Reflections on Balanced Living

Last week was Spring Break here in Clarke County and my family took a trip down to the beautiful Georgia coast.  When we were preparing for the trip, folks looked at us funny and followed with comments like "you just started a business and you're already taking a vacation?", or "aren't you freaked out to leave your business for a week?"  The answer to both of those questions was "yes".

was nervous to leave the business for a week.  We had good solid momentum coming off the opening and our first month has seen a lot of growth.  But Jana and I had been working really hard for months before opening to lay a strong foundation for Thrive Integrative Medicine.  We needed a break if we wanted to keep pouring ourselves, heart and soul, into what we feel like is a resource for this community.  This illustrates a very important point in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Before I get specific, y'all should know that, though TCM is extremely complex and subtle when one is practicing as a health-care provider, it is equally simple and practically applicable when it comes to health and lifestyle guidelines for everyday life.  This fact is part of what makes an understanding of TCM concepts relevant to everyone.  With that in mind, I will be posting regularly on ways to make use of this practical everyday wisdom.

hinese Medicine, at its literal foundation, is a study of balance.  Again, as practitioners, we are operating within complex diagnostic matrices.  The practical application of balance, however, the one that each of us is responsible for in our daily lives, can be viewed thusly: we should seek balance in work and play, in sleeping and waking, in activity and rest, in consuming and abstaining, etc.

 Appropriate balance for each of us will vary depending on a number of factors.  When we are tired and worn down, we need more rest, more sleep, a cleaner dietary intake.  When we are feeling strong and healthy, we may gravitate toward more activity.  In the winter, we will require more sleep, in the summer, less.  These are but a few examples.  While there are clear guidelines, there are no hard and fast rules.  Each of us has the opportunity to look at our lives and assess what factors need balancing to bring us back into a harmonious state. This opportunity, if taken, is truly a gift.  

ow does one determine what this 'harmonious state' feels like to begin with? That is a great question!  We HAVE to start where we are.  Patients often come in with statements like "I want more energy.  I'm tired all the time".  There are many ways TCM can help boost energy and vitality, but before we begin our diagnostic process, I first like to check in with the patient and find out if there isn't simply a very good reason for being tired.  We live very busy lives and are rarely encouraged to rest and recharge.  Even our limited vacation times are often spent trying to 'make up for lost time', cramming as many activities into our time off as possible.  OF COURSE we're tired!

here are those folks out there that might claim remedies for fatigue, providing boundless energy with special concoctions.  These concoctions or prescriptions might work for a while, but in the end there will be a price that must be paid.  Like getting a higher limit on one's credit card that allows for more spending, no one is going to erase the debt for you.  Taking stock of where we are, how we got there, and what a sane way might be to recoup is a great place to start the process of living the lives we envision for ourselves.

said before that this opportunity to assess where we stand in relationship to our health goals and how we got to that place, is a gift.  What does that mean?  The opportunity is one in which we build a richer, more coherent relationship with ourselves.  Each of us takes on a deeper level of responsibility for our own well-being.  And no one will ever care as much about your health and wellness as you will.  

he ancient Greek adage "Know Thyself" is not just a cute saying.  It is actually a guidepost for a profound way to live.  These two words can inspire an incredible transformation in our relationships, in our health, and can even guide us toward spiritual enlightenment.

e had a great time at the beach.  We rode bikes all over the island, played in the park, laughed, ate ice cream.  There may have even been a nap or two in there somewhere.  We took a moment away from the intensity of life as business owners and practitioners.  We took a moment to be a family.  We took a moment for balance.