Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the theory of the Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. These elements are aspects of Qi. Qi can be interpreted as the "life energy" or "life force” that flows within us. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi is the substance that constitutes the human body by moving through meridians and providing vitality to our organs. The Qi of each of these elements ebbs and flows within our bodies as well as throughout daily and seasonal cycles. Every human being is a unique and characteristic blend of these elements’ influences.
I feel like I’ve been failing in the friend department.
Over the last week alone I’ve let down two different friends. Over the past several months I have lost friends that have been in my life for a long time. I feel disappointed in and judgment toward myself. I feel the sadness of letting go of friendships. I feel the inevitable ache of loss. I feel fall turning into winter with a swift and sudden sweep. Change has come knocking, with little to no care of whether or not I’m ready for it.
I still can’t quite find my words. I feel hard pressed to draw in wisdom or understanding from the results of the election. Donald Trump becoming president has shaken me and everyone in my community to the core. We live in a country that is deeply divided, and I am simply attempting to find a state of inner presence and steadiness after Hilary’s loss.
Since the election I have sat in sessions with a dozen or so clients who filled the space with anger, devastation, uncertainty, disappointment, sadness, and grief. Together we cry, finding only brief bursts of reprieve from the heaviness. Together we are trying to make sense of this mess. Together we are exploring our own shortsightedness.
There is so much here to learn. Everyone is a student. No one is off the hook.
In many ways, our current society still upholds specific structural and energetic norms of the past. We have advanced in many fields, such as science, technology, medicine, and engineering; yet our physical biology, the ways we withhold and communicate information and often the structure of how we choose to be in relationship with one another feels outdated.
Although women are now procreating much later in life, their physiological ability to bear children is still representative of that from the beginning of time. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which in many ways also feels archaic) shows that most women hit their fertile peak between the ages of 23 and 31, yet the average age that women birthed their first child in 2014 was 26.5 years of age. This is 1.5 years later than the average age documented in 2000.
What does it mean to be a leader? This is a question I have been asking myself repeatedly over the past few weeks. The 2016 presidential election is but a few weeks away and I am left feeling confused, disgusted, and outright angry at what has been demonstrated as leadership. If I am honest, I feel embarrassed to be a citizen of a country that is most certainly causing many eyes to roll and jokes to be made.
We are better than this.
As adults we love to define ourselves by what we do rather than who we are. When meeting someone new, we often start a conversation with a professional inquiry. I think this type of questioning allows us to feel more in control with the uncertainty that comes with being human. If I know what you do for a living, I can put you inside of a box. If I can put you inside of a box, I have something to wrap my head around. However, what we so often forget is that we are far more complicated, deep, and profound than how we spend our time throughout the workweek.
I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering the spectrum of the introversion-extroversion scale as the concepts of the sharing economy, communal living, entrepreneurial festivals for collaboration, summer camps for adults, and open office floor plans grow in popularity. The sharing economy is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organizations. I am a huge fan of the foundational building blocks of this system, however I find that they tend to more naturally fall into the lifestyle choices for individuals who identify as extroverts.
When I was younger, my friends and I used to play with Ouija Boards. Calling in mystical spirits, we would sit excitedly in my candlelit bedroom and gently [guide] the planchette to spell out boy’s names. Letter-by-letter, minute-after-minute, we would slowly learn the person who we would one day marry. Tommy Richards… are you reading this?
Today, I often feel like the computer is my board and the letters I type, somehow, magically, lead me to Facebook. Or Netflix. Or to check my email for the thousandth time per day.
Sound familiar? I’m not surprised... technology addiction is nothing new.