Conversations from Clinic

Kidney

The next pause along our meridian journey is the Yin channel of the Water element, the Kidney. Kidney energy is like a deep well of cool water that we can draw on to sustain us when the going gets tough. It is Kidney energy that gives us stamina, endurance and will power. Not forceful willpower but more like the power that comes from waves, the tide, a river running through a water wheel or a continuous drop of water that wears away a stone after hundreds of years of constant dripping. 
Loch, Lomond
Abundant Kidney qi can cool an anxious mind or feverish body, flush out and filter impurities and moisten dryness. The nature of water is to find the lowest point like a mountain stream flowing to the ocean. In this way Kidney qi acts as an anchor, giving us weight so we don’t get swept away by the storms of life. 
The Kidney meridian is the deepest meridian in the body starting from the sole of the foot, running up the inside of the calf, through the back of the knee and along the hamstring muscles at the back of the leg. It passes through the centre of the body and ends at the top of the chest, just under the collar bones. Kidney qi governs the bones including bone marrow and the spinal cord, the internal reproductive organs, the endocrine system, hormones, the brain and the teeth

The first point on the Kidney Channel is called Yongquan which can be translated as Gushing Spring or Bubbling Spring referencing the role it plays in helping us access the fountain of cool, clear water energy. In English we call it Kidney 1. Applying pressure to Kidney 1 int he sole of the foot can help anchor your energy, dispel fear and calm the mind.

The hours associated with the Kidney meridian are between 5pm and 7pm. If there is one thing we can do to support our Kidney energy it is to take some restudying that time, preferably with feet up, eyes gently closed and mind not engaged with any other activity. Even five minutes can offer a pause, an acknowledgement to self that you are listening to your body and not using willpower to over ride the natural ebb and flow of available energy throughout the day.

In Melbourne, Australia it is now almost dark by 5pm as we move towards the Winter Solstice on June 21st. We have four weeks to do our preparations, clear any residual clutter from our space or schedule (an autumn activity) and make room for more sleep and quiet contemplative time over the cooler months. 

Winter is the season associated with Kidney. Energy is directed inward, all focus on nourishing the seeds that lie deep within. Like seeds, our Kidneys are the storehouse of our energy and the energetic blue print we inherited from our parents and our parents’ parents and their parents before them…This storehouse of inherited energy needs to last the whole of our life. We can preserve this energy but not really increase it. Some devout qi gong practitioners can cultivate more qi then they expend but for the rest of us it’s best to assume that the amount is finite and act accordingly. 

You may be familiar with the terms, ‘adrenal fatigue’, ‘high cortisol’ and ‘burn out. Western science knows that these conditions can occur when people have used their will to push beyond what is a sustainable level of exertion for them. This can be either physical overwork or mental exhaustion from life long stress and fear responses to external situations. 

As we move towards longer nights and shorter days, even though our community is opening up with more social activity, now is not the time for burning through our reserves of energy. For many this has been a period of high stress that will require a continued period of introspection to recover from.

Now is the time for dreaming, for sowing the seeds of ideas that will blossom in spring. Learning to listen to your body and responding to its call for rest will nourish and sustain you at a deep level like spring water filling a natural pond. There are many treasures to be found in the depths of silence and rest if we have the courage to take the plunge. 

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