Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Enjoying the ridiculous (yet again)

Here’s another amusing advertisement which I saw on my walk through London, to add to the one I wrote about in my blog of 2 June. 

Apparently you can buy “Invisible Personal Clothing”.  My mind boggled at the thought of all those people walking around naked in invisible clothes, like the Emperor in his New Clothes.  And apparently being prepared to pay for the privilege of doing this!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A testimony to how much the practice of five element acupuncture is helping one of my Chinese students

The following is taken from an email from Caroline in Chengdu, who translates my blog for her fellow practitioners:

“From the day on which I was helped by FEA, I’ve decided to learn FEA well and help more people. Because I have experienced the magic of FEA myself, which successfully helped me solve my family problem, I never had any problem of believing in FEA. I believe that the principle on which it is based is truth. And if I cannot cure people, the problem lies in me, not the principles of FEA. So I gave up learning to become a better herbalist, I just focused on FEA. It was not an easy change to make, but I struggled on. After one year of practising, I can now feel that I’m much more relaxed, hence I can pay more attention to my patient, and think less about the element. I learned how to have a better relationship with my patient, and learned a lot from them about how to become a better acupuncturist and a better person. And the more patients I see, the more information I can put in my library (of examples of elements), that’s how I find myself getting a deeper understanding of the elements compared to one year ago. There is still a long long way to go, but I’m not in a hurry, it's a lifetime of learning, and I know that my patients will help me, thanks to all of them!

And translating your blogs helped me a lot too! Other people may just glance over it or read it once, while I will think every sentence over and over just to get a deeper understanding and find a better way to translate it. So after translating your blog, I can almost recite it! The whole process is like chewing your teachings and digesting it and making it mine. People may think my translating helped them, but honestly I think I’m the one who gain most.

I’ll keep learning because it is such a happy and rewarding thing!”  



Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Chinese acupuncturist’s observations of the Fire element

I am always very heartened to receive clear evidence of how much my students over in China have learnt during our seminars together, and how seriously and enthusiastically they are continuing their studies of five element acupuncture by themselves.  This email from a student, Caroline, is proof of the depth of her understanding of the elements, although with a slight misunderstanding.  She starts by seeing Fire through slightly rosier glasses than the other elements, but then realises that this is a distortion, and corrects this by herself. 

I give my reply to her at the end of her email below.

"Dear Nora
I have two patients recently, who make me think a lot about Fire. They came to me a couple of months ago, both with family problems, one of them was even trying to get divorce with her husband. What impressed me the most was how they hate their husband! I was very confused about their elements at first, but recently I changed both of their diagnosis into Fire, because they both smile when talking about sad things, and their scorched smell. Now I’m getting positive feedback from both of them.

Now here comes my question. When we mention about Fire, we always think about all the good words, love, joy, kindness, forgiveness, and so on. However I could hardly feel the words from them sometimes, but the word “hate”. Then I realized that the obverse of love is hate, when the element is imbalanced, it can turn to the opposite, for example, a hopeful Wood person can be hopeless; a devoted Earth person can become rather selfish; a Metal person who keeps pursuing self-value can feel completely worthless; a brave Water person can become a coward, so fearful to move forward, or a person who always has fear in his/her heart can lose the ability of estimating risks and may put himself/herself into danger by taking too many adventures. I suddenly had a picture before me that although Fire can go out quietly with nothing to give anymore, the raging flame can burn so fierce and almost destroy everything. So I think it is possible that if some Fire people are very imbalanced, they may get so resentful to hurt people they have problem with.

When I first started to learn Five Element Acupuncture (including almost like every other student in China), Fire was considered as the “perfect” element--- easy to be with, humorous, kind-hearted, passionate, and so on, so if we met some one who could not fit into these words, we might think this one could never be Fire. But as I saw more Fire people, I gradually realized that most Fire people who came for treatment, as you’d told us, were people who were “lack of Fire”. And the feeling being with them was exactly as you’d written in your book KEEPERS OF THE SOUL, “There is an expectation of the sun’s presence throughout our summers, and then a disappointment when it fails to appear. We experience a lack of something that should be there that is not, a feeling no other season evokes in quite the same way…”

And I started to see some sides which were not so “perfect” (and no element is perfect, each element has its advantages and defects ). I could remember one sultry summer afternoon, when I left my clinic it was still sunny, but after less than ten minutes, the weather changed so quickly and started to rain heavily, I got wet in the rain and suddenly felt cold. And I thought, well, this kind of weather was very common in the summer, so, were Fire people like this? In your book KEEPERS OF THE SOUL, you described Fire as “the most volatile of all elements”, which reminded me of my mother, whom I thought may be the Fire element, who could be very strictly scolding us, then the next second smiling at other people, just like the changeable weather in the summer.

I’m not sure if it is right to understand Fire this way. I will try my best to continue observing my Fire patients and friends to develop a deeper and comprehensive understanding of Fire.


Here is my reply:

“Dear Caroline
I am very impressed by how much work you are doing to deepen your understanding of the elements.  I would emphasize, though, that there is no “perfect “element, as you yourself say.  As you realise, all elements can offer all the good things they are able to offer when they are balanced, and hide them when they are out of balance.  In other words, they all have their negative and their positive sides to them, and that definitely includes Fire.

I think you are right to think that the negative sides of Fire are a lack of all the “love, joy and kindness” which you mention as being its positive qualities.  But I don’t think I would describe the negative qualities using such a strong word as “hate”.   It’s much more that they appear as an inability to show love, joy or kindness.  It is true that when there is a lack of Fire, “the raging flame can burn so fiercely and almost destroy everything”.  That is when the negative qualities can hurt other people rather than bring them warmth and joy.

I think you are developing a very good understanding of the Fire element, as well as of the other elements, so carry on continuing to look for the traces of the different elements as you treat more and more people.

Much love

Monday, June 2, 2014

Seen today

I walked past the Radisson Hotel in central London today, and saw on the window of its restaurant the words “Scoff and Barter”.  I looked at the sign three times to make sure that I wasn’t misreading it.

For non-English speakers whose English may need a little bit of help to understand these two words, “to scoff” is to laugh at, and “to barter” is to bargain about the price of something to get it reduced.  Does the hotel really expect its guests to mock and to barter at the prices it charges them?

At least the sign caught my eye, so perhaps that, rather than its meaning, was the purpose.