to Out on a Limb,
a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine
is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
If you have ever had the good fortune to be
treated by an acupuncturist, you have heard the word, Chi,
or Qi, as it is more traditionally spelled. Pronounced “chee,” the
closest English translation of this Chinese word seems to
be energy flow, or vitality. It seems to follow that if our
Chi is flowing (as opposed to being blocked, or stagnated,
as you might hear in an acupuncturist’s office) we are
much more likely to experience joy, in addition to good health.
Hence, the growing popularity of Qigong, an ancient Chinese
physical and mental practice designed to cultivate energy,
and Feng Shui, an aesthetic approach to design that seeks
to maximize energy flow. But what if acupuncture, Qigong and/or
Feng Shui are not available where you live? What if the cost
is prohibitive? Or what if these practices just seem too “out
there” to you? What could you do to attend to your Chi?
Well obviously, I’m not an expert on
Chinese medicine but here are a few field notes from my
experience with acupuncture:
is helpful to be aware of the “Chi Suckers” in
your life. This could be people, places, things, or situations
that suck the vitality right out of you.
that you cannot always eliminate “Chi
if you know what they are, you can take proactive steps
to modify your exposure and plan for subsequent re-vitalization.
- Sometimes the slightest alteration in your own behavior
will get the Chi flowing again.
your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed
just below the conscious level.”
I am willing to bet that without an expert’s consultation,
you might already know where there is blocked Chi in
your living environment. Piles are a big culprit. Piles
of paper, files, clothes to be put away, laundry to be
folded, to-do projects or lists, things that don’t
really belong anywhere (yet), etc. You know what it feels
like when something that has been piling up on you finally
gets cleared, don’t you? The Chi has probably gotten
loosened-up! That is the feeling to pursue. I know someone
who just can’t start preparations for a meal until
the clutter from the previous meal has been cleared.
If it is clothes that need to be put away, there may
be clothes to be given away first, to clear space (and
Chi) for new stuff.
Change is likely to stir up blocked Chi so that may
be part of your prescription for joy. Try listening to
a different kind of music, for a change. If you typically
read mystery novels, try a biography or poetry. Move
old stuff into temporary storage so you can try new things
in its place. Eventually, you may be ready to get rid
of the older things altogether! Re-arrange the furniture
in a room that feels particularly stuffy or flat. Open
the windows, get some air circulating, get new plants
or move old ones around. A fresh coat of paint really
can make quite a difference. Try not to resist change;
embrace it instead! Seek and enhance that which gives
you energy, and minimize that which depletes you.
you are through changing, you are through.”
Bay Area Colleagues!
I will be offering a one-day workshop for caregivers (CEUs
available for MFTs, MSWs and RNs) on Friday, October 15,
2010 in Palo Alto, California. Please mark your calendar,
and plan on joining me! Click
here for more information
on A Very Full Plate: Nourishing Your Self While Treating
Grief & Loss.
Your July 2010 Prompts for Joy
here for a good laugh, which is bound to get that
here for an intriguing flight of stairs.
Thank you, Margarita Davison and Bobbi Emel for telling
me about these Prompts for Joy.
for July 2010
one of my suggestions for change, or think of one of your
own, and try it. Pat yourself on the back for even being
willing to change. (Some people aren’t.)
I wonder if any studies have been done to determine the effects
of a beloved pet on one’s Chi. That is 6-year-old
Smarty Jones. Photograph by Bill Scala.
re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click
here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.
By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •