/4lbs. of dead skin that I most likely shed, I am also letting go of some stressful and hindering emotional baggage.  It’s harder to access than my more available knee caps and elbows, but after a minute or two in 100 degree water Falling Palm, even my frozen grudges melt.   And that's just it- we promote physical shedding with lotions, spa treatments, daily rituals, but how do we emotionally exfoliate?

All our daily moods, reactions, and inner dialogues need to be shed, or else they block up our sentimental pores and prevent true clarity. Personality pimples! Our skin needs to shed to breathe and renew, and our emotions need to shed likewise, to move on and continue evolving!

Daily Meditation, exercise, Acupuncture, mindful venting and reflection can dispose of this heavy emotional baggage, freeing up space for an inspiring new dialogue and attitude.

                                            Falling Palm,

Like an old weathered palm leaf may we live through, process, and shed the emotions of yesterday... And last week.  And come on, for all of 2015 .......   hopefully with less drama then the rabid squirrel.

Trusting Las Vagus

by Brigita Slekys, L.Ac.

Ever wonder why the term “Follow your Gut” or “Brain Gut Connection” exists?  Trusting Las Vagus, The answer comes from the one of the first anatomical structures developed in our bodies while in the womb; the Vagus Nerve.  This huge nerve, coming directly from the brain, connects to our abdomen via the neck, chest, and intestines, innervating and controlling our hearts, breathing, and digestion.

This nerve, (which actually splits into 2, a left and right side) acts as a RESET button, and allows your body to return to relaxation mode after a stress response. 

                                              Trusting Las Vagus,

Functions involved in this ‘reset’ include the heart rate slowing down, our respiration rate returning to normal,our digestion resuming function, and our immune systems regulating.

But these super-important, life sustaining tasks only account for about 20% of the Function of the Vagus Nerve.  What about the other 80%??

            It sends information from the GUT to the BRAIN.

Trusting Las Vagus, WHY on earth does 80% of one of the LARGEST nerves in our bodies send information to our brains about our Large Intestine, of all places??  Isn’t that a bit of a gamble?  Our bodies do not take risks.  Odds are, there is something of value in the depths of our guts.  Something so valuable that there is a dedicated nerve highway for communication straight to the brain.  Almost like the abdomen is the brain’s sneak peek; a representation of the state our body.

Perhaps it has to do with the discovery that 95% of the body’s Serotonin (Feel good chemical) is being found in the gut? Trusting Las Vagus,  

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that only with a relaxed abdomen can we properly digest and absorb food?

Perhaps it’s also because our immune response is linked to the health of our large intestines?

These inter-intestinal facts have fueled researchers to further investigate the Trusting Las Vagus, complicated functions of the gut, and why it seems to trump other body systems in importance, like an Ace of hearts.  It’s no coincidence that digestive health and pro-biotic activity are seemingly correlated, and that improved digestive health reflects in many aspects of the body; including facial complexion, immune function, and the ability to make calm, clear decisions.

                                              Trusting Las Vagus,

Don’t gamble with your health, listen to your gut.

Trust in Las Vagus.

Invisible Touch

by Brigita Slekys, L.Ac.

                                            Invisible Touch,

Before we were able to open our eyes, before our mouths tasted or ears heard, we experienced TOUCH.  From the first seconds of life in the womb we were enveloped in fleshy tissue, subsequently held, rocked, and carried for a majority of our early lives. As dInvisible Touch, eveloping embryos, our nervous system was set up for receiving sensory information from our limbs long before we could taste pickles and ice cream through the umbilical chord.  Why is the sense of touch developed so early?  Even before we understand what it is. It’s almost as if the Invisible touch (as Phil Collins referred to a woman having the ability of reaching in and holding on) is so ingrained in us, it is a subconscious instinctual part of us.  We may not even realize that we need it. Touch, that is, not Phil Collins.

Because touch is essentially our first used sense, it causes a larger reaction than other senses.  Maybe because without attachment to our Invisible Touch, caregivers early on we would perish- so our life depends on this connection.  We need only look at the emotionally damaged orphaned children that are almost unable to function in normal society, due to lack of touch and therefore lack of connection in their infantile years. That is a developmental period where our physical sense dominates our ability to explore and bond with our world.  Another reason the reaction to touch is so great, is based on size alone, measuring in at 18 square feet for an average adult, our sensory system in the skin far surpasses the size of our eyeballs, or nasal passages.

So we move from this almost marsupial physical attachment in our early years to practically the opposite in our teenage and adult years. I know most of us are not getting daily massages or being rocked to sleep as adults...but are we even maintaining a minimum dose of , let's say a massage a month? A hug a day?

                                                       Invisible Touch,

Pressure, pain, love, aggression and even frustration can be communicated by this kinetic sense, which involves not only physical but mental responses. Invisible Touch, Hormones, such as Oxytocin, are released to not only to bond with one another, but to decrease other stress hormones such as Cortisol, and to provide relaxation and a feeling of wellness.  Dopamine production increases, which can cause pain to dissipate, and allow for the feeling of euphoria, love, empathy, regret that we waited so long since our last encounter.  It can improve our energy, and also help improve sleep. No wonder children are so attached!  I think we all might need some of the above, so reach out (to eachother, or your favorite body work expert ,wink wink) and re-awaken your more euphoric Phil Collins self.      

https://youtu.be/pW68T84RLHw

Anxiety Much?

by Brigita Slekys, L.Ac.

"I have a tickle in my throat, Oh NO what if I'm deathly ill? How will I care for my children or make it to work?? Stupid Immune system, I am a total failure."

This exaggerated response to a simple symptom is all too common. Even after asking several patients and staff what they would like me to blog about, anxiety was a winner. It's actually not too surprising, seeing as we are often taxed to our limits and are therefore left with compromised coping skills.Anxiety Much?,

If we are in a situation where we feel unsafe, our blood pressure rises, increasing blood volume and allowing us to run to safety. Running late for a meeting stimulates the adrenals, giving us temporary power to bypass the elevator and sprint up the stairs. Hear news of a loved one getting hurt? Heightened nervous system activity can help us make decisions quickly and efficiently when prompted.

Anxiety Much?, These are examples of healthy anxiety, the primal kind of response our bodies illicit to spurn change. This can include fleeing a dangerous situation, handling a dramatic relationship obstacle, or even coordinating an emergency outfit change.

In Chinese Medicine, referring again to the principles of the Yin and Yang, we consist of two halves, emotional and physical. Ideally the Yin and Yang are equal, and exist in harmony to reveal health. However when one no longer supports the other, the fulcrum is lost and anxiety or even panic ensue. If there is a physical burden of chronic body pain, high blood pressure, or a poor diet, one can expect to see some emotional shortcomings; such as a short temper, irritability, depression, or aloofness.

Likewise, if we are subjected to constant emotional abuse, sadness, loneliness, or shame; our physical halves will DEMAND attention with a pounding heart, Anxiety Much?, dizziness or vertigo, tingling in the arms or legs, and shortness of breath. Many people experience a feeling of impending doom or death, possibly due to this prolonged disregard for our emotional health. Yin and Yang need each other to exist, the same way that our physical selves drive our emotional health, and our emotions drive our more physical bodies.

With this dissociation of Yin and Yang during a panic state, our minds and bodies are no longer in tune. One way to keep the two harmonious is through some reflection. QUIET time. We don't hesitate prescribing "time-outs" for our children, when we ourselves may be needing it just as much. A moment to reflect and see that perhaps healthy anxiety surrounding a relationship struggle,or workplace obstacle, is pointing to the importance of some change. Without involving the full blown involvement of our entire nervous system shut-down mechanisms, we can actually make small changes to stay abreast of of our Yin and Yang discrepancies.

                                  Anxiety Much?,

Meditation, quiet walks, weekly massage or Acupuncture sessions, and mature non-judgmental discussions can help bring these discrepancies to light early on. Checking in on our status (and I don't mean on facebook) we can assess physical or emotional stress. We can also keep a tool box, filling it with alternatives to our regular routines that can keep this vital Yin Yang balance stable.  

Oh- And be sure to include that extra outfit.

Shower Power

September has brought something many Angelenos thirst for after a record breaking heat spell. Something many east coast cities receive in abundance, and even have multiple sets of colorful and shiny boots for the occasion. Something cooling, calming, and very helpful in clearing dust off my concrete front steps.

  Shower Power,
RAIN.

 

This Cooling Water from the sky not only nourishes our thirsty plants, animals and earth, but us too. We need this lubricant to chill our hot irritable selves, put out internal fires, and allow for some slower introspection (but only in the absence of traffic).

Shower Power, Most of you have probably heard of Yin and Yang, the two ultimate opposites. It's the symbol used on bumper stickers, CD album covers, and tie-dye T-shirts indicative of the 90's; Representing harmony, peace, and collaboration.   The 2 opposites depict black and white, symbolically Masculine and Feminine (among other such opposites), and more literally Water and Fire. The white "Yang" portion represents active, moving, and hot fire, providing energy and horse-power for our daily challenges. It sparks creativity, alertness, and overall zeal in both physical and mental feats. This recent rain however, adds to the black or "Yin" portion of the duo. The "Yin" represents a dark, still, and peaceful reserve to allow for stillness, healing, and balancing. It can counteract the heat of Yang, but is difficult to come by, due to our commonly over-stressed habits. It's important to absorb and harness this Yin, the Water, through the rain and through more balancing activities such as Tai Chi, yoga, mindful walks, swimming, and meditation. Even reading a magazine, cuddling, and napping on the beach count as Yin activities, so don't be discouraged, it CAN be harnessed!

                                                Shower Power, These two entities of Yin and Yang not only fit together and support each other, but cease to exist without one another. One cannot actually exist without the other. It is quite the co-dependancy! We see this Yin-Yang balance in relationships, families, body types, food, circadian rhythms, planetary orbits, stock market trends, and for the purpose of making sense of this beautiful rain shower, Weather.  

The Yin-Yang relationship pertains to everyone, everything, and all matter of the Universe. Our daily routines, our diets, and our emotional states must all be Shower Power, balanced, or by the rules of Nature we may implode (or at least eventually become irregular and off kilter ). What comes up, must go down, and what is dry must eventually get wet. It's Einstein's theory,"for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction". So, after a heat spell like this one, I'm looking to harness the Yin of a slower, cooler, thought provoking autumn. With less traffic.  

https://www.facebook.com/Heavenly-Tides-Acupuncture-Office-of-Brigita-Slekys-LAc-134103996618702/timeline/?ref=hl

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