Belated Post: Why I’m Going to Australia

I just found the following in my travel journal, and wanted to share – kind of a #latergram for the blog world… have altered ever so slightly from its original version to make is appropriate for this space. Enjoy! R x

UK to Australia

I’m sat in Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight to Singapore, which will eventually lead me to Brisbane, Australia. I got here super early as my Water needed to be at the airport – all risks of missing the flight, getting stuck in traffic, rushing, rising panic, eliminated by arriving early… that’s what Water is about, assessing and eliminating risk. So, with this in mind, you won’t be surprised that I am NOT a good flier… this means ANY flight is super frightening, and even contemplating (let alone booking!) a 24 hour flight to the other side of the world sets off the alarm bells on the “risk assessor”, big time! So this trip is a pretty BIG deal.

Why am I even thinking about it then?! Well, if you had treatment with me in clinic during 2012, chances are you know it was an incredibly challenging time health wise for me – repeated bouts of tonsillitis, then a severe unknown virus that affected my liver and kidneys, leaving me with chronic adrenal fatigue. And although I am TONS better, I still get some relapses of fatigue. The Christmas break had a couple, and heading in to 2013 I saw the potential for more episodes… with all the reflection and taking stock that comes with the arrival of a new year, I wanted 2013 to be about POSITIVE health, and to bring some new INSPIRATION, products, opportunities and services to my practice. I really want 2013 to be DIFFERENT to last year. I didn’t know how to make it different… so I went to the complete OPPOSITE end of the spectrum in terms of my comfort zone. And as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”… and I have certainly never done anything as big, SCARY or crazy as this!

Thomas Jefferson

This place [Heathrow] is so busy, the energy is crazy – busy, nervous, jittery, exhausting, tearful – waaay too much for a Water Element who is already scared, nervous and jittery. I am having to remind myself of the STILLNESS that is a virtue of the Water Element – see, we do have a positive flip side to all that scary fear! Sitting in a corner, quietly listening to meditations on my ipod is the only thing keeping my nerves at bay. I see some children. They are tired, scared, overwhelmed, and not being understood by their parents – behind the tears is fear. I empathise hugely. I feel just like them.

I am tired, but hopefully that will (for once in this chronic adrenal fatigue journey) go in my favour as I board a night flight. I am scared about the flight, scared of being trapped onboard, scared of freaking out, scared about vomiting for 24 hours, scared of not being able to sleep, scared of horrendous jet lag, scared the trip will make my chronic fatigue worse, scared I will spend the whole time in Australia in bed, even scared that I will love it so much out there I won’t want to come home – yeah, a whole BIG BUCKET of scared.

Tony Robbins

But I know I HAVE to do this. The importance of this trip is MASSIVE. Things in my life need to CHANGE, and as Tony Robbins says, “By changing nothing, nothing changes…” So yeah, I’m changing it up. Changing it up in the BIGGEST way possible. And I have NO idea what is ahead.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Yin O’Clock

I am really struggling to be proactive and productive today. Way too much procrastination, and the grey cloudy weather doesn’t help. My business brain is telling me I need to write blog posts, edit the new Spring baking video I filmed last week, finish my patient notes and the accompanying research and reading… but all I REALLY want to do is sit on the sofa, switch my mind off, and watch the earliest CSI in town, 1970s medical pathologist-come-detective Qunicy ME.

I’m currently sat on the sofa with an apple, lemon and carrot juice, and I have made a deal with myself – write this post, then you can watch Quincy… but for me, there is more to it than JUST being a lazy bum and wanting to veg out! It has taken me a long time to be able to “actively rest”, and get my head around this concept.

I am really rubbish at stopping or slowing down, my mind is always ticking over with everything I must do, the list is endless, and potentially I could ALWAYS be doing something. I have always been this way.

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But as discussed in my post about the petrol crisis, we have a metaphorical tank, and if we are on the go the whole time, without rest, that tank of energy can go down pretty quickly, and we continue going whilst running on empty… this eventually leaches the watery, cooling, moisturising, nourishing Yin energy from our bodies.

For Water CFs in particular (as Water is an inherently Yin substance), but also for many other Elements (or CFs), carving out time to actually STOP, rest, and top up the Yin energy of the body, is incredibly important. A lack of Yin in the body can manifest as, feeling hot or sweaty towards the end of the day or at night, needing a drink of water during the night, feeling “tired in the bones”. We can have a vulnerability to stress, migraines, constipation, dry skin, hot flushes, anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, over the course of our lives, there is a natural depletion of Yin, so it becomes even more important to nurture our Yin the older we get.

Therefore working at having some time to be quiet, inward and still is paramount – all three of these characteristics are important in cultivating more Yin, but are also part of the Yin energy itself. But if you’re anything like me, just sitting quietly on the sofa, pottering around the house, or laying down and resting just doesn’t work – I spend the entire time going “you could be doing x right now”, “why aren’t you doing Y”, “Sally called you earlier, you must remember to call them back”, and so on and so on! That is NOT restful! In fact, it just agitates the Yin energy, creating restlessness and agitation – totally the opposite of the desired intention!

I need something to occupy my over-analytical, chatty mind, whilst I allow my body to rest and for the Yin to be topped up. So my key is to watch something like Quincy; Diagnosis Murder or Murder She Wrote are other valid Yin nourishing TV choices – no real gore or violence, that level of Fear would totally undo all the Yin nourishment! This keeps my mind ticking over, figuring out who did what to whom, so that I am not constantly thinking about what ELSE I could, or should, be doing! I am still, quiet and calm – actively resting my body and quietening my mind! It’s a meditation of sorts, a seventies flashback whodunnit kind of meditation!

So, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to pop the kettle on, watch a bit of Quincy and top up my Yin!! What do you do to carve out “rest” time? Is “active resting” a new concept for you? What could you do to top up your Yin? Could Quincy be helpful for you?! Let me know by leaving your comments below… or ask me how acupuncture can help you top up your Yin too!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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Enough Petrol in the Tank?

Here in the UK things have gone a bit crazy on the petrol front. Everyone queuing to fill up their tanks, beeping at each other, blocking surrounding roads, running the petrol stations dry, general hysteria. And all of this is BEFORE the potential strike by tanker drivers even happens, before it is even the same week of the proposed strike. The general advice is fill up so your tank is full to the brim.

This panic buying reminds me of the yang side of the Water Element. As I have described before, there are five Elements in Chinese Medicine – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood – and each of the five Elements have organs associated with them, one yin and one yang (though Fire is greedy and has four!!). The Water Element organs are the Kidneys (Yin) and Bladder (Yang). And although the Kidney energy has a lot to do with “reserves”, it is the Bladder energy that makes us feel panicky over “running out”, before the potential threat has even happened.

On a physical level the Bladder (and Kidney) regulates the balance of Water in our bodies by adjusting the volume of urine. Emotionally, an imbalance in the Bladder official (or energetic organ, not necessarily the physical organ itself) on an energetic level, can give rise to the huge fear, or lack of fear, associated with the Water Element. When the well is dry, there are no reserves of water for the coming year to bring fluid and nourishment; when the bank’s “rainy-day fund” has gone, the reassurance from having a monetary back-up disappears… the general notion that there might not be “enough” for the future is scary, and can induce panic. This is how I am viewing the public’s behaviour this week with the petrol – as I always say, I see the world through “Five-Element tinted glasses”!

When we feel we don’t “have enough” (emotionally and physically) to get us through into the future, everything appears to be a threat, and we may imagine all the worst possible outcomes, never secure in the knowledge that we can survive. The mental and emotional impact can be huge if our Water Element is depleted, particularly if we have a perceived “lack” of actual physical things in our lives too – in this case, a lack of petrol – or should that be a PERCEIVED lack of petrol?!

To a Water CF (a person who has Water as their main Element or Constitutional Factor i.e. CF), it does not matter if there is a perceived threat or a real threat, the fear or panic is exactly the same. It is a case of managing the fear and managing the road towards catastrophisation; for example, A and B leading to X, Y and Z in one or two jumps instead of twenty five!

This case is an incredibly accurate and timely working example of this route that the Water Element and fear can go down – a potential strike of petrol tanker drivers has made the country jump to the conclusion that there will be no petrol, no Easter holidays away, no getting to the doctors or hospitals, patients will suffer, people will not get to work, they will lose money, lose their houses etc etc – the escalation from “the drivers MAY strike”, to “the UK will be ground to a standstill and everyone will suffer” seems to have been one simple step – creating the crazy panic buying seen in the last few days! I reckon quite a lot of people need their Water Elements treating at the moment!!

As a Water CF, I am trying hard not to buy into this mass hysteria and panic buying, though I do have a full tank at the moment (both petrol, and energetic tank from having had acupuncture myself this week!), so perhaps that makes it easier to keep calm! If you recognise feelings of fear of the future, feeling easily overwhelmed, worried about whether you have enough energy to survive what is coming your way, you could benefit from Five-Element acupuncture. This is my favourite part of acupuncture (as a patient and a practitioner!) and it can have a huge impact on your quality of life – contact me here, keep calm and feel better!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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Hello, I’m a Water CF

So, the title of this blog is “The Secret Diary of a Water CF”, and the explanation behind the name has been a little while coming… as many of my patients know, I practise a style of acupuncture that integrates both the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) style of acupuncture, and the Five Element style.

The latter is derived from the ancient way the Chinese looked at the seasons and the wider environment or macrocosm around them. They realised that the movements of energy in nature mirrored the movements of energy within our bodies, emotions and between people. And so, they applied these principles to the microcosm (inside the body), and Five Element Acupuncture was born.

There are Five Elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood – and we all have the five of them within us at all times. Ideally, they all work in harmony to ensure we automatically maintain a good level of health, just as day turns into night, and Summer turns into Autumn… but if we become unbalanced or out of sync, to any degree (no matter how big or small), one of the five elements will be highlighted more than the others, it will start to shout louder. It is like our default setting, and whatever happens in life, we return to a set of patterns, emotions, behaviours and movements of energy linked to that particular element. So, as I am treated on Water, and considered to be a Water CF (Constitutional Factor, or Element) this blog entry will expand a little more on this element.

The energy of Water is Yin – a cooling, moisturising, nourishing energy that has depth; its season is Winter, and its taste is salty. The main emotions related to Water are fear and drive, which may seem to be a complete oxymoron, but the best entrepreneurs build their empires by having an exceptional drive to succeed, combined with considered risk analysis – looking at all aspects of fear and lack of fear, before coming to the best decision.

It therefore should come as no surprise that many paratroopers, marines or RAF personnel are also Water CFs – I would never throw myself out of a plane or climb up a bare rock face, but I am at entirely the opposite end of the Water CF spectrum i.e. the fearful (yet still very driven) as opposed to the lack-of-fear end…

Water CFSo what does being a Water CF mean for me? It means I don’t like theme parks or fairground rides, I can’t watch scary movies, and I hate fireworks or loud noises… I am sometimes fearful of the future, I am generally cautious and considered, can suffer knee and lower back ache (Water area of the body), and need more rest than people of other elements – which sometimes means I cancel my social plans in favour of hermitting for a few days… I speak with a “groaning” voice tone (the sound of Water), and have a blue-black hue next to my mouth and eyes – though you’ll be lucky to see that in the treatment room, I’ve spent many years finding the right concealer for a Water CF! I have always had the sense of needing to work towards my true self and fulfil the destiny inherent in the Water Element… and this is what has led me to where you find me now, as your acupuncturist!

If you think you might also be a Water CF, would like more information on how acupuncture could help you to balance the see-saw between fear and drive, contact me or visit the website for more details. To learn more about Water (and the other Elements if you’re impatient to find out about your CF!) read “Healing Your Emotions” by Angela & John Hicks, available through the college or Amazon.