In our culture of quick fixes, fast moving lifestyles and access to a chaotic array of online media, we can get easily lost and overwhelmed. Everything is available to most of us, from multi-ethnic food to art styles to self care approaches. Some people who want to find a way to feel less anxious and more relaxed and ‘together’, can feel like they’re missing out if we don’t sample it all, especially with the latest trends. With self care practices, for example, in the past 60 years or so there have been huge movements in Western culture towards the ancient healing arts that have been practiced throughout the ages in China, India, Tibet, Japan and many other countries in the East. These practices are about slowing down, simplifying life and being still and in the moment. Something that we’re clearly craving in our have-it-all-now culture is a way to get back to an inner peace and strength that is hard to find in our often shallow and self-indulgent society.
Deep and meaningful experiences that help us connect with ourselves and others more aren’t easy for many people in Western culture to access due to our learned belief systems. We often feel a need for someone famous or ‘successful’ (rich) to tell us what to do or fix things for us instead of looking inward at what’s genuinely good for us and trusting our intuition. It can take a lot of effort to step outside our comfort zone where we don’t allow ourselves to feel too deeply, and numb difficult feelings rather than allowing ourselves to get past them healthily.
“Happiness is the new rich. Inner peace is the new success. Health is the new wealth. Kindness is the new cool.” Says Syed Balkhi, an award winning and very successful entrepreneur. It’s a great soundbite, and I’m guessing (hoping) meant to be tongue in cheek, but framing wellbeing in the terms used in our consumerist system keeps the whole thing feeling like a shallow, opportunistic business model. It makes me think of Eddie and Patsy in Ab Fab, vainly interested in the newest big thing and trying whatever the influencers are telling them is hot this season. Maybe though, someone like Saffron, Eddie’s much more feet-on-the-ground daughter, would get something meaningful out of exploring the deeper side of wellbeing. Wellbeing has become a crowded marketplace, flooded with courses derived from ancient practices but often without the deeper meaning.
Nearly all of the ‘modern’ miracle self care systems that have become popular recently in the West are extracted from the Traditional Chinese Medicine healing system. TCM is a broad, sophisticated and profound healing system dating back at least three or four thousand years, made up of practices like qigong, tui na, herbal medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, dietary therapy and five element theory. Newly popularised techniques like tapping, mindfulness, conscious breathing and even Reiki, are isolated parts of of the entire, ancient and holistic Traditional Chinese Medicine system. It’s great that more people are accessing selfhealing techniques, but I think it’s important to understand that there may be gaps in knowledge and safe practice when a technique is Westernised and commodified. We can do more harm than healing if we come to inner work from a chaotic and disjointed quick-fix approach, rather than one taught with full knowledge of how the internal and reciprocal energy systems work. One of the most important things to remember is that you don’t need any special equipment or to add anything to yourself, you already have everything you need to get you to your inner peace and strength.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is so vast that it incorporates ancient Daoist and Tibetan healing (which, incidentally, where the original Reiki (spiritual energy healing) was first practiced), ancient Indian practices like yoga and Buddhism. As I’ve had the good fortune of being taught by a master in all of these combined practices for the past 20 years, I’m able to offer truly transformative and personalised lessons and support to my students and people who join my online community. Join me if you’d like to learn practical techniques for improving a whole range of physical and emotional imbalances.