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Asking and Waiting: Seeking Answers to Disrupt the Disease Process of Global Warming

| 5/24/2013 10:51:00 AM

LunaSol logoI've been thinking a lot about how to affect systemic change in the face of the vast, overwhelming environmental crises facing us as a species, like that of global climate change. And my ongoing meditation about climate change, interestingly, has been shaped by my health challenges. You see, I recently discovered that I have an autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the moisture-producing glands of the body, particularly the mouth and eyes.

Because traditional medicine can’t do much to disrupt the disease process of Sjogren’s, I started seeing a Chinese medicine herbalist in April. Only two weeks into drinking an unpalatable tea twice a day, I no longer felt like I was climbing up a steep mountain in the hot sun after a night of binge drinking. My fatigue has abated, and with that, clothes have begun to be folded, strawberries planted, floors swept and mopped, and I feel like a gentler, kinder woman — some of the time at least. The effect of this herbal tea on my health has been nothing short of miraculous.

After a couple of weeks of dutifully drinking my mystery miracle potion, I asked my herbalist some questions. I learned that Chinese medicine considers Sjogren’s Syndrome, a disease characterized primarily by dryness, as a “toxic yang” condition. The metaphor he used is that my body is like a burning building, and as a consequence, the normal energetic pathways (on which health depends) are blocked. This makes for some pretty crazy, seemingly unrelated, physical symptoms, in my case ranging from having numb or tingling fingers, dental issues beyond belief, to feeling ice cold even in the unrelenting heat of the Texas summertime.

So check this out: an autoimmune condition characterized by intractable dryness and heat, resulting in seemingly disconnected and contradictory symptoms, like the sensation of cold.  If this isn’t an apt metaphor for global warming, I don’t know what is. Only we are the cells who are unwittingly attacking our shared body, planet Earth, by spraying pesticides, draining aquifers, clear-cutting forests, and boosting CO2 levels in the atmosphere with our penchant for burning fossil fuels. Our Earth is now the burning building, many natural pathways to balance blocked, causing increased temperatures and drought conditions worldwide, except for increasingly common instances of extreme weather — savage cold, rain or wind — worldwide.

Yang is the outward-looking, warming, initiating, doing principle, often associated with the sun, maleness, and the mind. The yin pole, in contrast, is the inward, cooling, responsive, meditative, being principle, often associated with the moon, femaleness, and the belly.  We all have both energies available to us, of course, but as humans and often as whole cultures, we tend to live habitually out of one energy center or the other. I’d characterize our culture as a toxic yang culture, and whether we wish to participate in the disease process of global warming or not, we can’t help but pour fuel on the fire by going about our daily lives, not unlike a confused immune system that attacks itself as a natural outgrowth of profound imbalance.

Here’s where the irony, and the hope, steps in: the secret ingredient in the herbal tea that is working wonders in me, helping rivers to run again in the desert of my body, is a powdered form of a snake, found in the South of China in the summertime. The paradise of good health — my Eden, if you will — is being restored by a snake!

5/31/2013 10:26:13 AM

I truly love this blog entry. Thank you so much.

5/25/2013 10:12:31 PM

Global warming has been canceled:

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