FAST WISDOM™ NEWSLETTER
by Lonner Holden
Welcome to Fast Wisdom™, the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice. Each issue explores a theme of living approached in the context of healing. A simple Jin Shin Juytsu® Healing Hands Self-Care exercise, as well as a Restorative Nature Practice™ activity to practice which relate to the newsletter theme of the month is included. Nutrition and health tips too, so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.
Transforming Outer Darkness into Inner Light
Winter . Water . Lymph . Fear . Stillness
On a four day solo silent walking retreat in West Marin County over the Thanksgiving weekend, it began to rain. The first night the sky opened up so intensely, the drumming on my tent fly required using ear plugs to sleep. The evergreen wings of the redwood grove cocoon I was nestled inside of gathered rain drops and released big dollops that whacked the ground around me. Determined for thirsty roots awaiting to be nourished beneath the surface in darkness, the life-giving water also worked to clear stagnation from congested drainages after a historic hiatus. As I write this, winter’s first big storm is swirling down. Through the long night, winter’s great hand is delivering its generous river to all of life.
Ours is the Blue Planet. Water is everywhere there is life. After light, water is only second to air as a life-giving element. It represents flow, produces fluidity and allows biological functions to occur. Giving water attention in our lives is essential to our survival and our health.
In his book, “Sensitive Chaos: The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air”, Theodor Schewnk describes water as “... the element of circulation systems. If living circulation is interrupted, a totality is broken into and the linear chain of cause and effect as an inorganic law is set in motion.” In other words, for one, if you are dehydrated, the efficiency of the smooth operation of your bodily systems break down and disease results.
Dehydration is the number one cause of disease and its shadow is far-reaching. Dehydration allows accumulation of toxins in the body which results in inflammation. Inflammation increases a level of acidity in the blood that significantly contributes to a volatile metabolic environment that can easily result in immune and autoimmune diseases. For instance, inflammation is the number one cause of the most common cancers (lung, breast, colon, ovarian, etc.). With reduced mobilization of blood, the brain can be starved of glucose and fuzzy thinking and depression can result. Asthma, weight gain, fatigue, infections, dizziness - the list of the negative consequences of when the “living circulation is interrupted” goes on.
The aging process is augmented by dehydration. When inflammation keeps recurring, the repair chromosomes of the body must be deployed again and again. The more the chromosomal repair system compensates for environmental factors like pollution and lifestyle practices like chronic stress, smoking, alcohol and junk food the less effective it becomes. Collagen, immune system and internal tissues break down. We begin to fall apart, need to see the doctor more and feel a drop of our health and vitality. A loss of confidence follows and fears creep in.
Proper hydration nourishes an environment that helps regulate blood pressure, nerve, organ, immune and renal function.
The big helper here is our lymph system which it is fed by water. There is four times more lymphatic fluid in the body than blood, as its function allows the blood to do its job. You might say that the lymph system is the overseer of all living functions.
After an exceptional experience of a Lymph Drainage Therapy Massage by Patrick Spalding in San Francisco, I asked him about the process. He offered the following: “Our blood is mostly water and serves to dissolve, process, and transport nutrients and eliminate waste materials. When dehydrated the blood becomes thick and saturated and is unable to flow freely. The excess of toxins must then be stored within the... space surrounding the cells, pending elimination for life to continue... Since the cells cannot have the proper oxygenation and nutrition they begin to change... in order to survive.” He further explains, “The Lymphatic system is the extraction and waste removal system for the body. Nutrients, oxygen, immune champions... are pumped out to the body by the heart and cardio-pulmonary vessels. The vast majority of waste, water, dead cells, pathogens, detritus, fat cells, and large proteins, are brought back through the lymph vessels... as well as producing and bringing in immune cells, then returned to the blood... for redistribution/elimination by the cardio-pulmonary system.”
Dehydration causes the fire (oxygenation) in our blood to be literally smothered by debris. Almost counterintuitively, in the darkness of our internal physiology water allows the fire of life to thrive.
Common fluids that encourage dehydration are coffee, caffeinated drinks, sodas and alcohol. The common myth is that since I am drinking something, I am ‘hydrating’. Nope. Coffee and caffeinated drinks are diuretics - they cause our body to release water, thus resulting in dehydration. Soda is loaded with toxins - sugars, acids and dyes - so we toxify while thinking we are hydrating. Alcohol destroys the secretion of anti-diuretic hormone, which acts on the kidneys to reabsorb water, so instead the kidneys produce more urine and, therefore, water loss.
Besides symptoms like fatigue, mental slowness and thirst, a simple test to determine if you are dehydrated is the color and smell of your urine. If your urine is cloudy, dark and smells strong, like broccoli or brussel sprouts, you are dehydrated. If your urine is clear or pale yellow and has a light odor, your hydration is adequate.
So how do you hydrate? To quote the old cowboy song, drink, “cool, clear water..” Yes, it’s that simple. And how powerful is this simple practice? If there was one thing you could change in your lifestyle that was already completely accessible which could have the greatest benefit on your health and vitality, it would be increasing your intake of water. If you added more water in conjunction with decreasing your intake of the above mentioned dehydrating and toxic drinks your personal health coefficient would most certainly increase significantly and rapidly.
Winter solstice is when the world’s outer darkness migrates furthest down from the north. The world becomes quieter, stillness possesses the landscape and the waters flow until they too, become still as frozen lakes or rivers. The outer world goes dormant. In the mirror of a glassy pond, or a still pool, reflection invites one to become more still inside. We are inspired to recreate the sun by lighting a fire in the fireplace, bring candles to the table, serve hot drinks, offer gifts and know the feeling inside those warmths afford us; awaken the light inside.
When we assume the qualities of flowing water we are more fluid in our thinking, flushing out the shadows of doubt and prejudice; while assuming the qualities of still water deepens our inner awareness. The inner awareness of the light and warmth which illuminates our discretion, calms our fears, awakens the impulse to form new resolutions and direct our lives so the fire of our desire flows more freely with renewed well-being, health and recovery.
- What are my clear and clean water intake habits?
- What do I do that contributes to dehydration?
- Do I avoid drinking water because I avoid needing to go to the bathroom “too often”?
- What is my typical “norm” of feeling fatigue, depression, other chronic symptoms?
- How often do I feel thirsty?
- Where is your food and beverage shopping/buying habitual?
- How much do you respond to marketing or social influences on your beverage intake?
- Substitute reaching for a bottle of water on the shelf for a bottle of juice or can of soda.
- Drink 6-8 tall glasses of clear, clean water per day.
- Decrease coffee, sweetened drinks and alcohol intake 1 serving per week for a month.
JIN SHIN JYUTSU® HEALING HANDS SELF-CARE:
- Place left hand over left shoulder (so fingers touch top of left back just below the neck and to the left of the spine)
- Hide each fingernail of the fingers of the right hand under the right thumb for one minute each, beginning with index, then middle, ring, little
- Switch sides and begin with right hand over right shoulder - same position as left hand before
- Hide each fingernail of the fingers of the left hand under the left thumb pad, same order as the right fingers: index, middle, ring, little
The shoulders near the top of the back, base of the neck energetically support clearing the lymph system and therefore, the immune system. This flow sequence is great to do when around contagious people, if you feel the initial sensations of a cold or flue coming on or if you get a cold or flu of preventing it going deeper and getting over it sooner.
More Info »
RESTORATIVE NATURE PRACTICE™:
- How many different sounds does water make in nature?
- When does the water go up?
- How many ways does rain affect light in the natural environment?
- Light a candle (safely) in a dark room. Observe the stillness of the flame. What are the sensations you feel internally from the presence of this light? Where do you feel those sensations? How would you name the emotions?
More Info »
NEXT MONTH: Life Letters: The Art of Affirming Relationship
Hydrating foods like grapefruit and oranges are a winter season food. Add them to your diet along with melons, cucumbers, celery, red tomatoes, and leafy greens. Filled with water, minerals, enzymes and a host of other nutrients, their benefits are many.
- December 13, 14: Wilderness First Responder Recertification, San Francisco
- December 20: Restorative Nature Practice™, Marin County
- December 21: Winter Solstice Poetry Reading, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, Marin County
- December 28: Marin County Tracking Club, Point Reyes (www.prts.me/mtc.html)
- January 6,13,20,27 & February 3,10: Healing Hands Self-Care series, San Rafael
- January 24: Restorative Nature Practice™, Marin County
- January 25: Marin County Tracking Club, Point Reyes
- January 30,31, February 1,2: Intensive: Jin Shin Jyutsu, San Rafael
See events on calendar »
© 2014 Lonner Holden