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What Lights You Up?

Do you know that heart attacks are 13% higher on Monday mornings than any other day/time of the week? And do you know more deaths from cardiac arrests occur on December 25, December 26 and January 1, respectively.

In Chinese Medical theory, this can easily be attributed to being disconnected from our spirit, what we call our heart in western terms. When we let stress, non-heartfelt commitments, and the mind conditioning that the heart’s desires have to put on hold for (insert excuse here) it disconnects us from our spirit.

The spirit in balance, or a healthy spirit, is regarded as an essential part of health and wellness. 

There are five aspects of spirit:

The Hun is the part of the spirit that is responsible for loving kindness, empathy, compassion, and tolerance. When it’s healthy it is a source for ideas that bring meaning to our lives and being open to inspiration. When it’s out of balance we experience irritability, anger, frustration, resentment, and feeling dissociated from the meaning of our lives.

The Po is the part associated with sensations and emotional responses to circumstances. When this part is healthy, justice and fairness are key ideals for our lives. When it’s out of balance we experience overwhelming feelings of grief, tendencies to overreact, and have tendencies for unjust and immoral behaviors to dominate our actions.

The Zi is the part of spirit associated with the Will. When in balance it provides motivation, self-determination, and the ability to follow intuition.  When it’s out of balance people tend to experience illogical fears or participate in reckless behaviors.

The Yi is the spiritual aspect associated with the intellect and conscious reasoning. When this aspect is healthy it enables the ability to discern a wise course of action to create ones’ vision. When it isn’t healthy, one tends to over-worry, overthink and even become obsessive.

The Shen is the connection between the outer-world and the inner-world - the connector between the mind and the soul. When the Shen is in balance it is responsible for keeping an open heart, establishing meaningful relationships, being able to feel your feelings, being able to forgive and see the big picture. When it is out of balance we tend to experience constant edginess, shyness, social awkwardness, agitation, delusion, and be overly prideful or narcissistic.

Following your heart, doing the things that light you up, keep the aspects of the spirit in balance, thereby keeping the emotions in a healthy state, which in the long run keeps the body healthy.

When you’ve created a life where you feel fulfilled - you love your career, unconditionally love your family and friends, get to do athletic, recreational and creative activities that light you up, all those aspects of the spirit can stay in balance and you can be healthy. Life challenges still come up, but you’re able to respond from a place of wisdom, rather than react from a place of fear or judgment. You let yourself feel your feelings and let them move through you.

When you're following your heart other life-affirming things begin to happen. It's common to get to really know yourself and what really matters to you; to open up to being able to forgive yourself and others; to cease to have regrets; and to

open up to learning new things. All this helps create new neural pathways, keeping the brain sharp,

Other things people tend to experience are opening the ability to heal old emotional wounds and negative conditioning; removing toxic things from your life, be it people, habits, and/or commitments made out of a sense of obligation; and being focused on creating a healthy lifestyle, and becoming more confident, happy and peaceful.

When you don’t feel fulfilled in these areas or life is too stressful, those unbalanced feelings and emotions can get stuck in the body and create dis-ease, most often leading to diseases. If you are here, ask yourself what can you change? What is your heart (soul) crying out for? What can you let go of to make space for what your inner self deeply desires? What are you doing out of a sense of obligation that is holding you back? 

Many people have been conditioned to believe that they have to give up on or postpone their dreams because they have to work at a job for the health insurance, have to see family or in-laws who are openly hostile or passively aggressive towards them, have to go to this church or that synagogue even though they feel called to go to one in the next town or trade it for going to the Buddhist sangha. All our “shoulds” and “I have to’s” are keeping us disconnected from our spirits, and keeping us on the path of imbalance and dis-ease.

If you’re holding onto this conditioning I encourage you to change one thing in your life that your spirit/heart is crying out for. Be patient and watch how it changes your life. When you’re ready, add on another.

In conclusion I’d like to share a quote by Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

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Thank you Carla for such a great post - you are a fantastic person for sharing this. I encourage anyone reading this to schedule an appointment with you for a terrific acupuncture treatment. Mine are awesome!

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