Did you know that today is the last day of New Year celebrations, according to the lunar calendar? Lunar New Year culminates with the celebration of Lantern Festival today. It's a great day to light up any lanterns if you got 'em, and help guide any wayward spirits back home.
Believe it or not, also according to the lunar calendar, it's already spring! It started on Feb. 4. It's a time of much change and transitioning, which can sometimes throw us into some confusion...luckily, Chinese medicine can profoundly help with this!
The next "seasonal node" on the lunar calendar is "Rain Water" which starts on the 19th....here in California, we're desperately hoping that it's not just a name, and we get some much-needed precipitation.
Take good care of yourselves and each other,
Happy Autumn Exquinox! Fall has just begun, even though according to the lunar calendar, we're well into fall already! Has anyone noticed the subtle, gradual, yet palpable change? Cool evenings, getting darker earlier, maybe you find yourself wanting to slow down, be less sociable. There are many subtle shifts in energy happening!
Not long ago, the New York Times published an article about something that's been happening during the pandemic. It's that feeling that's not quite depression, but you're definitely not up. You're not exactly flourishing, but also not in the throes of despair. What might be happening is called languishing!
Part of "languishing" is that "it dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you'll cut back on work."
I don't know about you, but that hit a certain way for me. "You don't catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude; you're indifferent to your indifference."
So what can be done about it? Apparently, a concept called "flow" can help. Flow is a state of absorption where time, space, and sense of self melt away. Some ways of achieving this are to get involved in a project, no matter how small or seemingly mundane. Give yourself uninterrupted, undistracted time.
This happens for me when I'm spending time in nature. A teacher of mine recently asked me, "when was the last time you were surprised by life?" It's when I was camping, alone, in nature.
Where do you find this state of flow, of absorption, of wholehearted activity where the sense of a "you" takes a back seat for awhile?
With so many changes happening for so many, I don't want to keep you long. So here's the deal:
Spring is springing and there's lots going on, from the joyous to the heartbreaking, and everything in between.
First off, my office is still open for healing sessions (this includes acupuncture, herbs, meditation, qigong, or having tea if you want to stop by and chat). I am fully vaccinated as of mid-March. Thank you, science!
Secondly, I've been reeling with the devastating, constant reports of anti-Asian hate and violence happening all over. In addition to allowing time for grief to come up, I've been wondering what I can do to help. Right now I'm working on a project in its very early stages, so I'll be sharing more on that very soon! In the meantime, I've been volunteering at Compassion In Oakland, and donating to Save Our Chinatowns. If you know of any other organizations working to help AAPI communities, I'd love to know about them. Please consider helping out if you are able, in whatever way you're able.
While I don't have a huge social media presence, I feel it's my responsibility, especially as a white man who directly benefits from Asian culture and medicine, to use whatever platform I have to stand with our AAPI siblings in this time of great need.
Let's take good care of ourselves, and of each other,
There's no denying it: the air is cooler, dryer, and the days are getting shorter. Even if it hasn't registered in your consciousness yet, your body has definitely noticed.
So how can we take care of our bodies as we transition to colder, shorter, darker days? Chinese medicine has a lot to say about this.
Fall is the time of year that corresponds to the Lung, which is of the metal element. It is a time to turn inward, to harvest, gather, and prepare. If you've ever watched squirrels this time of year, that's exactly the idea!
This time of year also corresponds to the emotion of sadness and grief. I've noticed that this has been coming up a lot in clinic, and again, the way we treat this in Chinese medicine is via the Lung.
A great way to strengthen the Lungs is qigong. Reach out if you're interested in learning some Lung-strengthening qigong exercises!
A simple way to nourish the Lung, especially this Autumn, is by eating pears! Pears moisten and nourish the Lung, and protect it from dryness. This year pears are particularly important because of all the smoke we've inhaled this summer. Our Lungs, through smoke, heat, coronavirus, and grief, took quite a hit. Be nice to your Lungs this fall!
EJ Fry Acupuncture is committed to antiracism.
As a health care provider and small business owner, I feel it’s my responsibility to use whatever visibility my privilege affords me to voice my commitment to antiracism.
Undoing racism isn’t just repeating slogans or changing our profile picture. We need to identify what racism is, learn about how we perpetuate it, and dismantle it.
Our institutions are such a huge factor in sustaining racism. Therefore they can have as powerful an impact on the dismantling of racism, if they actively do so through antiracist policies.
A racist idea holds the belief that one group of people, based on their race, is inferior to another group.
One insidious way that racist ideas are maintained is by inaction against racist policies. If we don’t actively dismantle racist policies, we are only helping to sustain racism. Despite our claims of passivity or neutrality, we become upholders of oppression.
Simply put, a racist policy is a policy that yields racial inequity.
By contrast, an antiracist policy is a policy that yields racial equality.
EJ Fry Acupuncture’s goal is to actively participate in antiracism through instigation of antiracist policies.
For this, I need your help. Dismantling racism is an ongoing process with the potential for mistakes, and therefore learning, to take place. If you see an area where there can be improvements made, please let me know, I’m happy to discuss ideas, comments, suggestions, questions, etc. Racism isn’t learned in a vacuum, and it can’t be unlearned in one; this must take place through conversation. I hope to continue this work in the spirit of learning how we can treat each other better, at an interpersonal and institutional level. Thank you for your help. There’s no way we can do this alone.
As I type this, I hear helicopters, sirens, and random explosive blasts. Writing an update about my acupuncture practice right now seems disingenuous, considering what's going on right now.
Though I don't have answers and don't know what to do, I feel responsible to show up somehow. Right now it seems appropriate to just say a couple words about where I stand, despite how wobbly that standing feels. If I don't take up that responsibility, my privilege of being a white cis male is being wasted, when it can be used to benefit those without such privilege.
I am heartbroken by the recent murders of our black family.
In Chinese medicine, we often talk about the root of a disease and a branch. The branch is a manifestation of the root. Until you get to the root, branches will keep popping up.
Using this lens to look through, these murders are branches, the root is white supremacy. The subsequent looting and destruction are branches....the root, again, is white supremacy. There is no doubt that violence is inherent in white supremacy.
I vow to do what I can to dismantle white supremacy. I don't know how that will look, what I will do, what I am capable of. I ask for your support as I learn, and I offer my support to you as well.
I offer my encouragement to other white folks (especially those of us in positions of power, teachers, leaders, business owners, et al) to not be aloof right now. This is too important to sit out. I hope we can use this pivotal time to cultivate the capacity to listen deeply, I hope we can be open to feedback, to engage in conversations that are rooted in the truth of our interconnectedness.
I will mess up and fail. We all will along the way. This is part of how we heal together. If we don't make space for failures, healing can't take place.
I am committed to healing and nonviolence, and I hope we can join together in that, while we allow our hearts to collectively break, and heal. Please take good care of yourselves and of each other,
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So how's everyone doing?Really. Let me know! It's not an easy time right now, no matter what your situation is, there's a good chance you're experiencing the grief of loss. It doesn't matter if it's the loss of a loved one or your old routine...either way, we need to take some time to process.
So how can herbs help?
Aside from treating active illnesses and preventing illness, herbs can address emotional imbalances that come up. A lot of people are experiencing irritability, depression, sadness, insomnia, lethargy, anxiety....you name it. Sadly, herbs are often overlooked as a powerful helper with these issues.
In fact, there are Chinese herbal traditions that developed as a direct response to outbreaks of disease and epidemics. It's something that Chinese herbal medicine has excelled at for over 2000 years now. Herbs combined with the correct diet and schedule can work wonders that oftentimes seem miraculous.
It's important to make sure you're getting the right herbs for you, however. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation! That's where I want to help.
I am offering video herbal consultations so we can get the correct herbs for your particular situation so they can be of maximum benefit.
The herbs can be shipped directly to you as well. No need to get out of your jammies! If you're really in full-on quarantine mode, the herbs can be cooked for you and delivered ready to drink!
Stay safe, stay healthy, be with whatever arises, and wash your hands!!
I'm now offering consultations via video
During this wacky, wacky time when I'm not seeing patients in clinic, I'm happy to say that I can offer consultations over video. Chinese herbal formulas are a powerful way to boost your immune system to prevent illness, as well as an effective tool for recovery once you're sick.
Once we decide on a formula that's best for you, I can have the herbs shipped directly to you! In some cases, I can deliver the herbs personally (from a safe distance of six feet away, of course!). You can take herbs in many forms, including small pills, powders to which you add hot water, the raw herbs that you cook yourself, or a decoction that is already cooked for you!
Also I just want to be clear: I have NEVER made any money from herbs. I charge you EXACTLY whatever I am charged by my herbs supplier. I never raise the cost of your herbs.
Be in good health!
Hope everyone's healthy. I just wanted to update everyone on what's happening currently, even though that seems to change by the hour. As of now, March 16, I will not be giving acupuncture treatments for at least three weeks. However, I will be available by video for consultations for herbal formulas.
This was a very difficult decision for me, which was settled by the recent "shelter in place" order that will take effect in Alameda County (amongst others) tomorrow. There are really no simple answers right now, and we need to consider the impact of our decisions, both those that we can see, and those that reach far beyond our personal sphere.
One one hand, as a health practitioner, I feel I have a commitment to provide my patients with consistent, reliable care regardless of the circumstances. In essence, that's what I signed up to do. Also I need to consider my social responsibility to "flatten the curve," which I believe is going to ultimately help this whole situation, especially the already over-burdened health care system.
Ultimately, we can't know what will be of most benefit, so we have to decide what we feel will be best. For me, this decision needs to be based on what is potentially most helpful AND the least harmful. Right now it seems that slowing the transmission of the covid virus by limiting exposure seems to be worth it. In other words, consistent acupuncture and herbs are essential to maintaining good health, but it seems to be much riskier to keep my clinic open, and unwittingly contribute to the transmission of this virus.
Also, there is a lot of bogus information going around right now. Part of this is fed by greed, and exploited by people's (very understandable) fear. IF you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me.
I hope to re-open the clinic as soon as "shelter in place" is lifted. We'll see what happens! In the meantime, wash your hands :)
EJ Fry, L.Ac.