IMMUNITY & DEFENSIVE QI
In Chinese Medicine, the immune system is seen as a tiny multitudinous army patrolling the skin. Basecamp is in the lungs, and the army runs on defense to prevent enemies from invading the wall of the skin. Because the body is always compared to a climate in Chinese Medicine, the ‘evil’ invaders are seen to arrive with the wind. To visualize it, the body can be imagined as a single cell organism with the skin as the cell wall, where the strength of the defensive army, or Wei Qi, determines the body’s immunity, what is kept out, and what slips in. When the Wei Qi army is otherwise preoccupied, for example: compromised by allergens, inflamation, or illness, or fighting a lingering condition—the army’s numbers run low and its force is weakened. More invaders slip in with the wind.
Ideas, fears, frights can also threaten our bodies' immunity. In the present cultural climate many are feeling invaded by this new wave of regressive and nationalist rhetoric coming in with the winds of sociopolitical change. We might be feeling run down from carrying the will to fight so close to our skin. Some of you might feel drawn to the front lines of activism. Some might prefer making a daily phone call or signing online petitions, hosting refugees or volunteering for organizations. If you are someone who carries the daily panic of being hurt, deported, or on the brink of a tragic life change, you may feel directly threatened, or forced to hide. Many are grappling with the question: how can I make a difference in a society that feels so unhinged and out of control?
A part of this lasting questioning process involves the immune system. We hear the old adage of the oxygen mask. Put yours on before you put on your dependents’.While collectively, we are responsible for our society, ultimately though, we are each uniquely responsible for ourselves. You can bolster your immune system while it is under strain. Take your vitamins and immune boosters, take time out each day to rest or meditate, remember what you are gratefuly for, keep your neck covered in the damp, rainy and windy weather (the neck is the number one area where wind invades), and keep warm—if your feet or hands or body are cold, use hot water or another method to quickly warm up, and wear slippers around the house.
But, what else? I think finding a way you can contribute to society and to your own unmet needs are two approaches worth examination. Both merit a look at your personal skills and aptitudes. What is the best of you that you can offer? Often the thing to contribute is what comes easily and more effortlessly to you. What skills do you have that you can give to society and also pioritize for your own self-care regiment? Sit on it a while. If you need help, get in touch with me, or come in for a session. I am now offering creativity consulting and wellness mentorship long-distance and would be happy to help. If you are curious, you can read more here.
Here's a little guided visualization you can do at home or on the go. Take a moment to quiet your breath. Imagine in your mind's eye the shape of your body as it is where you are right now. Pretend your body is a single-cell organism, with the skin being your cell membrane, and imagine the inside of your body is a dark plasm elixir of mysticism like inky outer space. Imagine that the inside of you is sacred and safe, and that inky darkness is a treasure that cannot be invaded. Anything attempting to invade it would simply evaporate like being sucked into a black hole. Imagine that the pores of your skin are little drawbridges, and they only selectively lower when they choose to allow something in. Practice strengthening the fortress of your body by opening a drawbridge or a few to let in love and kindness and support, and cinching them tight to prevent anything hurtful or blaming or shaming from coming in. Trust that your mind and body can do this collaborativey, in tandem, and that they need not both be 'on' or aware to keep you healthy. Trust that occasional moments of awareness like this one help regulate a system that intuitively knows how to protect you. Take a moment to appreciate your beautiful amazing body and all the wondrous things it does.