(Note: This is an older–but always timely–essay that I have revised slightly and now wish to share once again.)
One of my favorite books for self-study is Tara Bennett-Goleman’s Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind can Heal the Heart. (I will add it to my book corner, but today is a lazy day and a blog post is about as much as I want to write at present. Herbal formulas study is calling my name…)
(Let’s face it–herbal study is always calling my name. For more on that, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan, take a look here).
She starts the book with a lovely description of the view from her hotel window of a London skyline. It is a cloudy day (since it’s London, this is not quite as remarkable as it is in Austin, but still…) and she observes the clouds with interest and care. She notices the layers of them and remarks on the fact that, beneath and above their layers, there is sunshine and blue sky. We don’t get much weather like that of the photographs attached to this post (these were taken by my friend and schoolmate, Brooke T., from a plane window as it was preparing to land in the Austin airport). Since today is a rare treat–kind of cool, lots of clouds, no rain yet but it will come–I was thinking about the lessons contained within Emotional Alchemy and how I can effect my own changes at this point in my life. When I work with health coaching clients, I do not ask them to do anything I am not willing to do myself.
What, then, are my attachments? What unmet needs are being indirectly expressed when I do things that don’t (at least on the face of it) serve me? Things like procrastinate, or remain engaged with interactions that are repetitive and unsatisfying? Like a cloud over the sunshine of my personal brand of magic, these acts do indeed serve some unmet need…I only need to look and listen if I want to learn why, or if I want to perhaps shift the narrative a bit.
And what, if I think about it, belongs to me? What did I inherit, and where–if I ponder it–might I shine some light over some burdens not my own?
Yesterday I procrastinated and did not study because I was tired. Eventually, I reminded myself that Wednesday is my “weekend.” I am supposed to sleep and “be lazy” (if I reframe it, I can call it “recharge my batteries” too) on Wednesdays. Today just happened to be a free day and I ultimately decided to use the free day to rest. As the seasons change and the weather grows contentious, maybe procrastination and clinging are my indirect ways of making a demand for rest and self-nurturing. I noticed recently that sleep has been more challenging than usual and, with all due honesty, I had to admit to myself that I have not been practicing yoga lately, nor taking my customary long walks, nor even popping in and out of the gym for a quick workout.
Yesterday I slept a lot and today I am making turkey chili after a calm day that included a small walk this morning and yoga class a bit later. I had steamed apple and millet congee for breakfast this morning. I am going to study herbs and go to bed early tonight.
I am going to take care of myself. I am taking care of myself.
The clouds pass by my window in an eternal pattern of heaviness replaced by light. There is blue sky behind them–I see it here and there–and when they discharge their gift of rain they will dance and glide away like ghosts. Always, there is more to this than that which meets the eye.
Two Hearts Wellness is a local holistic health and wellness outfit with a passion for all things nourishing, including but not limited to: joyful living, great food, art, and literature, and–of course–traditional Chinese medicine. If you want to learn more about me, click here and do feel free to follow my blog and/or my Instagram, connect with me on Facebook, or contact me here to set up an appointment for personal training or health coaching services. If you are interested in Asian bodywork therapy, click here to book an appointment online.