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The Inner Phoenix Path to Whole Health

Based upon personal experience, as well as my work with clients, it is apparent to me that our individual health and collective societal health is dependent upon the opportunities we have to bring our whole-selves to the work and activities in which we engage. You may wonder what exactly I mean by this. Well, consider your daily life and the people you encounter on a regular basis: family, office mates, acquaintances where you work-out, familiar faces at the library and grocery store, and countless other people unique to the paths you trace. How many of these people's names do you know. Are they familiar with your family, as well as the joys and challenges you've experienced? Often, there is little we know about the people we come in contact with, and little they know about us. It is true that we wouldn't want to know everything about everyone! That would be far too much information to contain. However, countless people feel isolated in their lives today.

Despite our hyper-connectivity through such avenues as facebook, cell phones, and other modes of communication, individuals feel lonely and depressed. We run from place to place, putting smiles on our faces. We say "hello" and ask "how are you?" But we rarely integrate the responses we hear and we rarely feel comfortable telling the other person how we are honestly feeling. Instead, we compartmentalize our lives, cutting off from our emotions as we tread through the work of our day(s). However, those emotions do not simply disappear. When left unexpressed and unacknowledged over time, they manifest patterns of illness in our bodies.

Depression may be one of the most common manifestations for people; however, there are many types of complications that emotions generate whether of physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual natures. Other possible manifestations of hampered authentic self-expression include high blood pressure, pulled muscles, disorientation, forgetfulness, frustration, or a lack of motivation. I would suggest that one of the greatest contributing factors to our individual and collective ill-health is a lack of deep connection with strong networks of friends and family. In cultures around the world, the healthiest, happiest people are those whose daily lives are filled with rich, meaningful relationships. Such relationships are marked by mutual appreciation, acceptance, and simple acknowledgement of each others' unique aspirations, talents, challenges, joys, and sorrows. People in rich, meaningful relationships feel unconditionally accepted and affirmed.

Amidst the compartmentalization we experience in western society, I believe it is of utmost importance that we seek out those healing environments and relationships that allow us to bring our whole-selves to the table. We must be able to bring our physical body that craves physical delight, our mental body that seeks intellectual stimulation, the emotional body that experiences joy, sadness, grief, anger, love, and our spirit body that connects with the mystery of life. When we meet the world with all aspects of ourselves, we foster and affirm wholeness in our lives, as well as in the lives of those around us.

As a bodywork professional, the only way I know to support people as they seek to heal pain of physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual injury is to work with the whole person. Chinese Medicine provides a unique set of tools that guide the intellectual and intuitive aspects of my work with clients. Where Western medicine seeks to determine the precise cause of illness, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at the whole person to understand the complex issues contributing to the presenting imbalance or symptoms. The lens of TCM provides a coherent framework to affirm the complexities of each person. It is my hope that in bringing this work to more people, I am also doing my very small part to help create a collective societal health.

May peace be upon you!