Warming up the Water (Jul 1997)

This month’s front cover needs a bit of explaining. My oldest brother David is keeping the fire burning so that we can have warm water to wash our dirty clothes. The warm water was then siphoned into the wringer washer that was powered by a gasoline motor. I enjoyed hanging the clothes on the line to dry, trying to second-guess if I could get them all to fit. The tank holding the water was painted yellow, the same colour as the school bus that my parents converted and drove to Rosswood in 1959. The words behind David spell out the city where we came from, Alpena, Mich.

Summertime is the best time of the year for me. The long summer days give me external heat. For many it’s a time to eat fresh fruit and salad greens, but not for me. I continue to eat porridge and the more warming foods so that my hands and feet don’t get cold. Keeping warm and digesting my food has always been a struggle for me. As a teenager I remember asking my friends, “How can you wear sandals when it is cold outside.”

Chinese Medicine is teaching me possible ways to build internal heat. I have come to understand that heat is generated within the body from the food that I eat and then circulated to the extremities via the blood, the heart and the triple warmer. The triple warmer represents the energetic connections between the three aspects of oneself, the physical, emotional and spiritual (what the soul needs). It also unites the lower, middle and upper energy centres.

When I was a teenager my shoulders collapsed forward because there was not enough energy circulating in my body. Much of the energy I had was being used to keep my internal organs functioning, and my muscles adapted by becoming strong in twisted ways. My chi lines were blocked with debris (emotional and physical) and the energy flows became sluggish. I am now beginning to understand how the energetic system really works. Everyday my energy increases a little bit which I attribute to the combination of eating organic foods and herbs daily, practising yoga and getting a Rolf with Jason weekly, plus an Integrative Body Psychology session with Ken monthly. Alternating the different modalities helps me to see how each therapy can help to open me up in a different way.

Slowing down and taking more time for myself is helping me to become more aware of the subtle connections there are between the food I eat and the energy I have. When I eat fruit in the morning, I can feel my body cool off. When I eat porridge, I can feel the heat release and my feet warm up. Having a slice of pie or jam on my toast is sometimes enough to start the cooling process. To counter balance, I use lots of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in my cooking for these herbs increase the heat. If I eat cayenne peppers however, which are too hot, the heat causes my tongue to blister. All this is teaching me how fine is the line of balance as my body slowly learns to adjust the inner control settings. My old patterning was one of extremes… sort of like when the car was cold … I would crank the heater and then suddenly it was too hot so I would turn it off then, when it cooled, I would crank the heater up till the car or me finally got warm.

Educating myself by listening to my body and learning to trust my instincts as to what is right for me has been a slow process. My childhood idea that adults (or other people) knew more about my body than me seems deeply ingrained and it has taken some time to let go of that belief system at a bodily level even though I had figured it out intellectually many years ago.

Finally my childhood eating patterns are coming to the surface. Slowly, I am figuring out the beliefs attached to my unconscious desires. Old memories of what my parents wanted me to be like are coming up in my emotional body. “Hurry up and eat, clean up your plate and spinach is good for you,” are some of the underlying belief systems I accepted as truths. My parents were repeating words they had heard and it had worked for them but my ancestral chi was not as strong as their’s. My system couldn’t digest lard, white flour and sugar and it was protesting. I didn’t understand that my stomach rumbling and tenderness were due to my not being able to digest such food because I didn’t have enough chi or the chi was there but blocked because of my emotional patterning.

As I said in my last column, I seem to be in the process of having my core beliefs and feelings brought to the surface. This affects the way I eat, do business and enjoy life, including my relationship with Gerry, which is blossoming quite nicely. I have said to him several times in the past few months that he is helping me redefine my favourite slogan, “Relationships are mirrors, so that we may see ourselves and heal.” Gerry is very observant: he likes to mimic the way deer walk, he caws back at the crows, and notices the tiniest seed popping up its first leaf. Being around him and having him mirror back my facial expressions, my burping noises and each gesture is a fascinating process. Staying in my emotional body, listening to my feelings while I am having a conversation with him is getting easier. I love his innocence and his honesty, for it will help me to heal myself. And knowing that I can’t change, blame or heal anyone but myself gives me lots of reasons to be determined. First I needed to feel my feelings, then I needed to figure out what they meant, and now I need to trust what they are telling me. The code only seems complicated because I wasn’t always present with myself, others or the food I was eating in the past. Figuring out the many tastes and when my body wants them is taking time. Eating a variety of meals that Gerry prepares is wonderful and sure beats eating alone. I was getting tired of eating home-made soup because it was fast, nutritious and easily digestible.

Learning to trust my feelings is also being repeated in my business dealings as the dental lab moves out of the building next door that Jan and I own to make room for a Wellness Clinic. My mind says I should panic and do something, anything, but when I check into my body there is a feeling of peace and calmness that all is … as it is meant to be. Time always reveals the truth and so I shall wait, listening for inner guidance, watching for signs as to what needs to happen next.