Suffering Makes Us Human

This article explores the possibility that suffering, instead of being something negative, can be one of the greatest gifts to bring out one’s humanity—if we allow it to be. The key is to learn to cultivate patience and presence with the experience, and in this way learn and receive the gifts that come from the suffering.  For every illness, every pain, is a blessing—it is a gift that can teach us, that can help us to grow as individuals.  Often it is only by being present with our suffering that our deepest humanity can be revealed.

Published in Acupuncture Today, available here.

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Medicine as Metaphor

Abstract
The practice of medicine is both an art and a science.  We study and learn the system so that when the time comes to apply it there is a greater possibility of successfully helping others.  Yet no matter how much one studies, no matter how well one knows the science of any given medical system, there always remain aspects that are unknown and unknowable.  The individuated human being that stands before us as a patient is a unique, dynamic, and multidimensional entity that is equal parts mystery and revelation.  They are an impermanent, ever-changing field of paradox and complexity, influenced by their history and experience yet always capable of experiencing freedom from the tyranny of the past.

Recently published in Acupuncture Today: The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine News Source. (2015). Volume 16 (8).
http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=33061

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Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness

Abstract
This article examines the impact of trauma on the individual’s ability to heal, transform, and evolve.  It explores these issues using the dual lenses of Western and Eastern medical perspectives—specifically, the Western understanding of the autonomic nervous system, and the relationship of this perspective to the Eastern understanding of the importance of the spirit being ‘grounded’ within the physical space of the body.  The article then goes on to explore methods that can be used by patient and practitioner alike to cultivate mindfulness, presence, and deeper levels of healing and transformation.

This article has been published in two parts in  Acupuncture Today, in early 2015. 

Part 1: Available here
Part 2: Available here 

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Shifting Perspective: Trauma, Storytelling, and Healing

The stories we create around traumatic experiences serve many functions, and it is often through first establishing and then manipulating a story that one can find and realize greater levels of healing.  This is a means of becoming more whole within oneself and at peace with one’s experience—allowing past traumas to integrate smoothly with one’s experience of the present, without letting it define who one is.  The ability to manipulate and change our stories has the capacity both to engender a fundamental change in one’s perspective as well as to solidify or concretize one’s perspective and self-image.  When changing the story changes one’s perspective, it has the ability to transform how one stands in relationship to oneself and to past traumas, and therefore to transform one’s experience of the present….See More

This article has been accepted for publication and will appear in the forthcoming issue of The Lantern: A Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (www.thelantern.com.au).

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The Natural State: Daoist and Chinese Medical Views

Abstract
This article examines the concept of ‘the natural state’—an experiential state of being in the world that is said to be an innate potential accessible to all humans and is a central concept present in the traditions of both acupuncture/Chinese medicine and Daoism. This article first explores the characteristics of the natural state, and then examines what it means for an individual to gravitate towards accessing this potential. This discussion forms a general background to then examine the relationship of the natural state to various conceptions of health in acupuncture and Chinese medicine—to investigate the similarities and differences between the religio-spiritual aspects and the medical aspects. The primary purpose of this article is to explore the way in which this spiritual and philosophical concept of the natural state has similarities to the understanding of what it means to be healthy and what it means to be human in acupuncture and Chinese medical philosophy, as well as to see where the medical and philosophical-spiritual perspectives differ.

Published in The Lantern: A Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (2014). Volume 11 (3): p. 31-41. www.thelantern.com.au.  Click here for the full article: The Natural State

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Pairing the Extraordinary Vessels with the Primary Acupuncture Channels and Zangfu, Part 2

Abstract
This article continues exploring a theoretical acupuncture model that pairs the extraordinary vessels with the primary acupuncture channels and zangfu in a one-to-one correspondence.  Specifically, this article examines the three pairs of primary acupuncture channels and zangfu that correspond to the second half of the horary clock (Bladder-Kidneys; Pericardium-San Jiao; Gall Bladder-Liver, corresponding to the time period from 3pm-3am) and their relationship to three of the extraordinary vessels: qiao mai, wei mai, and dai mai, respectively.  After examining the correspondences between these extraordinary channels and the primary acupuncture channels, the relationship of both acupuncture systems to the processes of the horizontal axis and transcendence is explored.
Full Text Here                           Download PDF Here

First published in Chinese Medicine Times (2012), Volume 7 (1).

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Pairing the Extraordinary Vessels with the Primary Acupuncture Channels and Zangfu, Part 1

Abstract
This article is an exploration of correspondences between the extraordinary vessels and the primary channels and zangfu, and posits that there may exist a direct relationship between them.  This is the next segment of an emerging theoretical model (Extraordinary Chinese Medicine) that examines the foundational place of the extraordinary vessels within the channel and organ systems, as well as the possible relationships of the extraordinary vessels and the extraordinary fu to the evolution of consciousness and Daoist cosmology.
Full Text Here                 Download PDF Here

First published in Chinese Medicine Times (2011), Volume 6 (3).

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Pairing the Extraordinary Vessels and the Extraordinary Organs, Part 2: The Ying Qi Cycle and the Evolution of Consciousness

Abstract
In this article, the ying qi cycle is used to examine the way in which the paired extraordinary vessels and extraordinary organs may relate to the evolution of consciousness and the art of humanity in acupuncture theory and practice. This investigation is a coalescence of two previous articles—one which examined the way in which the diurnal unfoldment of the extraordinary vessels (following the ying qi cycle) may have a relation to the evolution of consciousness (CJOM, Fall/Winter 2009), and one which proposed a theoretical model in which the extraordinary vessels and the extraordinary organs are paired together in a one-to-one correspondence, similar to the manner in which the viscera and bowels and primary channels are paired together in acupuncture practice (Chinese Medicine Times, February 2010).
Full Text Here                             PDF Here

First published in Chinese Medicine Times (2010), Volume 5 (2).

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Pairing the Extraordinary Vessels and the Extraordinary Organs

Abstract
This article presents a theoretical acupuncture model that pairs the extraordinary organs with the extraordinary vessels, similar to the way in which the zangfu are paired with the primary channels. First, the ren, chong, and du mai are paired with the Uterus, Blood Vessels, and Brain, respectively, using the perspective of the three dantian and the three treasures. This discussion suggests that the du mai may be seen as the Sea of Shen, thereby helping to resolve why both the Heart and the Brain have been said to be the residence of the shen in the history of Chinese medicine. Secondly, the qiao mai, wei mai, and dai mai are paired with the Marrow, Bones, and Gall Bladder, respectively, by looking at certain functional and relational correspondences between them. It is my hope that through exploring these pairings, this acupuncture model will allow for a deeper integration of these somewhat otherwise disparate aspects of acupuncture and oriental medicine theory and practice.
Full Text Here                        Download PDF Here

First published in Chinese Medicine Times (2010), Volume 5 (1).

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Vertical and Horizontal Integration: The dynamic flow of qi at the level of humanity

Abstract
The vertical and horizontal axes are reflected in many aspects of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  At one level, the vertical axis of integration is mirrored by the three dantian—the Heavenly qi of the upper dantian meets the Earthly qi of the lower dantian at the middle dantian.  The expansion outward from (and return to) this central core is representative of horizontal integration.  These axes are also seen in the pulses, the dynamic flow of qi (ascending-descending, entering-exiting), the Fire element, the extraordinary vessels and organs, and the concepts of pre-heaven and post-heaven.  In this article I explore the concepts and interrelation of vertical and horizontal integration, some of their correspondences within acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and the ways in which they relate to experiential awareness and the evolution of consciousness.
Full Text Here            Download PDF Here

This article appeared in The Lantern: A Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (2010). Volume 7 (2), p.23-27.

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