How a river cuts a rock

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What do Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jordan, George Washington, Muhammad Ali, Bob Marley and Will Smith all have in common? 

(no it’s not that they all have male genitalia, but I think that is also correct)

Scientist, Nerd, Activist, Athlete, Politician, Fighter, Musician, Actor – each excelling in completely different domains yet all had the capacity to muster the tenacity to be brilliant, despite poor odds.

Like water cuts into stone over years of flowing over it to carve out beautiful river passage ways that we flock to for survival and peace of mind – it is with patience and steadfastness that anything worthy of greatness is accomplished. How would the world be different if any one of those influential men had given up on their hopes and dreams?

Traditional Chinese Medicine describes this as an aspect of the spirit called Zhi or Willpower and it is represented by the Water Element (can’t make this shit up!). I categorize it as a critical desire of the mind to persevere: to continuously choose a loving perspective in the face of fear; to improve your relationship to your higher self; to shift in thought for overall betterment.

When functioning optimally, this facet influences the effort to accomplish goals, it controls memory and the ability to go with the flow of life.

It is affected by: fear of the known or unknown, feeling stuck or unable to see the bigger picture and your role in the grand scheme of things.

Signs of imbalance include: phobias, memory loss, procrastination, avoidance.

You can support this area by developing self-awareness. Start with your strengths, if you don’t know them try personality testing, astrology, discussing with friends and family, then move on to meditation and conversations to understand why you do the things you do and what you truly want out of life. Embrace aging with grace, gratitude + acceptance, trust your fears and listen to them instead of avoiding or suppressing the emotions that come up.

Chinese medicine encompasses not only the mental, emotional and spiritual parts of what it means to be human but also insists that an imbalance occurring in one of these areas can and will bleed into the physical realm causing symptoms there as well. This is often when a person finally decides to seek help.

Signs of excess activity: menopausal symptoms, low back pain, urinary issues (frequency, pain, incontinence), ringing in the ears, excess hair growth

Signs of weakness: infertility, menstrual irregularities, osteoporosis, bone fractures, arthritis, hairloss, alzheimers/dementia, impotence, low libido

Luckily, there are boatloads of easy things you can incorporate to help shift your system back into balance – no matter which part needs attention. I recommend getting professional help when deciding what’s best for your case and what your money, time and effort should go towards. That said, these hints should get you started:

  • At-Home Care: drink ½ your body weight of water (in ounces) every damn day, take regular baths (bonus if you add candles, epsom salts or himalayan crystals), end showers with a blast of hot then cold water for 30-60 secs, do weight-bearing exercises regularly
  • Outside Care: bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (with guidance!), hypnotherapy, swimming in the ocean, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care
  • Herbs: black cohosh, vitex, cranberry, ginkgo biloba (each has different actions)
  • Supplements: vitamin D, calcium, evening primrose oil, d-mannose 

Lastly, but not surprisingly if you read much of what I put out there, the biggest advice I have is to nurture symbiotic relationships. A healthy relationship recognizes mutual exclusivity, which means maintaining your identity while being a part of the greater whole that is the relationship. In romantic partnerships, depending too much on one another for everything begins to resemble a parent-child relationship, which kills intimacy immediately. 

Next time you have the urge to power through something – be it an annoying project, uncomfortable situation, relationship woes or overwhelming fear and worry – try to remember how a river cuts a rock; and as Will Smith has perfectly put it: “Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feeling and emotions.”

Take a breath, regain control, and keep forging on. We need you to!