I recently became a grandma. I don't even know how to talk about this. My grandson isn’t even 1 year old yet. His little personality is only starting to emerge. The love I have for my daughter, his mother, now rests, magnified, on her son. It obviously isn’t that I love him more than her. I couldn’t love anyone more than I love her. But when you are one generation away, you don’t have these bonds of being attached, like you do to your children. What you don’t like in yourself becomes an obstruction to fully relating with your children. My oldest daughter will be 32 this year. I had her when I was 21. All of the hopes and dreams I had for her from the day I found out I was pregnant became filtered by that which I couldn’t recognize in myself. I loved her more than I loved myself. That, I promise you, is not a statement to be proud of. I could not give her what I didn’t have. So the lack of ability to give her what I wanted to give her turned to guilt. I always thought I could do better, I knew I could do better. I had two more children, when I was 34 and 38. With each one I had the same experience, to a lesser degree. I loved them more than I loved myself.

You can never be the type of mother who is good enough for your children in your own judging eyes. These amazing, perfect beings are always far more deserving than any separate human being can measure up to. And I know I didn’t. I couldn’t measure up because I saw them as different from me.

All three of my children are out of the house now – one in boarding school, one in college, and one married with a family of her own.  So the role of caring for my children’s day-to-day needs is history.

I had the great pleasure of being present for the birth of my grandson. And I have never had a prouder moment in my life, than seeing my daughter being able to bring forth life; watching the power of life’s longing for itself come through her. Her labor was prolonged and difficult. Her husband was a great coach – strong and loving. They were an admirable team. And about 24 hours later, this perfect little boy entered the world.

I can honestly say that I don’t love him more than myself. I love him as myself; as an expression of the love that I am. Without dreams or aspirations, without wondering if I will measure up to the task of being his grandmother. Without wondering if his parents will measure up to the task of being his parents. I watch them being the perfect parents for him, loving themselves through each other, and through him. And I watch in awe, how Kahlil Gibran describes:

Their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

NEW! Connect with Dr. Randine Lewis Live on Tuesday, March 4th at 7pm EST

Falling Pregnant:
The Fertile Soul Method vs. Western Reproductive Medicine:
Which Medical Approach is Best?

I consider it almost irrelevant to find the dividing line between natural treatment and medical intervention. Your body is a reflection of your thoughts, feelings, dietary intake, actions, and sleep patterns. Hormonal and ovarian output, as well, is a manifestation of your lifestyle. Therefore, what you do to enhance your lifestyle, will invariably impact the overall health of your body. If you live in such a way that enhances your wellbeing and vitality, it reveals itself in a harmonious endocrine and gynecological environment.

Yet, if there have been patterns of imbalance along the way that have left you with medical diagnoses that might impact ovulation or implantation, there may be some confusion as to how to address them. Many people get stuck here: do you treat it naturally - change your diet, lifestyle, go to acupuncture, take herbs, consult naturopathic medicine, etc., OR do you opt for a visit to the reproductive endocrinologist?

And, because of the advancing clock, they are most afraid of not doing anything, and act from fear, jumping into medical intervention without addressing the most obvious, natural course. Why not do both?

Most of the people who come to retreat or meet with me individually arrive at the place where there is no conflict. They adopt certain lifestyle modifications, stress reduction, dietary adjustments, and natural supplements, as they calmly look into whether or not medical testing or intervention is necessary. This tends to breed much less fear, resulting in hormonal balance and better ovarian output.

I work with women who are concurrently undergoing diagnostic methods or treatments from mini-IVF to pharmaceutical IVF, donor IVF, or are using gestational carriers. They do not throw out their natural, balanced approach while purchasing interventional methods. One improves overall health and well-being; one does not. One is meant to be a short-term procedure; the other is not.

When you broaden your approach to your reproductive care rather than narrow it, your options tend to open up.

Looking forward to connecting with you all on March 4th,


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Do GMOs Effect our Qi?

Qi is the vital life force of life. Without qi there is no warmth, no animation, no breath, no heartbeat, no life. Although there are more divisions, for simplicity sake we can divide the vital life force into three major categories: original qi, nutritive qi, and protective qi. Original qi is the primary energy necessary to give and sustain life.  It is the basis of kidney qi, and makes up the entire yin and yang functions of the body. It gives rise to the reproductive and primary organ functions. Once this original qi combines with the energy we receive from food and breath, it is refined into two other functional categories: nutritive qi, and protective qi. Nutritive qi is similar to blood, and circulates through the meridians, feeding and nourishing the internal organs. Protective qi is a little more surface, traveling throughout the skin, muscles, and mucous membranes, keeping us protected from the outside world.

Although they all function together as a whole:

Original qi is essential to core functions and reproduction.

Nutritive qi is crucial for nutritient and qi delivery throughout the internal organs.

Protective qi defends us from external influences and pathogenic factors.

We could say that the nutritive qi is the pivot between the original and protective qi.

Now that you have had this basic introduction in the vital life force, let’s introduce the topic of genetically modified foods like most of the corn and soy on the market. In making the plant hardier, it is genetically engineered to have greater protective effects against pests, and a greater ability to withstand the effects of pesticides. In other words, it strengthens its protective qi. These genetically modified plants, however, are no longer able to reproduce. So farmers have to purchase new seeds with the capacity to seed.

When we view this scenario through an energetic lens, we can ask what energetic function is being disrupted. In this situation, the genetically modified plant has sacrificed its original qi for extra protective qi, while retaining the ability to provide its nutritive function. Because of this, the Department of Agriculture gave GMOs their stamp of approval. Laboratory animals seemed healthy and without any untoward effects after 90 days on GMO diets.

However, four, six, 18 months later, the laboratory animals had challenges reproducing, developed alterations in their ability to suppress tumors, and developed overactive immune systems.  Similarly, many of our reproductive issues stem from alterations in our environment. Pesticides, pollutants, and dietary toxins all contribute to ovarian failure, poor sperm production, PCOS, autoimmune infertility, implantation failure, endometriosis, and fibroids.

What can you do? The spleen qi diet asks you to avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates (especially wheat), and dairy. Add corn and soy that have not been labeled “non-GMO” to this list. Eat organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and non-GMO grains as much as possible. Try to avoid farm raised fish and animals that have been fed GMO grains as well. While it may sound daunting, this type of eating plan reduces the likelihood of infertility, inflammatory processes, diabetes, and cancer.

The Spirit of Emergence

The Spirit of Emergence:
New Years Resolutions and The Wood Horse

by Randine Lewis

In Chinese astrology, the next new moon will move from the year of the water snake to the year of the wood horse, representing new beginnings, growth, and emergence. The spiritedness of the horse demands respect, not force; love, not fear. We will continue this theme in our February retreat.

How are your New Years resolutions going? I know - it's only been a week, so chances are they are still strong. Maybe you've vowed to stay on the spleen qi diet and are carefully avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates, gluten, and dairy products. Good for you. Perhaps you have resolved to focus your efforts more intently on baby making, reducing stressful work obligations in preference to more enjoyable and life enhancing pursuits. Great!

Eat better; sleep more; play more; stress less; more sex; less TV; walk everyday; quit drinking coffee; find a new church; no more wine; put more intention into how to get pregnant. Add whatever you want to the list; manifesting can be a powerful tool. It's an art, really. Whatever you really set your mind to, you can accomplish. Chances are you've done it all your life.  Apply yourself at school and you are rewarded with a good education. Apply yourself on the job and you are rewarded with a good paycheck. Apply yourself to the dating scene and chances are you'll end up with a partner. The New Year brings about new hope, new possibility, and a chance to do things differently this year.

My guess is this is not your first time around making resolutions on the baby scene. And maybe your resolve is wearing thin. Will it work this year? What has been done wrong? What needs to be done better? And the effort mounts, only to leave you where you were last January.

Why don't the efforts of intention work so well when it comes to pregnancy? When the power of manifestation moves from an activity geared toward what you don't have to an effortless art within the flow of your life as it is. The art of creation involves a feeling in your heart - the same quiet urge that longs to bring forth life. It is silent and non-demanding. The mind interprets this deep longing as something missing - and goes about in mad pursuit of it. That's the problem when it comes to creation - the mind's interpretation. When you are in pursuit of a job or more money, that usually isn't problematic, because a stressed body goes right along with getting what you don't have. But the opposite is true when you wish to bring forth life. When the mind grabs hold of this desire it puts the body into a state of fighting for what it wants; and stress hormones prevent its receptivity.

Go back to the feeling in your heart. Feel its presence. Be with it. Tend to it. Be grateful for it. Have confidence that it isn't there by mistake. Feel it in every moment of every day - prior to any activity that you undertake in pursuit of it. Trust it. Look at any conflict that arises in the mind (which will then be manifest in the body), which puts you in a state of stress.

The last element to this successful art is getting back into the flow of your life, as it is, with indifference to how this desire will be made manifest. Do not give your attention to your mind's imaginings - you do not need to concern yourself with how, or when. No need to think about babies or pregnancies or have dreams of toddlers dancing in your head. The Chinese character for Intention belongs to the soul, and it means resonance with the heart. If what is true within your heart is rooted within your "jing" or essence, your life becomes a walking magnet of intention. If it is not rooted within the jing, it will fly off, leaving you bereft. Jing Shu means, If you have to defend what you believe, it is not in your heart. Remember - respect, not force; love, not fear. Do not break your spirit trying to control the life force. Become aligned with it.

So, eat well. Rest well. Play more, work less. Make the rest of your life how you want it to be. And attend to the origin of life, which resides in the heart. Trust it with assurance, and let go of everything else. Be prepared to meet your life as it is, fully, and do all that is required of you as the granting of your desire unfolds. Trust this feeling in your heart and become its instrument. It is not there by mistake.

Please contact us at with any questions and sign up here for our February retreat. If you would like to take advantage of our payment plan please select it at the checkout.

With love and blessings,



Who doesn’t love a good competition – whether it be a ballgame, quest for expertise, or to have a physical edge? We have been conditioned to be in pursuit of excellence, and to admire achievement in ourselves and others. This is the stuff the modern world is made of. And it has its roots deep throughout history: War games, hunting parties, territorial superiority – competition is in our blood and DNA. Leaders were chosen for their physical prowess, and their ability to overcome an opponent. Although I loved to play this masculine game in worldly affairs, it was not native to my makeup. I never liked group sports because competition wasn’t very strong in my nature. But I learned to compete in areas where I could excel, namely academic, and worked my way up to medicine. I learned to put on the edge physically, and took up running and working out. I tried to polish the exterior to perhaps look just a bit better than the girls I was hanging out with.

Have you ever noticed when you are in pursuit of a goal or in competition how your adrenaline flows? The stress hormones course throughout your system to keep you on edge. This is a great testosterone booster, but can absolutely destroy a woman’s receptivity. Competition and goal setting are not estrogen-dominated games. In fact, the goal of a child is counter to our fertility. My last conception, the most challenging one, occurred not the month that I got everything right, but when everything had gone wrong.

When I was in medical school, my most challenging class was pathology. I usually made high B’s on my exams. The best grade I ever got, however, was on a test I planned to “toss out” because I had a migraine headache the night before and was unable to study for the exam. I was given a pill that knocked me out, and woke up just in time to make it for class, unprepared and unstudied. I was not on my edge, I was not in competitive mode, I was in “Oh well, this won’t count” mode.  I took the exam in minutes, and found out I had aced it.

There is another way to open up to what we want most, and that is to let go and become receptive. This is not an effort-based game. Effort is a sign of conflict between incompatible desires. Every time we are in pursuit of something, fear of not achieving it is equally strong, contracting access to our creative powers within. It can push us into conquering the world, but we don’t conquer the source of life we carry. We open up to it, leave it alone, and let it flow.

Ovarian Pathology and the Dai Mai

In Chinese medicine, the girdle or belt meridian, (Dai Mai), encircles the waist and hip bones. This is the only horizontal channel in the body and basically “binds” or consolidates the channels that run vertically.  It holds back the kidney potential which gives forth the ability to circulate its essence either to deal with the demands of your life, or to create new life. The Dai Mai also holds back Kidney essence in pathological states like PCOS, POF, ovarian cysts and cancer. When our energy is overly focused on external gratification in the world, our internal reserves can become blocked and inaccessible. Everything that has a potential for pathology at one time had a potential to serve us. It’s all a matter of balance. The Dai Mai binds this life potential until conditions are correct for its circulation.

The Dai Mai also holds repressed energies for us. If a life situation calls for an emotional response that we are unable to meet, the Dai Mai will hold the latent energy until a time when we have the emotional reserves in the blood to deal with it. These energies can be held for years, even decades. When we achieve some level or maturity, the energetic holding can then “leak” into circulation and give us the opportunity to meet it consciously and resolve the latently held energetic pattern. This could be likened to a “cellular memory” that gets locked into the physiology through psychological denial.

We practice a Dai Mai Qi Gong exercise at retreat, which can actively “call out” latent pathogenic factors to be dealt with. There are also acupuncture and herbal remedies which can address Dai Mai issues, but in my opinion, without the light of your own awareness involved in the process, the tools Chinese medicine utilizes are much less effective. Provided the right environment for release, resolution can be complete, within a short amount of time.

Almost everyone I know is aware of some hidden affliction that they have basically swept under the figurative rug; knowing at some time they will have to deal with it. They may not know the details, but in Chinese medicine, the details are not important. The story is almost irrelevant; but meeting it presently with full consciousness, feeling it, and accepting this hidden aspect of our life is essential to overcoming the blocked pathology.

How to Deal with Regret

We just finished an amazing retreat in Los Angeles with women from all over the world. One of the common themes among the women was the topic of regret.  When I returned home, I received an e-mail from a dear friend going through this journey, and the topic surfaced again. Regret, remorse, should have, shouldn’t have, guilt, shame, if only… If we examine the list of our regrets associated with fertility, it might look something like this:

If only I had _______________________, then I’d be a mom.

If only I hadn’t done _________, then I’d be a mom.

If I had known ________________, then I’d be a mom.

If I would have ________________ earlier, then I’d be a mom.

If Dr. _____________ hadn’t done ________________, I’d already be a mom.

If Dr. ____________ would have done _____________, I’d already be a mom.

If my ____________ would have __________________, I would be a mom.

If my _____________ wouldn’t have _______________, I would be a mom.

I feel ____________ about what happened _____________.

If you keep up this line of questioning, the list will be endless. When you finish one group of regrets, another one will come along, tormenting you all the way along the journey.

Yet, as I told my friend, you don’t need to indulge them, figure them out, or push them away.  They won’t get you anywhere, because regret is an imposter. It isn’t real. Nothing could have been done differently than it was. Your past literally could not be other than it is. You are not here by mistake.

Keep dealing with the only time you have – now. Watch the feelings (now) about a fictitious moment in the supposed past, when it was also now. Not a different now; the same eternal moment, which the mind records as memory. Every time the memory captured an event or experience in the now, it also colored it with some feelings about where your emotional body was at the time. It is doing the same thing now – coloring the memories with judgment. Nothing ever, ever, ever, ever, could have happened differently than it happened. Nothing ever is happening other than it is happening. The happening, including your response to what is, happens spontaneously based upon everything else in the universe and your own personal history. Then the mind comes in later and judges it as good, bad, right, wrong, should have, should not have... And creates an energetic knot.

The energies of regret are twofold – the downward, inward energetic pull of metal (which governs grief and loss), and the upward, outward energetic push of wood (which governs frustration, anger, and resistance) – opposite energetic movements. One pulls you in, one pushes against. It’s a losing game.

When you tease out the sadness and anger, what’s left is the raw emotion of how you feel about what you wish could have been. When it’s projected out in the future, it creates enormous tension in the body mind. Journal about it, if you find it helpful. Do a releasing ceremony. Do a physical release if it feels appropriate. Feel its effects in your body. See what is has to offer you when you see it for what it is. Go into the heart of it. Feel the emotions associated with it. And see what gift remains in the center of it. And in the wake of showing up 100% for yourself, you are left with the only peace possible – acceptance of your past; acceptance of yourself; acceptance of what is, right now.

You have always done exactly what you had to do. And in this ever-present moment, you are doing exactly what you must be doing.

When the contraction of regret is truly released, it can’t obstruct your energetic patterns anymore. Only then you are truly forgiven.

Doctor Patient Relationship

Those who come to retreat often ask what is the most important trait a doctor can have? According to the ancient book of healing, the Su Wen, chapter 39, those who are best at working with people are those who are satisfied with themselves. Without confusion or distress, they can follow the Tao, and reach an illuminated life. Through the deep examination of oneself they can be free of confusion and lift the veil. Commentary by Father Claude Larre:

The most important thing for healing is the relationship between the practitioner, the spirits, and the patient. Heaven represents the organization of nature, and the movement of the four seasons. In our body is the same life that is in a tree or flower, or in the weather. Have the consciousness to observe the natural order and find it again in oneself and in another. If you understand that you must be in harmony with Heaven, you will practice clearly.

Acupuncture has to move the patient’s spirit to be successful – it is not merely mechanical. You first must have a deep understanding of your own life before pretending to know life in another, especially the disturbances in the development of life in another.

You also must not be blocked in yourself, or full of the desire to heal. You have just to do your best, very quietly, and then let go. You must not have inner agitation or desires, even the best of desires. if you do not have desire, then you have a real relationship with the patient and are not forcing the patient to correct his spirits to please you. To be satisfied with yourself means to harmonize yourself. The best way to cure a patient is to remain in the natural expression of your own power of life. To desire too strongly is stagnation and blockage in your intent and will, and it diminishes your ability to cure.

The texts never say that you must desire to cure. They repeatedly say to be calm and quiet without special desire. Wanting something is always dangerous, even if you are wanting the best thing in the world – the tension in you is bad. Let the life of the spirit grow in you, and bring this to every part of your work.

In my opinion, fertility knowledge and expertise are secondary to being real. Having a spirit to spirit relationship with the patient is where healing occurs. What’s important to you? Do you need to emote? Do you need to understand what your practitioner is doing? Then that needs to be part of your treatment. Does your practitioner have a desire to heal you? According to Chinese medicine, that is a problem. Real healing happens when an acupuncturist gets themselves and their desires out of the way and puts you in touch with the source of healing – which is not them. They are merely a conduit of spirit.

Like a Flower

From the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character asks: What's the most resilient parasite?

An Idea.

Who considers an idea, capable of building cities, parasitic?

Taoist originators of Chinese medicine.

Worms, bacteria, viruses, parasites, are all hidden organisms that feed in the darkness off of your qi and blood. Ideas, hidden in the recesses of your brain, are indulgences that feed off of your qi and blood.  The highest form of these allegorical feeding creatures, and the most seductive (which keeps them resilient) is ambition. In other forms, this sucking energy includes ideas, desires, and goals; all considered greed. Like a parasite, it is never satiated. Other forms of indulgence include gluttony, sexual desires, and physical lust (material wanting.) More, more, more.

All qi stagnation comes from unfulfilled desire, obsessive thinking, and excessive worry. This closes off the life energy, and produces dark, damp conditions for these pathogens to accumulate and feed.

These phantoms that infiltrate the body and mind emit poisons that cloud the light of spirit. Thus, treatment includes stopping the psychological consumption, dispelling the parasitic energy, and calming the spirit.

While herbs addressed at killing the parasites are effective for treating the short-term manifestation, they do not change the inner psychic and physiologic  environment that is inviting their proliferation. Thus, they will return; albeit in another form.

So how do you change their environment? Like any other phantom, you shine the light on it and see it for what it is. You don’t need to know if it is giardia, candida albicans, or ureaplasma. When you find the dark recesses and stay with them, their energy opens up and the pathogen cannot survive in the light.

Like a flower, turn toward the sun.

Turn inward toward the light of your own spirit.

Laws of the Unborn

TCM identifies two aspects of being – born essence, and unborn essence. Born essence includes all things manifest – your body, mind, thoughts, and that which you take in through your senses. Unborn essence cannot really be substantiated, but we all possess awareness of its existence; outside the senses. We could say it is that which gives rise to potential. That which is born operates by the generative rules. This could be likened to the scientific law of thermodynamics and inertia, which crudely translated say that any manifest thing is energy; but because it has taken form, it tends toward dissipation of energy. Manifest things have no inherent existence, and thus are merely acted upon my outside forces. Therein contain the laws of science and medicine. You are seen and treated as a distinct and separate physical entity, acted on by outside forces as you move toward disorder.

Yet, because we are not merely masses that degrade in energy, there is another scientific truth which science has more difficulty quantifying. Quantum physics has revealed through studying the most minute particles in existence, that we reach a point where the physical laws no longer apply. As we reach the edges of the perceivable, we come to a spacious expanse where we can only define behavior, or energetic tendencies.

The endocrine system operates via the generative cycle, as it tries to harmonize with its environment. There are measurable reflections of endocrine disorders – high FSH, low AMH, estradiol, etc.  The best we can do with the generative laws of Chinese medicine is to harmonize these patterns to be in balance with the individual’s environment.

The gynecological system, however, which interfaces with a woman’s endocrine system, operates via the laws of the unborn, or the reverse generative cycle. Here we actually can utilize pure potentiality itself, or the unborn essence. We can work with the energy prior to manifestation and tap into the laws of creation. How?

By no longer paying homage to the laws of the manifest world. As you withdraw your truth and governance from the external world of manifest form, your energy literally moves into the potential, where all things are possible.

Most women I work with are so locked into the laws of the physical world; they literally cannot do this on their own. They need help extracting their attention from their fears and limitations, which they have endowed with reality.  Hence, on retreat, it is as if we cease orbiting in our habitual track around an old and impotent reality. As they move from being governed by the physical world, they become empowered by the same force which gives rise to life itself, making all things possible.

Anger – A Catalyst for Change

Last night I conducted a conference call for Mothers Day; with the intention of opening up the recognition that the essence of motherhood is not confined to those with children. The longing for life opens up the channels of motherhood when one can stay with the intention of the heart and not get carried away by fear and attempts to control.

A therapist friend was on the call as well, who had gone through her own fertility challenges before she had her own biological children at ages 43 and 46, without reproductive intervention.

A woman on the call told us that she came across an email newsletter that said, “Open if you’re a mom.” And it made her mad. How dare anyone limit the opening of a newsletter to those that occupied the role of mom?! Like a dagger to the heart, it had all the elements of making one feel even more desperate and hurt.

So we talked about anger. Should one not get angry when triggered by some external event that reminds one of what they are so desperately trying to do? Should one not feel jealous when those close to them are with child – without even trying? It’s easy to shrink into the small roles of fear, hurt, and sadness, while the biggie – anger – is pushed aside by the judgment, “I shouldn’t be angry.”

My therapist friend talked about anger being a great catalyst for change, for breaking out of confines. TCM gives us two pictograms for anger – one is the image of a fish breaking through water tension to become a bird – indicating breaking out; evolving. Another is the image of a slave woman under a man’s hand, oppressed by circumstances that evoke a sense of breaking out. Let’s reframe. When there is anger, there is anger. Be with yourself with whatever your experience is. When there is jealousy, feel the jealousy. Only then can you break out of the emotional contraction. Let anger be a catalyst for change.

One of the greatest obstructions to fertility is an energetic contraction called Liver Qi Stagnation – mainly caused by unexpressed, unacknowledged emotional states and unfulfilled desires. This keeps the liver from metabolizing hormones, and keeps one physiologically stuck. We do many exercises on retreat to break out of the liver qi stagnation.

What roles, ideals, beliefs and confines do you need to break out of? What confines are holding you back from living your life fully, from pursuing your dreams without limitation?

Be true to yourself and your own experience. Who else will be?


According to the Nei Jing, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, Chapter One, The female essence (jing) goes through seven your cycles. Seven is considered a harmonious representation of natural cycles: there are seven days in a week, four cycles of seven complete the phases of a full menstrual cycle. There are seven spirits; seven stages of development, and seven vibrational frequencies.

  • 1 x 7: A girl's Kidney energy becomes prosperous at seven years of age.
  • 2 x 7: Her menstruation appears as the ren (sea of yin) channel flows and the chong (sea of blood) channel becomes prosperous at the age of 14.
  • 3 x 7: Her Kidney qi reaches a balanced state, and her teeth are completely developed at the age of 21.
  • 4 x 7: Her vital energy and blood are substantial, her four limbs are strong and the body is at optimal condition at the age of 28.
  • 5 x 7: Her peak condition declines gradually. The yang ming channel is depleted, her face withers and her hair begins to fall out at the age of 35.
  • 6 x 7: Her three yang channels, tai yang, yang ming and shao yang, begin to decline. Her face complexion wanes and her hair turn white at the age of 42.
  • 7 x 7: The ren and chong channels are both declining, her menstruation ends, her physique turns old and feeble, and she can no longer conceive at the age of 49.

Notice that there is a peak from age 28 – 35; thereafter her jing declines. What the jing cycle doesn’t define for us, but what is at least as important is that as the jing declines, there is an increase in shen, or spirit. So, while we still work to enhance the essence during the decline, the shen, must be attended to. If you focus on the jing during the last three cycles of seven, it sounds pretty dismal. Her face withers, her hair begins to turn white and fall out. Her complexion wanes. Her physique turns old and feeble. But also notice, that while they highlight the decline, she is still able to conceive until her menstruation ends. What keeps this process going during the decline? Her spirit. Life is created through jing and shen, essence and spirit. While Chinese herbs and lifestyle changes may help enhance your jing, the shen is your internal state of consciousness, and cannot be neglected in this process.

The rise in shen could be represented by inner wisdom; a sense of completion and giving up needs of the material world. This is a state of spiritual health and wholeness. Feeling empty and unfulfilled depletes both the jing and the shen. Daily meditations, gratitude for what you already have, and feeling a lightness in your heart allow you to live in a state of abundance, nourishing to both the jing and the shen.

Tending to a Broken Heart

One of my friends and associates was dealing with fertility issues, and after an IVF had failed, she told Ram Dass that her spirit had been broken. He responded that no, her spirit wasn’t broken; her mind was. Our illusions can be crushed; our dreams can be shattered, the way we think things should be can be interrupted by life, leaving us feeling lost and broken. But it is not the spirit that that is broken.  Your spirit can’t be broken. It is what picks you back up when your plans have been derailed.

TCM recognizes that the heart , which houses the spirit, is pure and incorruptible.  Just outside the heart, though, is the heart protector, which is the interface between the smaller mind and the wisdom of the heart. The heart protector absorbs the wounds, and suffers the pain. Every time it feels as if the heart is broken, it is an opportunity for the protection of the heart  to open up and let more spirit through.

When I was going through my second miscarriage, it seemed as if I was getting sucked into a void where nothing in the world made sense anymore. Grief stricken, lost and confused, it was my spirit that came through, picked me up, and let me know that it was in charge. What was to be would be. The miraculous was at hand, in process, and it was not my job to figure it out. It was not even my job to heal the pain, but to surrender to it. It opened me up to something greater than the need to guide and protect the direction of my self will. The desires of my own soul were not neglected through this process, but could finally be fulfilled – in ways far beyond my limited mind’s ability to orchestrate the movement of the universe to give me what I thought I needed. My son came through when I could get out of the way.

The direction of my life was made clear when I was no longer playing the role of actor, director, and producer.  I could rest in the reality of the divine movement of the play of all of existence, in which I was an integral part; where my future was being divinely guided.

Another friend is going through a heart-wrenching breakup right now, where it seems as if the reason for being has been snatched away from her.  How could life be so cruel as to take away one’s greatest love? There is no way to explain the ripeness of moments like this – the raw potentiality of a broken heart. When the heart breaks, the mind’s direction is shattered. It is then that the spirit can rise, and direct our course without our interference. What I do know is this – her life is being divinely directed. Those who are crushed by pain have the greatest opportunity to live according to the incorruptible light of spirit, the unconditional love and joy of existence itself. I feel her pain, and I hold it in the light of spirit, knowing it is not a mistake. It is a miracle in the making.


What do you hold dear? What feels like you need to manage, control, or hold? Reputation, safety, a dream? Another's love? Chinese medicine calls the energy of protection wei qi. This energy lives outside the body during the day. It protects you from pathogens and separates you from the world. A separate entity requires protection. If your wei qi is strong, you fight off colds. You can also feel your wei qi when someone around you is negative or angry, and an energetic barrier arises.

Last week I had a mole that seemed to bleed beneath the surface of the skin. I had been pondering skin cancer for a while, so of course, in my mind I had malignant melanoma. I looked at the energy of overgrown protection. Too much wei qi? Is there a difference between the inner and outer light? Is there anything real between them? The lines between me and others real in appearance, but not real.

When you see you aren't an island unto yourself, nothing can harm you, because the lines of separation are simply an energetic function.

I sit here and let my mind wander back over my life - to positive, happy feelings and those of regret. It seems if I could somehow take those positive feelings and move toward more of them, my heart would be happy. And if I could correct the negative, there would be more happiness.

How could the artist that drew the portrait of life have chosen to paint such tragedy along with the beauty? Because the artist is not separate from the portrait. What kind of landscape would there be with only light and pastels?

The energy of love and connection longs to feel loved in return. There is still psychic energy trying to protect that need. The depth of loneliness behind it is unfathomable; yet when it is allowed, there is such anguishing joy to be held in the recognition of utter aloneness, which is oneness.

As a previously unconscious energy pattern rises to the surface, it moves from dense and opaque to transparent. I hurt for my loneliness, and everyone else's. I want to be there to help everyone I encounter not feel lonely... So they don't have to feel it. Then I don't. Protection. Isn't it ironic that protection lives with loneliness?

The bone marrow can't seem to get that there is no one here dictating events. It still seems to pump out self will. There is resistance to the fact that I can't make a single thing happen and I can't protect myself from what seems to be happening. Thoughts are given, emotions are given, action is given. Positive emotions don't make positive things happen any more than negative ones prevent them. The spleen claims it as mine, and makes it into flesh. I can't shake off the feeling of protection, or speed it along. And beneath it all, there is nothing to protect. I feel it in my thymus gland.

The Shen

One of the most ancient texts of Eastern healing, written 2000 years ago, tells us: All diseases arise from the heart; all healing comes from the heart. The heart they are referring to is not just the anatomic heart muscle; nor is it simply the emotion of love; the ancients call it shen.

Shen is the spiritual power depicted by the Chinese character:  ? representing an altar, through which extending influences flow from above/beyond. Other definitions of Shen include:

The very essence of divinity; Consciousness; Spirit, infused from heaven. Pure, infinite, cosmic light, a luminous  force of vitality which comes from the divine. Shen is the means through which the will of heaven is known. The Shen encompasses the highest mind of consciousness that provides insight and makes you conscious of who you are. It is the energy that enlivens the body and psyche. The Shen resides in the heart.  The Heart holds the office of Lord and Sovereign. The radiance of the spirits stems from it.

When the ancient emperor Huang Di queries the sage, Qi Bo he asks him how we can lose harmony with the spirit of nature so that disease can arise. He understands that before healing can happen, we must be “rooted in spirit.” And Qi Bo goes off on a discourse regarding the power of heaven.

Spirit, heaven, consciousness – the vibrant energy through which all is enlivened and known. Spirit brings all into existence, and to spirit essence returns. When we can enliven this power within, we enter a state of healing, which does not require the intermediary of a physician, a state of profound healing is at hand.; closer even than your thoughts. The Tao te Ching tells us – Use it as you will; it never runs dry.

Chinese medicine is essentially about one thing – healing the spirit. Before true change can occur, we must raise our consciousness to a level above where the disease has been manifesting. It is an inside job. A true “healer” does nothing beyond taking you into the power of your own shen. And they watch in amazement at the transformation that heaven brings about through your inner essence.

When individuals come to retreat, many are confused about the concept of true healing and what fertility has to do with the heart. Many have had less than profound experiences with acupuncture. On the first day, I tell them that my intention is to bring them to a place where a shift in consciousness occurs, and that which obstructed their energy loses hold. The essence of all life, yours and your child’s, will come from that which envelops the spirit – the heart. It flows into your womb and invites life.

A  true “healer” does not hold the attitude of “I know what to do and how to do it, and I will heal you.” A true “healer” is in a sate of awe, rooted in their spirit, so it can be enlivened in you. Anything else is quackery.

Separation from Life

The first time I met my son was through the clear enclosure of his incubator, where he spent the first two weeks of his life, with tubes and IVs. Born via emergency C-section the night before, he was whisked off to neonatal intensive care while I underwent further surgery. The pain I felt in not being able to touch him, hold him, or care for him mimicked the pain of being unable to conceive him. He was in a bubble, and I couldn’t reach him. I am reminded of the pain of being separate from life every time I hold a retreat. The intense longing to touch the most precious expression of unconditional love is one of the most powerful forces I know. It is to meet life head on, scary in the intensity of its fragility.  A hopeful mother longs to bring forth life. Her attempts have failed her. Little by little, through the maze of infertility, she comes not closer to, but further away from this intimate expression, once felt to be so close at hand.

Visits to the doctor take her from hope to despair. Too old; too few eggs, too scarred, hormones too high, too low… now labs and medical procedures separate her from her hearts greatest desire. After a few IVF failures, she searches the internet. “Stay away from these foods,” sites say.  “Don’t exercise,” other well-meaning hopefuls say. Avoid alcohol, coffee, air travel, eat pure, local and organic. She now feels like these rules separate her from her child. With every suggestion, she feels like there is another barrier between her and her child.

These suggestions don’t necessarily make you more fertile; they may, however, make your life more balanced. They are not recipes to make babies. Why is it that life seems to come more easily to those who don’t try so hard? Perhaps the thickest barrier between you and your child happens to be all of the rules you are trying to adhere to in order to bring forth life. Life doesn’t adhere to rules; it defies them. Life comes to those who appear undeserving; those who eat poorly, who don’t care for themselves, who can’t afford children, who neglect and abuse them, and those who find another pregnancy a tragedy.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t separate yourself from life. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to eat a perfect diet, think perfect thoughts, feel perfect feelings, go to perfect doctors who will give you a perfectly logical diagnosis with perfectly simple treatment options. Don’t try to be perfect; in fact, stop trying at all. Trying is the separating factor. Live your life. Let your future children come to you, as you are, not how you are trying to be to control their arrival. Be who you are, how you are. Don’t separate yourself from yourself. When you accept yourself and all of life totally, as it is, the internal conflict of trying disappears.

Menstrual Phases (Part 5) - The Luteal Phase

Between 6:00 and 9:00 position of our yin-yang symbol, we enter another dynamic transition of the menstrual cycle. I consider this the most magical, and yet most invisible aspect of the fertility cycle. Yin has transformed into yang through the process of ovulation. Under the influence of LH, the follicle has transformed itself into the corpus luteum or yellow body, which secretes progesterone for a pre-programmed 14 days, or half a moon phase. This “yellow body” bears the color of earth, to which the spleen belongs, which governs the endocrine function of progesterone’s holding effect. The spleen meridian runs through the ovary. The egg has been released, the fimbria (or fingers) of the fallopian tube has picked it up, and if sperm have made it through the vaginal canal, cervical opening, up the uterus and into the tube, fertilization is possible. If fertilization takes place, one cell becomes two, and the zygote, which means “union,” splits. Here the central tai ji pole, or original chong meridian, opens to heaven, where, the Taoists describe a poetic vision as the big dipper pours the essence of the stars into the new individual to provide it the spiritual essence for its upcoming life.

The liver meridian runs through the fallopian tube.  When its qi is unobstructed, fertilization is more likely. Liver qi stagnation can cause the fallopian tube to “clench”, and even may end up showing a false positive in an hysterosalpingogram.

In our reverse cycle energetic, required to create an individual through the pre-heavenly essence or prenatal creation, the liver directs its energy to the kidney, as blood feeds the essence. The kidney grasps the qi. The penetrating (chong) meridian arises from the uterus; and is the envelope through which consciousness chooses expression. According to the Ling Shu, (Spiritual Pivot, 1st Century BCE), every day of the menstrual cycle, the qi descends via the Governing meridian, one vertebral process per day, until day 21, when it enters the chong meridian, which allows the mingling of heart fire and kidney water. If the parents essence have ignited the cosmic qi (or if the cosmic qi has allowed the parents essence to ignite…) the entrance of a new soul will enter into manifestation. This is the time of implantation. The palace of the child must communicate with the embryo, which is also emitting chemicals calling for a home. The endometrium expresses proteins that let the embryo know, “you have a home here.”

Held anger blocks the liver-kidney conversion. Excessive worry and anxiety can inhibit the spleen qi’s holding ability. What can you do to help this process most? Stay out of it. Nature did not intend for your involvement at this time.

If this magical union takes place, the lung (whose highest function is “releasing”,) directs prenatal creation as it calls the corpus luteum into increased production of progesterone to uphold the embryo during the first ten weeks, at which time the placenta will take over its function.

If the cosmic qi is not ignited, the lung directs a new cycle to begin; the uterus discharges its blood and a cycle of hope is renewed.

Menstrual Phases (Part 4) – The Ovulatory Transition

Yin has reached its zenith. Accordingly, estrogen rises to its peak, performing yin functions of maximum follicular growth, maximum endometrial proliferation, production of clear, thin, fertile cervical fluid, and the cervix becomes more yin: soft, open and moving upward to the center (yin) of the body. If all of the previous functions have been met during the Yin phase (adequate and unobstructed blood, qi, and essence,) a cascade of events occur throughout the body in response to these yin cues. The hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone, which will cause the mature follicle to discharge its egg and turn into a corpus luteum. This process is governed by unobstructed liver qi, directed by the lungs. If the process is unobstructed, as these internal energies rise, there is a concomitant rise in libido, as she feels a magnetic draw to her partner. Believe it or not, your most fertile time is when you feel sexiest. Pay attention to this, rather than an ovulation predictor kit. It is far more reliable. This is the summer of the seasonal solar cycle; the full moon of the liunar cycle. The spleen has produced the blood, its qi has lifted it to the heart and pericardium, where it is endowed with the life giving powers of heavenly essence (tian gui), and it is now directed to the liver and then to the uterus via the kidneys. This process can be inhibited by having a “heavy” heart, laden with depressed, repressed, oppressed, suppressed emotions and resistance to life circumstances. This inhibits the true expression of who we are and how we interact in life, and thus inhibits internal movement. The heart receives and interprets sensory input via the hypothalamus, which could be seen as occupying the spleen’s ascending power to the heart and pericardium. This process advises the entire HPO axis whether or not life is ready to be received within.

Guilt, anger and frustration stagnate the feedback that rises to the hypothalamus via the governing meridian. The “wei” qi or protective energy increases and moves inward toward the center, to keep out pathogens during fertilization. A woman may feel sick during this time if her wei qi is low. If the liver qi is obstructed, she may feel breast tenderness, irritability, and anything but the usual rise in libido. Ovulation may not be not smooth, and the cycle may be out of sync during this time.

Your energies are maximum during this time. If there is stagnation, you likely do not feel well during ovulation. If you don’t have signs of obstruction, your moods are likely enhanced, and you may have higher energy levels. Feel free to increase exercise during this time. Run, bike, dance kick-box – whatever you love. Drink milk thistle or peppermint tea if you have liver qi stagnation. If you have a lot of repressed emotions, practice getting them out physically. Stomp, scream and slap the blockages out of your system. Hit a tree with a branch. Hit a punching bag.  And those of you have been on retreat with me, perform the boulder exercise.

Fertile Soul of YOGA is Now Available!

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Resetting The Cycle of Hope vs. Despair

No matter what your TCM diagnosis is – kidney yin deficiency, dampness, blood stasis… when the pattern of imbalance is addressed, we also need to address the mental pattern of effort and frustration as an inherent aspect of the fertility journey. I have had three children. Each began with a dream, as a gift from beyond; but not one of them came through my efforts to bring this dream into actuality. They came of their own accord. The only thing that got in my way, causing my state of “in-fertility” were my efforts to control or to think that I could bring about their coming. This trying blocked off the light of spirit and depleted my yin, as I wound myself deeper and deeper into frustration and despair.

Remember when you first visited the possibility of having a child? Most often, hope was high, and effort was low. There might have been a great amount of excitement as you looked toward the possibility of having a child. Yet, when desire itself did not bring forth the results you expected and time went on, hope dwindled and you tried harder.

This is the typical cycle of hope becoming despair, and effort resulting in frustration. There comes a crisis point at which your body/mind goes into a state of panic. It seems that no matter what you do, nothing happens. Frustration mounts. When trying results in frustration and hope results in despair, the human condition cannot continue for long without building up an immense reserve of stress hormones. This cycle itself interferes with conception. The cells become less receptive to hormonal cues. Adrenal hormones rise as the reproductive hormones take a back seat. We are in crisis.

Regardless of where you are on your fertility journey, you simply cannot go back in time to try to recreate a false sense of hope. You cannot fight what is - your inner truth and wisdom won’t allow it. Yet, when you find yourself in a state of despair, don’t fight it. Feel the feelings that are associated with despair and frustration. Usually this state is bound up with fear, worry, anger, and grief. When you can feel these feelings, then you can move beyond them. Be where you are, as you are, how you are. Then the system can be reset. Frustration unwinds and hope can shine through again. Hope is already there, moment to moment. It is not something that we can create in the future. We lose sight of present hope when we are trying to figure out how to have hope again.