Archive for October, 2010

Returning

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Happy Halloween, marking summer’s end. In Gaelic, Samhain marked the Celtic New Year, beginning November 1, when the veil between the worlds was thinnest, as nature turned from the full expression of yang inward to yin, where the born returns to the unborn.

I like to think of this time as coming home. Not necessarily returning to the sentimentality of the secular “home”, but of plowing back under that which is no longer needed in order to compost that which can be. As the sap returns from nourishing the summer leaves into the core, let us return to our own inner essence as we evaluate where our energy has been expended. As we begin this return to the depths, may we each have the courage to let go of that which is no longer serving us. Returning to the depths, to our own zhi, or the very reason for our being, is not usually a time where things fit nicely together. It is often a time where things fall apart, and tumble to ruins so we can experience the utter chaos of new potential.
Let go of the structures that no longer work. Dare to go into the abyss of the unknown. Dare to go into the desolate loneliness and let the structures be torn apart. Dare to go where the longing of your heart has been urging you to go.

I love the strength of this poem by Hafiz, The Quintessence of Loneliness:

I am like a heroin addict?
In my longing for a sublime state,?
For that ground of Conscious Nothing
Where the Rose ever?blooms.?
O, the Friend?has done me a great favor
?And has so thoroughly ruined my life,
?What else would you expect?
Seeing God would do!
Out of the ashes of this broken frame?
There is a noble rising son pining for death,?
Because,?Since we first met,?Beloved,
I have become a foreigner
?To every world?
Except that one ?
In which there is only
You?Or-Me.
Now that the heart has held
?That which can never be touched?
My subsistence is a blessed?Desolation?
And from that I cry for more Loneliness.
I am so lonely, dear Beloved,?
For the quintessence of ?Loneliness,?
For what is more alone than God??
Hafiz,?What is more pure and alone,?
Magnificently Sovereign,?
Than God.

I have found when I can embrace the processes of nature and live in accordance with the Tao, it sparks this same ability in those who come to me for help. I can only offer that which I have been through and that which I am; not merely the impotency of that which I have learned. Time is too precious to try to fix things from the outside in. My greatest gift in healing has never been in the form of “Let me do this for you,” but rather, “May I stand with you as the things in your world which aren’t working are allowed to fall apart?” The potency in healing is like shaking the tree, letting the leaves fall so what is revealed is bare openness, allowing life to emerge freshly once again.

I recently heard from a woman who came to a series of Fertile Soul retreats quite a few years ago. She had been desperately trying to force a child into existence in a marriage that wasn’t working, and a profession that was sucking the life out of her. Obviously it wasn’t bearing fruit. I told her I wouldn’t help her try to force what life was so vehemently resisting.

In the ensuing years, she left her job, left her marriage, and thought she left her ability to have a family. She went into the desolate land of no hope, where it seemed the soil of her life needed to lay fallow for a while. She had to give up the dream of fixing what couldn’t be fixed. She shook the tree bare, and let something new emerge. She is now freelancing from home, with her new partner. She is even older than when she was diagnosed as “infertile due to advanced maternal age.” She let her old life and old diagnosis die. From the ashes a new life emerged. She is now pregnant. She is living life for real.

May you find a friend who is willing to shake the frame of your life apart so that Life, as it wishes to be lived through you, is allowed to spring forth.

We work with being, But non-being is what we use

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Western medicine offers very little in the treatment of uterine issues,
other than shutdown or removal. That’s because Western medicine focuses beautifully with being, once it has already been manifest and can be measured and manipulated. But when we are use non-being, we must tap into the unmanifest potential for true healing to take place.

During the retreat process, we move from the state of diagnosis and treatment with Chinese medicine, into the spaciousness of the unborn, where true healing takes place: in the heart, another potential space. The heart is a void through which the spirit of existence is made manifest. The heart connects directly to the uterus, allowing it to bring forth life from the spirit of existence.

When we work with the connection between the heart and the uterus, most manifestations of “infertility” disappear. POF, amenorrhea, endometriosis, and implantation failure. When the heart – uterus link is impaired, it doesn’t matter how great or poor egg quality is; implantation cannot occur. One patient with “unexplained infertility” went through 27 IVFs with her own eggs; 9 with 9 different donors. The blastocysts were top quality, but couldn’t find a home in her unreceptive uterus. Had she started out with Chinese medicine, she could have avoided every unsuccessful attempt. When the body-mind is unreceptive, every cell expresses this lack of receptivity. Within the uterine lining, the proteins that are necessary for implantation simply do not express themselves. And there is nothing Western medicine can do about it.

A recent patient had been told by her Chinese doctor, “I’ve done all I can do for you. The rest is in your heart. You can only do this alone.” I agree with half of it; Western medicine, or any other alternative healing modality, cannot heal at the level of receptivity; the real healing work can only be done by you. But we are here to help you, so you don’t have to do it alone.

The Uterus, Implantation, and Receptivity

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The basis of uterine function is endometrial receptivity; yet Western reproductive medicine can offer very little to assist women with uterine receptivity. The wisdom of TCM takes receptivity as the central theme in fertility. If endometrial cells are not receptive, they will not open up to hormonal messages, appropriate protein expression, or the ability to receive an implanting embryo. Our focus is on overcoming hindrances to receptivity, and therapeutic modalities to help women become more receptive to life.

The sun was humankind’s first unit of measurement. The earth’s relationship to the sun set up our initial awareness of duality: as the sun rose and set we became aware of day and night; light and dark. Our brains set up mechanisms to respond to these biorhythms through the pineal gland’s output of chemicals like melatonin and serotonin. Interestingly, the first biological unit of measurement was the uterus. For approximately every moon
cycle, women seemed to bleed, unless they were bearing a child. The Greek word Maitra, which is the initial unit of measurement, parallels the Sanskrit root mater (root for matter, mother, meter, dimension, immense, menses), meaning uterus. The very first treatment for menstrual irregularities was to instruct women to sleep outside for one moon cycle, so the biorhythms could reset the hypothalamus.

The uterus gives rise to life; the primary means for measuring this state of existence we find ourselves in. To be born, from nothingness into this dimension. To become material. The uterus is seen as a potential. The Chinese word for uterus is Bao, or wrapper, which emerges from the Dan Tien, or source of life that we tap into with our Qi Gong exercises. The Tao te Ching reminds us that the utility of anything is in its potential space; not
in that which fills it up:

We join spokes together in a wheel,
But it is the center hole
That makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
But it is the emptiness inside
That holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
But it is the inner space
That makes it livable.