Archive for February, 2012


Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Once a month I conduct a community call with our community of TCM fertility experts, dealing with real life issues that show up as mental, emotional or physical imbalances, including infertility. Today we talked about the energies of emergence.

As we move from winter into spring, nature expresses the energy of emergence. The seeds that have been hidden under ground sprout into shoots, which emerge through the soil as the hidden potential is being manifest.  This very same energy is behind the reproductive capacity of a human being.

The water element, carried by the kidney system of energies, governs our genetic and reproductive potential, and how it can be either strengthened into a strong push of emergence, or depleted where its potential withers before it has a chance to emerge.

We looked at what constitutes that hidden potential. According to Chinese medicine, its basis is a strong sense of ones innate being, that gives rise to the will to live fully and reproduce oneself in the world. Physical means to support these energies are

through adequate sleep, rest, quiet, meditation, a warm foot soak in Epson salts, eating seeds, and nourishing foods like eggs with high potential energy, qi gong, reproductive and femoral massage, and acupuncture and herbs that tonify the kidney essence.. The strongest way to nourish the potential of the kidney energies is to know oneself fully, down to the core, without any masks or roles giving us our identity.

These potential energies can also be depleted by too much exercise, excitement, stimulation, not enough restoration and sleep; eating foods with low potential energy like refined carbohydrates and simple sugars. They are also held back by unexamined fears, which can lurk in the depths and drive unconscious behavior. Fears like “My life will not be worth anything if I don’t have a child.” These types of unconscious fears are counter to knowing and accepting oneself down to the core. When we move into these fears and acknowledge them, they lose their hold over us.

I invite you to look at these fears that might hold you back and bring them into the light where they have no power.  What gives your life worth right now? Can you look at the value of your life without any roles, relationships, or external identities?

From here, the depths of your own inherent worth, there is potential for what can be. What emerges forth as your heart’s greatest longing? Sure, it comes in the form of the desire to have a child. But instead of holding onto the picture of a child as a goal oriented pursuit, bring it into an embodied reality. When you feel the desire for a child arise, what does it feel like in your body? What is the direct, felt experience of what you think it will feel like when that desire is fulfilled? Instead of waiting for the goal to be reached (a stressful pursuit which depletes the kidneys and obstructs the liver), bring it out of the mind and into the body. Feel the visceral sensation of its fulfillment. What does it feel like? Unconditional love? Joy? Feel those feelings now.

Turn your vision within. Find the source from which these energies arise. Look at what might be obstructing them. Let your deepest fears be uncovered. Move beyond them, so you can experience the fullness of your heart’s desire. Take it out of the mind, which will give it a picture, and instead plant the feeling in your body. Let that feeling guide you.

Finally, what is the ground of your life, as it is, that will be nourishing this seedling? How have you been nourishing your life? How much space is there in your life right now for yourself? For a child? What types of emotions are circulating through your system? Is it conducive to allowing new life to emerge? And can you cultivate a sense of faith that life, as it is, can find its way through you?

We will be working with these most potent energies of emergence at our next retreat. I hope to see you there.

A Tough Old Egg

Monday, February 6th, 2012

My whole life, I’ve done everything right, and look where it got me.”

– Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The fertility journey of a woman over 40 is a tenacious pursuit, requiring a tremendous amount of fortitude. The mature fertility patient musters up all of the drive and determination of her past decades of achievement, and goes into overdrive to try to reach her goal. She will stop at nothing – researching, studying, consulting doctors of various specialties, taking her temperature, getting her hormones tested and reproductive organs evaluated, taking herbs and supplements, adjusting her diet and lifestyle, reducing stress; and still they say her chances are dismal. Further fueling the purposeful resolve; she rolls up her sleeves, more determined than ever to summon up all the power of women who have ever overcome odds to achieve their goal. Like Thelma & Louise, reaching the end of a desperate journey, they become risk takers, doing things they normally wouldn’t do, and trading hope for courage. They become tough; hardening the exterior to protect themselves from a most terrifying notion – what if the statistics are true?

A recent research of reproductive literature revealed the following quotes:

“As a woman eggs age, their shells become harder, keeping sperm out.”

“Assisted hatching involves the use of laser to thin the zona pellucida (outer shell) of the fertilized egg, prior to transfer into the uterus. It is believed that this outer shell becomes thicker and hardened with aging of the oocyte.”

The follicular fluid of the developing egg contains other markers of stress , too, like hormonal fluctuations, and evidence of low oxygenation. Now, who would expect anything different? Women who are in a state of desperate pursuit send their bodies into a state of mind over matter, and it shows up in the physical – down to the cellular level. The ovaries become a repository for this toughness. During a guided inner meditation, one retreat participant reported:

I visualized my ovaries wearing army helmets. I had put them through a war with my demands of them, never allowing them to recover between cycles, just demanding more, more  more!  I never allowed them a state of receptivity; or allowed them to be rejuvenated or nourished. I demanded action of them, as I had always demanded perfection and overachievement of myself, and they were exhausted. They needed protection. What kind of mother does that? How could this type of attitude that I had perfected my whole life, not be reflected inside?”

As Mary Oliver so eloquently put it in her poem, Wild Geese,

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Please allow yourself to stop being tough. We teach you many ways to improve ovarian health, but you must be in a state where you allow it to take hold at the cellular level. Allow yourself to drop into the deep, inner nourishment, where nature allows the miraculous. Your inner body reflects the state of your mind. Become receptive, and open to life.