Last week, millions of Oregonians (and international travelers) experienced an awe-inspiring solar eclipse. This celestial event symbolized major cultural significance: a massive desire to connect with the cosmos. For so many of us, we feel the world changing and recognize that we must transition to a globally sustainable, conscious, and regenerative culture. As ancient Chinese wisdom has portrayed, nature is constantly changing and transforming. The ability to align ourselves with transitions ultimately determines how we will thrive in this constantly changing world, and now more than ever, our world needs its inhabitants to find ways to make these transitions in harmony with nature.
The people who will need the most guidance in this process are our precious youth. As a parent, the title of this article runs through my head every day; for it is the most important priority of my life and one that I in fact need support with as well. I feel, however, that deep inside of all of us, the solutions are present. We may not know how exactly our lives will change with the seasons and climate, but if we can stay connected to our core selves, our selves that are rooted deep in nature’s wisdom, then we will be prepared for the unexpected. Taoist philosophy comforts us with the assurance that we are meant to align ourselves with the way of the universe and nature as our ancestors had, which is the core of Chinese medicine.
My focus as a Chinese medical practitioner is to help guide my patients, especially the vulnerable yet malleable, growing youth, into inner-alignment with their natural self-healing capabilities. Whether points are stimulated by needles, tapping, brushing, moxa (warming mugwort), or tuina (Chinese massage), patients feel more in tune with their body’s inner workings and feel the qi, or life force, move within. Inner connection is crucial early in life for healthy growth to occur. This leads to a balanced, conscious adulthood, and our nation’s youth will need to have all the inner resources they can get to be leaders and beneficial decision-makers of our intense global future.
Ancient Chinese wisdom conveys the cycles of life through the Five elements and their relations with each other. I relate 5 qualities that need to be cultivated in our youth during these challenging, changing times through these elements, specifically: 1. Reverence (Metal), 2. Adaptation (Water), 3. Vision (Wood), 4. Live Connectivity (Fire), and 5. Self-security (Earth).
Children develop from birth according to these stages, in relation to the organs associated with the elements as well as their natural development. After birth, babies take their first breath into their lungs and release their first bowel movement through the large intestine, the organs related to the metal element concept of bringing in and letting go. Cultivating reverence and appreciation for the world we were born into helps us remember how we are all part of the inevitable process of birth and death. This helps us transition smoothly into the next stage of our lives and a new world while letting go of old ways that don’t serve us. From infancy to 2 years old, babies must adapt and flow with their body and brain development, just like a river, which never tries to work against nature. From 3 to 7 years old, children can use abstract thinking to visualize what they want and need. This is also a period of rapid growth, and with any growth, conscious vision must be used for a prosperous outcome. From 8 to 12, children can communicate and interact with more experience and comfort while expressing their heart-felt passions to those around them. From teenage years to adulthood, security within oneself is crucial for the ability to be independent and responsible.
We can all reflect on and learn from these stages of development in our own personal transitions. I have found balance within from aligning myself with whatever situation arises in my family and community. I’ve allowed the feelings of grief, fear, anger, joy, and worry to be fully experienced, accepted, and dealt with in the most resourceful and connective ways possible. As a global society and within our own communities and families, we can welcome in all transitions and the feelings they invoke by incorporating the wisdom of Chinese medicine into our choices and lifestyles.
- Eleyah Knight, L.Ac, is now seeing patients at Community Acupuncture + Natural Health. You can schedule online or call 541-301-7040.