What do we do when all plans are out of the window? Perhaps you had arrangements for this summer. Maybe you were getting married, going abroad on your dream holiday, finishing your leaving cert or celebrating a big number birthday but now all those plans are gone. Even as lockdown loosens and restrictions ease, we can be left feeling flat. Without working towards a hopeful future we had planned, we can feel despondent in the present. Good news, Traditional Chinese Medicine with a focus on diet and acupressure points can help us appreciate this period of uncertainty and even guide us into a more balanced, happier future.
Firstly when you are lacking mental brightness and positivity don’t push yourself. Simply be where you are. Notice what is around you, name five things that you see or hear that are beautiful. This can be hearing birdsong, seeing how green the grass is or, sensing how the breeze moves the leaves in the trees. When you prepare food, do it with love. Arrange your meal on the plate so it looks beautiful, clear and set the table with care so you eat with appreciation. These are small simple tips that in Chinese Medicine that feed the heart. This organ is the emperor of the body, it stores our spirit and is represented by a flame. Don’t let your fire dwindle, feed the flame and lift your spirit by seeing and creating beauty right here, right now. The season of the Heart is the summer so choosing all those fantastic summer foods such as watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, beetroot, tomato, radish and red peppers benefit the heart physically and emotionally. Try experimenting and put them together in a new way so you see your food as alluring and elegant.
Watermelon works well in a salad dish and complements a barbeque splendidly. In Traditional Chinese Medicine this ingredient cools summer heat. When your inner flame is burning too brightly and you are overheating, red in the face or sweating profusely, juice this fruit or munch on segments to move blood, reducing pain and heat around the joints, making this a perfect food for gout, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
1 medium watermelon
100g feta cheese
1 red onion
A handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Chop the watermelon into bite-size pieces. Slice the red onions into paper-thin, half-moons and sprinkle them along with the crumbled feta onto the watermelon. Scatter the basil leaves and drizzle the olive oil over the top to finish.
Tip: Choose a watermelon that has wide spaces between the dark green lines – they’re sweeter that way.
A physical exercise to shift stagnant downturned emotions is to make loose fists and lightly pummel the front of the thighs. Bring the fists up and down over the quads, which are a group of four large muscles at the front of the legs between the knees and hips, for about 30 seconds. This stimulates the Stomach and Spleen channels, responsible for harmony and comfort in the body. So rather than reaching for something sweet to raise the spirits try a little light pummeling which after a couple of days, works wonders in lifting despondent spirits.
It can be hard to appreciate the present when the future feels uncertain but being in the heart in the present moment can transform tragedy to inner strength. Be kind to yourself. I cant assure you there are better things on the way but there will be different things and if we can keep the eyes open appreciating the beauty in life, right here right now it will help glide us easily along the path to a bright, balanced tomorrow.
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