The Shen Mind Connection

Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at things differently and while it may be a little confusing, there is usually some common ground that can be found upon examination and explanation. One such area is the idea of the mind. The mind in Traditional Chinese Medicine is commonly referred to as the shen. continue reading »

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30 Days of ThanksGIVING

A fellow North Shore mom inspired me to make November a month of ThanksGIVING by performing a daily random act of kindness. Help me spread love, light and kindness one small gesture at a time. Perform a random act of kindness, share your act on Northshore Acupuncture’s 30 days of GIVING FB post, and get one entry into a raffle for a free acupuncture treatment with each post (limit one entry per person per day). One winner will be selected for November 1-10th posts; one for 11th-20th; and one for 21st-30th. Need inspiration? 

Here are some ideas:

  1. Call or write a letter to someone thanking them for the impact they’ve had on your life.
  2. Rake leaves for someone.
  3. Take out the garbage for someone.
  4. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
  5. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  6. Shop locally for holiday gifts.
  7. Get your coffee or lunch at Curt’s Café instead of a chain restaurant or coffee shop.
  8. Donate cat/dog food, cat litter, old towels/blankets to CARE.
  9. Babysit for a friend.
  10. Drive a veteran to a doctor’s appointment. You can volunteer through the Department of Veterans Affairs Transportation Network.
  11. Volunteer at a local Stand Downs event for veterans(11/16 in Chicago). Stand Downs is typically a 1-3 day event providing supplies and services to homeless Veterans, such as food, shelter, clothing, and health screening.
  12. Send letters of appreciation and/or care packages to troops, first responders and veterans through Operation Gratitude.
  13. Go to a nursing home or senior center and see how you can help provide email, social media, cell phone or video call assistance.
  14. Arrange to pick up coats, gloves, hats from neighbors and deliver to a coat drive.
  15. Review a small business on Facebook, Google or Yelp.
  16. Write a letter/send an email or talk to a manager to acknowledge someone for good service.
  17. Call an old friend.
  18. Pick up garbage along the roadside or in a park.
  19. Volunteer at a Fill a Heart 4 Kids event.
  20. Let someone go in front of you in line.
  21. Give blood.
  22. Spend time getting to know someone you don’t know very well.
  23. Have a food drive in your neighborhood and donate canned goods to local food pantry.
  24. Drop off extra disinfectant wipes and boxes of Kleenex at the teacher’s lounge.
  25. Walk or ride your bike instead of driving somewhere.
  26. Gift an inspirational book.
  27. Leave quarters at the laundromat.
  28. Write a positive comment on a blog or social media post you enjoyed.
  29. Leave a generous tip.
  30. Eat vegetarian for a day.
  31. Give a friendly smile of support/encouragement to a parent whose kid is melting down – tell him/her “You’ve got this or we’ve all been there”. Offer help (not advice).
  32. Leave hand warmers and a thank you note for your mail carrier.
  33. Drop off snacks at the local fire department. (Or grocery store/ice cream shop gift cards to cover the next ice cream run.)
  34. Attend a benefit for a local nonprofit – the dessert gala for the Floured Apron on 11/1, the Taste of the Town benefit for the Zacharias Center on 11/6, or the Tailgating event to benefit the Center for Independent Futures on 11/18, and/or the Champagne Grand Tasting on 11/30 (event cost to benefit Curt’s Café).
  35. Spend a half day helping with laundry at Misericordia or with the holiday baking and shipping.
  36. Let someone merge in front of you on the highway.
  37. Smile and say hello to people you don’t know.
  38. Register to be an organ donor. Sign up for the bone marrow registry.
  39. VOTE!! Offer rides to help others get to the polls on 11/6.
  40. Help with canvassing or phone banks for candidates whom you support. Here are links for Lauren Underwood , Sean Casten. Want to volunteer from home? Help make calls for Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. Any canvassing or phone bank work regardless of candidate counts towards the raffle, but if you want to canvas for their opponents, you’ll have to look it up yourself =)
  41. Check in with someone who experienced a significant loss to see how they are doing. Typically people receive a lot of support in the first few weeks and then support subsides.
  42. Call or text someone when you see/hear something that reminds you of them – a song on the radio, a place you used to go,
  43. Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
  44. Put your phone away while spending time with family and friends.
  45. Not screaming at your kids for leaving an empty toilet roll or overflowing the garbage can instead of taking the garbage out.
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Putting My Oxygen Mask on First – Living Your Values

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King

I’m struggling to live my values and beliefs. I say I believe only love and light can drive out hate…but I am having a hard time getting past the hate and anger I feel towards Republican leaders for not holding Trump accountable, for not supporting tighter regulations to prevent gun violence while accepting significant donations from the NRA, for targeting Medicare, Medicaid, insurance coverage while passing tax breaks for the rich, for their handling of the Kavanaugh hearings. This is also challenging my belief that everyone is a good person at heart and wants to do the right thing.

I feel the need to take action – but I don’t want to take action grounded in feelings of anger and hatred. So I’m meditating and chanting  A LOT…and then I worry that meditating and praying for compassion, peace and love isn’t enough. Sending our prayers for the victims hasn’t stopped future tragedies. But taking action grounded in feelings of anger and hatred just strengthens the divide.

And so I will continue to try to observe my anger and hatred without judgement because trying to resist or deny those feelings have only caused them to be more entrenched. But I will do that by fully FEELING the emotions as they come up instead of rehashing and THINKING about the actions that inspired the feelings.

And I won’t wait for those feelings to go  away before taking action – I will vote and support youth led organizations like Never Again MSD and take actions to support the election of candidates whose platforms are in alignment with my values and stay involved in local nonprofits. And I will try to listen and understand the perspective of people with different beliefs and values than me as I discussed in last week’s Putting My Oxygen Mask on First. But I will continuously evaluate my motivations to make sure I’m taking action that adds light and love to the world instead of furthering the divide.

And if you observe me taking an action that may be driven from hatred and anger, please lovingly bring that to my attention.

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible- and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:13

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Putting My Oxygen Mask on First – Listen First

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that telling my kids what to do, think or believe gets consistent results –  NO RESULTS (or worse negative results). It is consistently ignored and leaves me (and my kids) feeling frustrated and drained. And really teens aren’t any different than the rest of us. When was the last time that you did something or changed your view/beliefs based on someone telling you to?

In the current political climate, I am observing a lot of people (including myself), telling others they are wrong and what they should think/value/believe. But I only occasionally observe anyone truly listening and trying to understand the other person’s perspective and experience. The other day, my son shared that his philosophy is that all people are basically good and want to do the right thing. If I believe that too, then I should live that belief by taking time to understand how another person’s life experiences has brought them to a different belief/value/world view. I will learn something. My own  blind spots and limiting beliefs may be exposed.  And after I’ve confirmed I understand the other person’s perspective and they’ve felt heard, maybe they will be curious to learn about my life experiences and perspective and perhaps even make a minor shift of their own. But if they aren’t, at least they will feel heard and valued – and that is a much better result than you get telling someone what to think/do.

Part of self care is realizing where you are spending your energy, what actions you are taking that leave you feeling drained or negative and reflecting on whether you can change your approach to preserve your energy and peace. I love that so many of us are taking action to make change. But please take a minute today to observe how you feel after a day of action – and if it’s not uplifted and hopeful, then consider whether it’s time to adjust your approach.

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Physical Aspects Related to The Lungs

In the world of Traditional Chinese medicine, the lung is probably the organ whose TCM functions overlap the most with its Western functions. Respiration, the immune system and the skin are all systems heavily influenced by the lung, both in acupuncture and in Western medicine. continue reading »

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