Undoing the Spring Forward Muddle

JMichael (seated) with his most recent group of Medical Qigong Practitioner Grads (2020)

I am sad to announce the recent passing of one of my dear Qigong teachers,

Dr. JMichael Wood, DMQ.

July 30, 1945- March 17, 2022

At a time when I would love to be able to tell you all the things this person meant to me, my words fail. His teachings deepened my life; his sense of humor , approachable wisdom, and generous compassion will be a model for me always. JMichael, I hope I can be a good steward of the knowledge you've shared with me. Love and gratitude for you and a t'ai hexagram- perfect balance and peace go with you. 泰

Photo source unknown

This was an unexpected turn, as I think we all (his students) believed that he would make it to 150, at least. Deep condolences to your son, Sky, and your wife, An Mai and the rest of your family.

Now, you live on in our hearts as you go to meet your next destination. I hope it will be a wonderful journey. And, that you can have chocolate there- as much as you please.


Spring Equinox Blessing:

Spring flowers, photo credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

From its winter sleep the earth is awoken,

The cycle of nature, true and unbroken.

The promise of spring, of life, a new start,

To fill you with faith in mind, body, and heart.

The perfect wheel of nature keeps spinning,

With proof that an ending is just the beginning.

Rejoice in this season may it fill you with peace.

And may the blessings of nature, for you, never cease.

Source (get it on a postcard!): Stephanie Laird


Energy Medicine for Daylight Savings Time-Spring Forward, Don't Get Sprung

Okay, so the government took the thunder out of this article by unilaterally declaring daylight savings will now be permanent. So, spoiler alert- the rest of this article will seem a little outdated now, but the information is still very good for those times when you feel befuddled, which I don’t think has been legislated, yet. They can change the times of the clock, but they can never change the signs of the times, nor how they are derived from nature. Which is a pretty lofty way of saying, “yea for Spring!” From blessed Imbolc to happy Ostara, let the sun begin. Have some qigong for cheer!

Every year, the subject comes up in my classes about dealing with energy imbalances around the uptick of spring, specifically around the loss of an hour during spring daylight savings time. Many people suffer a feeling of not being in synch or of being out of sorts during the week or two after the time change. The spring time change seems to have a more intense affect than the fall time change for a lot of people. I am re-posting part of an much earlier article that offers some help with that issue from the qigong perspective and a few others. It might not be a bad idea to think about making an appointment for a body rebalance with a qualified Medical Qigong, Reiki, or other energy healer to help support organ harmony and mental wellbeing. (Book online with Cyndi directly, or at Ha Le Integrative Health for a full service alternative healing experience).

"Turning the clocks ahead an hour in spring seems to affect me more, and longer, than changing the clocks in fall. It’s not just the loss of an hours sleep but I seem to be out of sync for a week or so." Bill F., student of Qigong and Taijiquan.

I have the same issue and until Bill asked, I really hadn't thought much about it- just endured it every year like a dog. I love "fall back" time, because it seems to me that that one hour of extra sleep does wonders-but spring forward-no thanks! Most sources I looked at talk about it taking around 3 days to a week to finally adjust to the change in time, giving symptoms that are comparable to jet lag. The slight change in timing apparently interrupts the circadian rhythm, described in Chinese medicine as the movement of Qi through the energetic body and organs in a natural progression through the body's energetic pathways, or meridians.

There are certain times of day that each organ is either strong or weak with Qi following a 24 hour cycle. Every two hours, one of 12 different organs has "high tide" or "low tide" of energy moving through it. Despite human conventions like clock time, that circulation stays the same, following natural night and day. Of course, we are acclimated to our sense of time, so when it changes suddenly, there is a kind of "hiccup". With the change in time, whether going through DST, or into another time zone geographically, it creates cognitive dissonance between the routine way the energy runs in the body- which influences sleeping and waking, among other things-and the new reality. This can cause mental confusion and manifest as fatigue or mental cloudiness until you finally adjust to the new condition.

Circadian clock from TCM
Image Credit: Dantian Health

The Chinese Medicine meridian (to the right), or horary, clock shows the flow of the meridians through the body in a 24 hour period. Also called the horary clock, it is a charting of the circadian rhythm, mapped to specific internal organs during their high tide times. If you find yourself awakening at a certain time during the night often, it can indicate an imbalance in the organ energy listed for that time frame. It could be a temporary situation, due to stress /illness, or it might point to a deeper pattern of disharmony that is either working its way out, or manifesting itself.

The struggle is real! Below are a few quick tips on how to recover yourself after daylight savings time:

1) Reversed Polarity technique:

A sign that reversed polarity is happening can be understood in the phrases, "I got up on the wrong side of the bed," or "I started off on the wrong foot," or being "out of sorts". In a word- discombobulated. If you are looking for an medical condition called reversed polarity, you will probably not find one, but almost everyone knows how it feels to be disoriented in this way- up seems down, right seems left, and everything seems way out of whack and hard to make sense of. Energetically, it is a flipping of the body's electromagnetic poles. Though the science is still being gathered on the condition, fixing it is relatively easy and quick. Most people I have shown this technique are amazed that it works within a few breaths or in a fairly short time.

2) Qigong Master Amy Williams- Meridian Sweep- cleansing and smoothing meridian circulation

These two Qigong exercises can also work well for jet lag. They restore a natural rhythm in the energy pathways that move throughout the body when they are disrupted by travel to different time zones or by the dissonance caused when our natural routine is altered, making activities seem out of sync with time.

Other suggestions:

3) Daylight Savings time does create problems that are real for many people, including fatigue from changing sleep patterns, muddle head, and even more serious concerns, like triggering depression and heart attacks for those prone. Suggestions for coping with the sluggishness produced by the change in time, according to the website, TimeandDate.com:

"Being tired can decrease productivity, concentration, and general well-being. There are some simple ways of making it easier to handle the clock change:

  • -Set your alarm to wake up a little earlier than usual on the Friday and Saturday before the DST switch. This makes it easier to get out of bed on Monday morning.

  • -Eat a healthy breakfast first thing. Food tells your body it is the start of the day.

  • -Go for a walk. Light, and especially sunlight, helps to adjust your body clock.

  • -Help your child adjust by putting him or her to bed (or yourself) a little bit earlier the week before the time change."

4) Acupressure to stimulate points along the meridians, provided by Dantian Health (here).

"By selecting the point that influences the organ at the right time according to the Chinese Medicine 24 hour meridian clock, known as its horary point, you can encourage the timing of the flow of Qi to reset itself." Dr. Jason Chong, "Daylight savings, Chinese Medicine, and Your Health"

See the full article for details of the technique

Image from Dr. Jason Chong's Dantian Health article

In the spring season, you may feel more irritated than usual, or become easier to anger, which are emotions that can become toxic if not processed well. An image of the agitation it takes for growth- the movement of a sprout from a seed, or a breaking out of confines is a good way to think about spring's energetic qualities. Frustration, anger, and agitation can be the result of this change oriented vitality budding from the "dead' of winter. It's not a bad idea to meditate on the qualities of kindness, forgiveness, and compassion as a tonic for liver energies coming on board during the spring, to take initiative of understanding your anger and moving through it with as much grace as possible.

The types of disharmonies I've discussed here can also happen during or around the peak transformations between seasons, like the equinoxes or solstices, as the Earth works to absorb the new season coming in and the old moving on. This can create discord in the spleen and stomach organ system, too, so your digestion may be a little sensitive during these changes. You may have a tendency to have more obsessive thinking or be "up in your head" with more worry, and that of course makes it even harder on the digestive system to operate evenly. So take care with your eating habits- what you nourish yourself with, including what your read and take in from the world. Counter ruminating or concentrating intellectually with movement. Take your time eating, eat regularly, stay hydrated, chew well, and of course, try to get plenty of rest. The spleen organ is thought to be tonified by warm foods that you can enjoy at regular, balanced intervals- not too little, and not too much. The Earth element is all about balancing all the other elements (it's the golden mean, or the yellow middle) so that harmony and health can be manifest in body, mind, and spirit.

I hope you find one of more of these techniques to be useful!

Blessings to you and yours-


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