The Importance of Inspired Creativity
To be inspired is to be filled—on the most basic level—with BREATH.
Breath, also known as ‘Chi’ or ‘Life Force,’ is our foundation for CREATIVITY because it’s the dynamic that gives us the gift of Life; a gift because it’s given again and again and again, whether we remember to breathe or not.
At BIOM, we intentionally take time to focus our CREATIVE ENERGY in a way that enables our personal CREATIVITY to flow.
And since Spring is the prime season of the year for new growth, we took the opportunity to enjoy three relaxing days on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada learning and experiencing Saori Weaving with Terri Bibby.
We stayed in Terri’s wonderfully furnished Honeysuckle Cottage in the woods—surrounded by fir, madrona, maple, and lots of birds ... one of them a large pileated woodpecker who was a wonderfully melodious drummer.
It was a pleasure learning to weave—the SAORI way—from Terri; her soft, warm, color-filled studio is a place where thoughts become translucent ... enabling CREATIVITY to emerge and become woven into fabric and Consciousness ...
We’ll have more to say about the importance of the creative process in a person’s life, and how expressing creativity affects health and well-being.
Improve Your Digestion in Springtime
It’s Spring ... a great time to focus on improving your digestion; and a healthy digestive system can improve your overall health.
Spring is the season of ‘Wood’ energy. The Wood Element according to the Five Element Theory of Oriental Medicine is what powers your Liver and Gallbladder.
When the energy or Chi of an organ becomes imbalanced it’s normal to experience health issues, ranging from minor to significant, depending on your general health. In Spring these symptoms or discomforts tend to be associated with the Liver and Gallbladder.
Digestive Problems in Spring
A major complaint during the Spring involves problems with digestion.
The Liver and Gallbladder affect the strength and health of your digestive system throughout the year, but because Spring is the time when these organs are most active energetically, it’s also the time when people who have chronic digestive issues tend to have more complaints.
Spring is also the time when people who don’t normally have digestive issues start to experience digestive discomforts.
Your Digestive System
(Click for larger image)
So what kind of digestive issues are most common in Spring?
These would include discomforts in the upper digestive system like:
- Stomach ailments.
- Heart burn.
- Pain in the Gallbladder area of the abdomen.
Liver and Gallbladder imbalances can also affect the intestines.
Common discomforts affecting the intestines include: diarrhea and constipation.
Relieving Liver and Gallbladder Discomfort
There are some simple things you can do to get relief from poor digestion, while strengthening your digestive system at the same time.
Adjust Your Diet
There are a few simple and tasty things you can do with food to boost the health of your Liver and Gallbladder.
Manage Your Stress
Be aware that stress affects the Liver and Gallbladder foremost. They’re the organs that capture the initial brunt of stress in your body. Then the stress can go on to affect other parts of the body, but the Liver and Gallbladder are where stress hits first.
Things I suggest to manage stress include:
- Deep breathing.
- Chi Kung.
- Chinese medicinal herbs.
(There are other ways to reduce and manage stress, but this is what I do and suggest to others.)
Get Some Rest
It’s very important to find time to rest in Spring to not feel burned out. This can be a challenge because—like the trees and plants around us that are budding and blooming—we also want to express ourselves now that Winter has passed.
Try to make sure your sleep is as uninterrupted and restful as possible.
If you suffer from insomnia, another symptom associated with an out-of-balance Liver and Gallbladder, acupuncture treatments and Chinese medicinal herbs can help.
Try to take a few minutes each day to settle down and turn your attention away from your work day activities and take a few, slow deep breaths.
Some people find it beneficial to set an hourly ‘alert’ on their computer calendar to remind them each hour to stop and take a few slow, deep breaths.
The important thing is to break up the momentum of the day to avoid the build up of stress that you can’t see, taste, or smell as it’s building up in your body. We only tend to recognize stress once it’s done its damage.
The solution to so much of the stress we experience is right there beneath your nose. All you have to do is breathe consciously and the stress automatically begins to dissipate.
So use these ideas and suggestions as ways to balance the Liver and Gallbladder energies. By keeping the Liver and Gallbladder balanced you’ll feel calmer and be in a position—mentally and physically—to enjoy the wonderful life experience we call Spring.
How To Eat Salad
We recently visited the Chimacum Corner Farmstand to get some vegetable starts. We planted a variety of seeds in early April, which are coming up nicely, but we’re hedging our bets with some starts—plus it’s good to compare what kind of yields we get between the two.
Our bounty included: cabbage, arugula, leeks, shallots, storage onions, chard, lettuce, mustard, sage, and borage (to attract bees).
As we were driving back from the farmstand, we got into a discussion about GARDEN SALADS and how BALANCED they are from a 5 ELEMENT EATING perspective.
We asked the question: “What’s the best way to prepare and eat your basic garden-variety, garden salad to get the best return on your investment in time, money and digestive energy.
Raw Vegetables Can Inhibit Digestion
Generally speaking, vegetables should be eaten as part of a larger meal that includes a diverse group of ingredients. This is because raw vegetables are energetically COLD, and your digestive system requires FIRE to break down the food you eat.
Adding raw vegetables into your digestive system is like putting wet wood into a woodstove or fire place. Do this enough times and the digestive ‘fire’ smolders and you wind up with poor digestion.
Because raw salad is ENERGETICALLY COLD it can be used on hot, summer days to cool your body, but if your digestion is already weak, a raw salad is not a good idea any time.
When we think of ‘wilted’ salad, the image is of vegetables that belong in the compost, not on your plate. But ‘wilting’ is a traditional way of preparing garden greens to make them easily digestible.
Wilting salad greens is very simple: warm them in a pan until the edges are slightly wilted.
Basically, you’re using the heat of your stove to jumpstart the digestive process, rather than spending more of your precious digestive energy than you need to.
Balanced Five Element Garden Salad
BALANCE from a Five Element perspective means that all five tastes of food are included in a dish (preferably), or together in an overall meal.
So a ‘balanced’ Five Element garden salad can include spinach (BITTER); mustard greens (SPICY), and butter crunch, oak leaf, romaine or another kind of lettuce (SWEET).
Then, for the SOUR and SALTY tastes, you can use a simple, homemade salad dressing by combining sesame oil, lemon juice and tamari. (You can substitute vinegar for lemon juice and soy sauce for tamari.)
Keep your digestive FIRE on a low burn
Preparing a Garden Salad
This is the SIMPLE and EASY process we use at BIOM to prepare garden greens:
• Lightly oil a pan big enough to hold your salad greens, using untoasted sesame or olive oil. Turn the heat on ‘medium.” Add the greens when the pan is heated, and toss them for 30 seconds to one minute. Remove from pan when the edges of the leaves start to wilt.
• Turn into a salad bowl and toss with your favorite dressing—which you’ve chosen to balance the tastes—and ENJOY!
Wilting changes the ENERGY of the vegetables from ‘cold’ to ‘mildly-warm’—which is the kind of energy that maintains a healthy digestive system.
Learn to listen to what your body is telling you.