Saturday, May 7, 2022

22-21 A Wood practitioner describes how she holds her hands

Catherine from France has sent me this welcome addition to my blog 22-19 of 3rd May: 

She describes the Wood element's way of sitting from a Wood person's perspective:

 "It is always with great pleasure that I read your blogs so I will answer your question about the sitting position of a Wood element, which I am definitely.


I tend to sit straight, sometimes with my feet on tip toes and when on public transport often I have to busy myself either with a book or phone.


My hands seem to find their position palm against palm in between my thighs or my hands are on my knees, but always in an erect position.


I have also noticed this erect position among my Wood patients. As if they are ready to get up to go on a mission and accomplish the tasks they have planned and organised."


Thank you so much, Catherine, for these very interesting insights from within the Wood element.



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

22 - 20 Two important lessons JR Worsley taught me

Two important lessons JR Worsley taught me many years ago have stood me, and all those people I have passed them on to, in good stead.  They are both deceptively simple lessons, but are profound in their reach.


The first was when I had just started my School of Five Element Acupuncture, SOFEA, and was feeling rather overwhelmed by the task I had taken on without thinking through many of its consequences.  I remember telling JR that I thought I had been foolhardy in accepting the responsibility of teaching others when I had only been in practice myself for so few years.  And he said, "Remember, Nora, you know more than they do."  And indeed I must have done, although I hadn't put it to myself in those terms.  After all, I had then had more than 6 years' experience both learning about and practising five element acupuncture, first as a student and then as a practitioner, and the students I was expecting to teach had absolutely none.


So this is the advice I pass on to other prospective teachers.  As long as you never claim to know more than you do, then each person has the right, and, as I often say, the duty, to pass on the little or the great amount of their own learning to those that have less than they do.


I found the second piece of advice  a little more surprising, but it was even more illuminating.  I told JR that I was having problems feeling the pulses and trying to diagnose their relative weaknesses and strengths.  And he said, "I know what you mean;  that happens to me, too.  Perhaps for a month or so I am uncertain of my pulse readings, and then I realise that this is because I've moved up a further level in my pulse diagnosis."  I wasn't convinced that the same applied to me at my much lower level of practice, but it was a comfort to hear JR say that he also had doubts about his own proficiency at various points in his life.


Both these lessons have comforted me throughout the many years of my practice and teaching.  I hope that they encourage others in their practice as they have encouraged me in mine.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

22 - 19 How we hold our hands when we sit - another diagnostic tool to help us

One of the delights of being a five element acupuncturist is realising that every single thing we do, each action we take, each movement we make, each way we talk or smile, each reveals, to a perceptive observer and listener, the element under whose patronage we live our life.  It is as though each of us is a walking, talking example of one element (with, of course, other elements which we call the "elements within" in more humble attendance).

In the past few days I have made another discovery about myself which adds a further diagnostic tool to help us distinguish between the different ways in which the elements manifest themselves.  I have written before about how I see the elements shape our bodies and our movements.  What I have now noticed adds a little more to this.  I made this new observation after looking at how I was sitting during a bus ride here in London.  I noticed that I seemed to be clasping my arms tightly to my body, almost as if in a defensive position. I then went on to observe myself whenever I found myself sitting quietly, and was surprised to find that I always tend to sit with my arms clasped around me, with the right arm over the left arm, and with the fingers of my right had held closely to my body, just below my left breast.  Once I had noticed this posture, I observed myself more closely whenever I was sitting doing nothing.  The moment my body returned to a position of rest, I found that the only comfortable position for my arms was the clasp-around-the-chest position I had noticed during my bus ride.  


Wondering why this should be, I suddenly started to laugh.  Of course, my arms were acting as Heart Protector, carefully surrounding my pericardium and in particular using the fingers of my right hand to close firmly up against where they would feel my heart beat, under my left breast.  In effect, my arms were physically taking on the role of protecting my Heart, as anybody who is Inner Fire, as I am, must do to fulfil its prime function.


Once I had realised that this was my default position whenever I sit idly, I started to look more closely at the way the other elements sit, and of course used my good friend, Guy (Metal), as the obvious next example.  He and I both noticed that he likes to sit with his hands away from his body, leaving the space Metal always likes to have around it, but with his fingers steepled in front of him. His forefinger forms a V-shape pointing forwards, and he clasps his thumbs together.  In effect, this emphasizes the two digits, the thumb and forefinger, which are what I call Metal's fingers, along which the two Metal meridians run.  The V-shape point can be seen symbolically, too, as Metal's ability to get to the very nub of a problem, to its very essence.


Guy and I only had time to discuss one of the remaining elements, Earth, which we had both observed likes to sit back very comfortably in its chair, with its hands clasped gently together in its lap.  This creates a kind of a circle around the abdomen, a very Earth posture.  


Interestingly, neither he nor I felt easy sitting in any way that differed from the ways we each preferred.  I felt really uncomfortable trying to sit as relaxed as Earth likes to do with my hands in my lap, and could certainly never steeple my fingers as Guy habitually does.  Nor did Guy feel at all happy clasping his arms around his chest as I like to do. 


I haven't yet had an opportunity to observe Wood and Water as closely as the other elements, but will report back when I do.  Perhaps some Wood or Water people can give me their own feedback on this.  As you know, I always welcome input from others to round off my understanding of the different elements.


So if you can't decide on C, S, O or E, then I suggest you look at how your patient is holding their hands.