Teaching at UCONN

What Is Most Important?

Anna Quindlen

“Here is what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you would care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon or found a lump in your breast?”‘…Anna Quindlen

How is it that it requires an illness or incurable disease to remind us of what is most important?

Everyone who has ever been given a negative diagnosis by a doctor will tell you that, the moment they were told, they immediately realized nothing was more important than their health. At that moment everything else just disappeared because nothing else really mattered.

What would our life be like if we never forgot how important our health is without having to be reminded by a serious medical condition or an incurable disease that would only enable us to live for a short period of time?

Are We Grotesque?

“Nature is busy creating absolutely unique individuals, whereas society has invented a single mold to which all must conform. It is grotesque”… Krishnamurti

The word “grotesque” in our dictionary means “distorted”. Krishnamurti tells us that we are “grotesque” because we have been “distorted” psychologically, not physically, and that prevents us from functioning mentally and emotionally according to our nature. Our nature is another word for our Essence, who we really are.

Who is the society that has made us “grotesque?” Is it our parents, relatives, bothers, sisters, teachers, friends? Are they the ones who either made us or are trying to keep us in a “grotesque” condition?

Do we know that we are “grotesque?” Do we realize that if we continue to believe what others tell us about ourselves we will remain that way and never find out who we really are?

Perhaps it is time for us to jump out of the mold others have created for us. However, that may not be enough. We may have to break that mold so we will never be tempted to slip back into it again.

The CCMT Interview

Below is a recent interview segment I participated in for the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy (CCMT):
How did you become interested and when did you start to study Chinese Medicine?

“An injury that I first thought to be unfortunate later became the impetus for a fortunate change in the direction of my life. It was an injury to my shoulder that sent me to a Chinese doctor who restored the use of my arm that had previously become rigid and immobile. Afterwards, I discovered that what he did was only a part of a larger system of maintaining health and healing called Traditional Chinese Medicine. My wish to learn more about it led to my finding the wise woman who became my guide through the principles of TCM for nine years.

How did you come to CCMT and how long have you been an instructor with CCMT?

“When I realized that what the wise woman gave to me was to also be given to others I searched for the best school that could prepare me for licensure as a body-worker giving Massage and Acupressure. After graduating from CCMT I returned to teach and have been doing so for fifteen years”.

Outside of teaching at CCMT do you have a private practice where you see clients? What type of service do you offer them?

“I maintain a private practice integrating Massage, Acupressure and Therapeutic Touch. I also write and lecture on the principles of TCM and its Way of Life throughout CT, NY, NJ and PA.

I have heard you have written a book based on TCM. Can you tell me more about your book and what it is about?

“The book is titled…A Medicine from Spirit. It was written at the request of my wife, my students and those attending my lectures. All of them wanted a book on TCM written in a way that is similar to how I teach my Acupressure courses. The book is an introduction to the principles of TCM and its foundation in Spirit”.

Besides being an amazing instructor and practitioner, what other hobbies do you like to do when you are not working?

People have hobbies that allow them to do what they love to do because it is a change from the work they have to do to earn a living. However, my work is what I love to do so one can say my hobby is researching the effects of Acupressure on mental, emotional and physical health. My current research is now focusing on the seven emotions and how their energies can, through the use of the Five Element Symbol and Acupressure, be transformed to support our health instead of contributing to our disease”.

Are We In The Driver’s Seat?

Each time I get into my car and sit in the driver’s seat I am reminded of how I also believe that I am in the driver’s seat for my life and that I determine where I will go and what I will do during my life. When a thought comes to mind that tells me it may not be so, fear makes its appearance. When that occurs, I ask myself this question…

“Who is it in me that is so terrified of not being in control of my life?”

That question is always followed by another question…

“If I am not in the driver’s seat controlling my life, who or what is?”

This question is often the antidote that disperses the fear which always accompanies the thought that I am not in control. It disperses it because it gives me a new way of thinking about my life. One that says to me…

“Maybe I was created for a purpose that I did not choose and as long as I hold on to the belief that I am in the driver’s seat of my life, I will never know what that purpose is. Not knowing what my purpose is will prevent me from fulfilling my destiny, resulting in my never knowing who I am or experiencing the joy that comes from it.

(Look carefully at the sign in the above image. It may be telling us that we can only know the road ahead for only a few miles and that it is not a straight road because it has many curves in it. We may believe those curves only delay us and interfere with where we want to go. Can it be that those curves are the next steps we must take to fulfill our destiny that is being guided by an unseen hand?)

Weekly Thoughts – The Dual Nature of Our Body’s Blood

Reed Blood Cells

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me”….Hermann Hesse

We may think our blood only nourishes our body. However, Hermann Hesse tells us that it also teaches us. And what it has to teach us is the truth.

In Chinese Medicine everything in life is a duality and therefore blood is as well. Blood’s nature is Yin feminine and since Yin gave us life, and nourishes and nurtures this life, it can also teach us. What it teaches comes from the inherent wisdom that Yin’s feminine possesses and Yang’s masculine does not. This may be what Hesse is telling us in the quote above.

Are we listening to the teaching our blood whispers to us from within?

Is it possible to hear and then listen to our blood when it speaks to us through those intuitive feelings that we experience? Those feelings may come from our blood.

Perhaps if we were more quiescent during the day we can hear it calling to us. If we choose to listen, we may be given the guidance we need to live our life in a way that does not go against the Way of Life and in doing so, find contentment. Then we may not seek so much to learn everything from external sources and instead, learn the truth from the blood that lies within us.

Weekly Thoughts – Insightful Words from T.S. Eliot


“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Do we understand that experiencing something new is not only doing what we have never done before? Do we know that it is also seeing what is familiar in a new way? Perhaps we get bored, lose interest in our work, where we live, other people and the things we do because we continue to look at what is familiar in the same way instead of seeing those things and in doing so, know them for the first time. This may be why many are so discontented and why relationships and marriages fail so often today. Maybe we lose interest in others because we do not often see them for the first time. Perhaps we have to begin to see ourselves for the first time and arrive where we started so we can know ourselves. Only then will we be able to see and experience everything else for the first time and know them as well.

Weekly Thoughts – Being Alone

Being Alone

Alone is a word often associated with the word lonely. However, lonely means isolated and sad, whereas the word alone means unique and unlike anyone else.

Being alone requires silence and Rumi speaks of the importance of silence when he said…”Let silence take you to the core of life.” The core that is the center of energy that gave and maintains our life.

Since the core of anything is its source and silence is the path to it, we need to ask ourselves this question…”Are we ever silent?”

If not, could it be because we are afraid to be alone? Perhaps we do not know that being alone is the first step to finding the silence that can take us to the core of who we really are…the core of ourselves where we can experience joy, instead of the isolating loneliness of sadness.

Weekly Thoughts – A Sense of Wonder

“A child’s world is fresh, new, beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout their life.”
…Rachel Carson

After reading this I realized I need to find out how to reclaim the sense of wonder I had as a child instead of being an adult who is always seeking an experience of something new.

Weekly Thoughts – The Movement of Fear

Some time ago a student asked me a question about Fear and said…

“I know the Kidneys are distressed by the emotion of Fear and the Kidneys’ channel of energy moves up through the inside of my leg. However, when I experienced a sudden strong feeling of Fear I felt an instantaneous movement of energy going down my leg into my big toe. It moved along the Kidney channel but it was going in the opposite direction. Why did the energy reverse its directional flow and why did it end on my big toe which is the beginning of the Liver’s channel of energy”?

My response was as follows..

“The emotion of Fear causes energy to descend within the body. Since the Kidneys correspond with Fear and with Water that always seeks the lowest level, this may be one reason why the energy in your Kidney channel that normally moves up your leg when it is in harmony, reversed itself and moved down. TCM calls this disharmonious movement of energy a counterflow. In this instance I suspect it was your Fear that initiated this movement in the opposite direction. You may have experienced the ending of that counterflow of Kidney energy in your big toe because the beginning of the Kidney channel is not far from your big toe where the Liver channel begins. It is possible that the counterflow of energy in the Kidney channel also affected the energy at the beginning of the Liver channel due to its proximity. It also suggests that Kidney’s Water being the mother of its Wood Liver child (on the Five Element Symbol) also contributed to this feeling of energy entering your big toe. Since Water is the mother of Wood, a Kidney mother can effect her Liver child just as a mother in disharmony can effect her child as well.

My former student, now a colleague, was able to ask this question because she observed herself in her present moment when the experience of Fear occurred. The only moment when Fear makes its appearance. Perhaps we may understand more about the emotion of Fear if we also observe ourselves in our present moments. Those moments we do not often experience.

Weekly Thoughts – What is Real in Each of Us

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
…Friedrich Nietzsche
Although there is much wisdom in Nietzsche’s quote, had it come from me, I would have eliminated the words “lonely often” and in their place substituted the words “sometimes alone” which is very different from being “lonely.” I would also have written that the one who is “alone” finds others who are also “alone.” By this I mean individuals who wish to “be who they are” find others who also wish to “be who they are.”
That is my definition of being “alone” because when one wishes to “be who they are” they are “alone.” That means they are unlike any other person in the world. When people who are “alone” get together they are not “lonely” because they can share what is “real” in each of them.

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