I am excited to announce that I am working on a book describing the relationship of Chinese medicine to our emotional and cognitive functions. I plan to release it in ebook form mid to late summer 2014. This is an excerpt from my book, Conquering Your Inner Demons: A guide to Emotional Health And Balance With Chinese Medicine. Please let me know if this excerpt is interesting and accessible. I am in the active writing phase of my book and would love to hear from you what is and is not working for your, the reader. If you like this excerpt, I invite you to check out my ebook when it is published. Thank you in advance.
Excerpt from Chapter Two: The Water Pair: The Persevering and the Fear Monger
The water pair are the Kidney and Bladder meridians. The water pair are the seat of your constitutional vitality and represent the genetic code passed onto you by your parents. You can start out with a strong vitality early on in life, and eat terribly, burn the candle at both ends, and you will loose the edge you were born with. Conversely, you can be born with less than average strength, health, vitality according to your Kidney qi. You can listen to your body’s needs of sleep, nutrient dense food, rest and exercise and slowly build your Kidney qi up over time. Both are mixed blessings, and arguably being born with exceptionally strong Kidney qi can be a curse in disguise, because you never have to learn boundaries until your forties or fifties.
The Kidney and Bladder meridians trace the front and back body. The Bladder goes from your inner canthus of the eye, back and forth across the skull and then down the spine and backs of your legs to end at the outer nail bed of your littlest toe. The Kidney meridian is nearly opposite, it starts on the sole of your foot –just behind the ball of your foot, wraps up the inner arch to the inner malleolus and traces up the inner leg to cross the genitals, then it moves just ½ a centimeter from midline up the belly to the rib cage, where it spreads out to two inches from centerline until your clavicle. At the clavicle, the Kidney meridian ends on the surface.
The water pair hold your original yin and original yang. Some practitioners have tried to equate this with the genetic code given by your parents. Others like to equate it to your deepest constitution or building blocks to work with through life. Regardless, the water pair represents the primordial aspects of life. This can be both simple and profound.
As such, the water pair relate strongly to the emotions and cognitive functions of fear and will power. When you look at water in nature, it has the perseverance to forever flow towards the sea. If a rock happens to be in the way, it will wear it down into the Grand Canyon, or it will meander around it. Ultimately, the streams flow down from the mountains to become larger and larger bodies of water, rivers, lakes, larger rivers, and finally the ocean. Water contains mystery and allure. It gives life, sustains life, and can quickly extinguish life. It is powerful enough to move massive boulders and for a wave to hold a person down indefinitely in the churning abyss. Water has significant power and weight.
To fully understand the relationship of the water element to our lives, it is useful to look at the water in the world around us. In balance water or properly functioning water behaves like a moderately flowing stream to the ocean, it does not overflow its banks nor does it ever run dry. There are numerous healthy or normal manisfestations of water: the ocean during peaceful weather, a moderate stream, a well fed lake, a placid river, or a babbling brook. All of these manifestations of water have a slightly different flavor. Contrast the babbling brook with its vocal nature, and shallow, clear water dancing over small to medium rocks with the depths, mystery and a darkness of the ocean. People with a strong water constitution or strong water element will reflect these different aspects of water and it will help to make sense of their actions. You may know someone who is a babbling brook versus another individual that behaves more like a deep ocean, or an oceanic abyss—you may think you know what is going on the surface, but in reality there is a whole different world occurring beneath the surface.
To understand water when it is exhibiting what Chinese medicine would call ‘imbalance,’ again we look to nature. The most common hindrance to water in its natural state is cold. Cold will freeze water into snow or ice. When water is frozen into ice, it cannot move freely. It becomes immobile; stuck.
Frozen water in a person will result in immobility towards anything in their life, whether it is an upward mobility in their career, a house project, an art project, a research project, or moving forward in a relationship. Frozen water may appear as many things, but ultimately the guiding force in the lack of mobility relates to fear. It could be a fear of many things, but in the end, it is a fear of the unknown in a job, a relationship, or a project that will essentially freeze out any progress.
Excessive fear will literally immobilize a person. It could be as simple as preventing a person from proposing the next step in a relationship, such as moving in together or proposing marriage, or it could be freezing them from moving forward in a project related to their career. This could be misinterpreted as self-sabotaging behavior, depending on the circumstance, but the root factor in the equation is fear.