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Cultivating Energy and Energetic Awareness

Written by Dr. Julianna Englund, ND, LAc

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 Cultivating Energy and Energetic Awareness

I remember the first time I was introduced to the theory of Chinese medicine… I was 21 years old and living in Maui. I went to Maui trying to find myself. 

Countless blissful days surfing those warm waves and camping under the brilliant star-lit skies woke me up a little. Something began to stir. I felt so connected to that land. And I felt, what’s the word, alive.  

I began to learn about whole food nutrition and enrolled in an herbal medicine making course. One of the teachers was an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist. Something in me perked up then. Learning herbal medicine and the energies of those plants felt like I was Home. 

Countless hiking and herbal collecting trips later and I was hooked on Chinese medicine. I spent a lot of time with that master and began to study Chinese medical theory on my own.  What grabbed me most was this idea that in Chinese medicine, the human body isn’t just networks of lymph, blood and nerve channels. This medicine, born thousands of years ago (the first medical text was written around 3000 B.C.), also discovered pathways that carry Qi (pronounced “chee”; aka energy).  

The Qi pathways of the body are called “meridians”. There are meridians that came into form when each of us was conceived (the "12 regular meridians") and each of these meridians linked with an organ pair. For our lifetimes, these pathways and organs carry emotions, memories and resonate with specific colors, seasons, foods, flowers/plants, spiritual potentials and even divine energies.  And through these pathways, our bodies are interconnected with the rest of nature, with the harmonic natural order that is Tao.  

You see, our bodies are not reduced physical forms of unrelated emotions and physical sensations/ailments. According to Taoism, the philosophy upon which Chinese medicine was born, human beings are One: Body, Mind and Soul. And Human beings, of Body-Mind-Soul, and Nature are One. Our minds' egos might lend us to believe that we are alone and separate from one another and our environment. However, we are not alone, for we are part of the Whole.  

With the practice of qigong meditation, Chinese medicine reminds us that through our interconnectedness with nature (ruled by the seasons), we can tap into the natural rhythms of our bodies and stay balanced. By realizing and then staying conscious of our inner environment and our Nature-connection, we can nourish ourselves to attune our health and realize the lightness that comes from our qi flowing freely. We can Know optimal health radiance. 

There are many ways to get there. But the first step is to stop the mental chatter, slow down and practice letting stillness fill your experience. Qigong practices teach us how to reign in our minds and let stillness guide our movements to energize our meridian systems and clear the “muddy qi”. From this place, no longer are we ever alone nor are we ever reduced to parts. Our bodies can feel light as air and our health can flourish. 

This picture doesn’t show the specific meridians. We can discover those more together in my qigong classes and future posts. However, this picture does show the One birthright that belongs to us all: mind and heart connected, hands glowing with transmission, energy empowered and healing radiates from within. It is such a blessing to be a human! We are all born with the inherent ability to feel the Qi. So take time to listen. “The way to Do is the Be”.