By Wendy Cope
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
On this Valentine’s Day I want to share one of my favorite poems with you, our friends and patients at the Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc. I enjoy it is for its simplicity.
Cultivating romance and intimacy does not have to involve grand gestures or extravagant gifts. On Valentine’s Day I encourage everyone to keep it simple. Leave a love note before you head to work, or pack a note in your partners belongings. Tell your significant other why you are grateful for them, or if something during the day makes you think of them, share it. If you have not seen your beloved for an extended amount of time (i.e. coming home from a long work day or a business trip) make sure when you see them, to stop, slow down, look deeply at your partner, and kiss them. Make it last at least ten seconds. Be open, show and express your love.
Part of romance and intimacy involves physical connection. While this can be a taboo subject, sex is a healthy part of any relationship and something we address at the clinic daily. Many things can get in the way of love and intimacy: IVF procedures and attempts to conceive can put stress on something that is meant to be fun. The joy of being physical can diminish with busy lives and challenging schedules. Familiarity in a relationship builds trust and confidence, and it can sometimes create complacency as well. Valentine’s Day can be a great time to reconnect and enjoy some intimacy!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), visualization exercises are used to strengthen and harness energy which can be used in our intimate relationships as a source of pleasure and stamina. “The Golden Circle” exercise utilizes two acupuncture meridians, or “highways” that begin and end at the roof of the mouth and the perineum, making a loop from the front to the back of the body. To begin focus your attention on your pelvic area. You can visualize this area as a bowl. Place your hands on your hips if you need to feel the sides of the bowl, your pubic bone is the front of the bowl and your sacrum makes the backside of the bowl. Imagine now that this bowl is filled with honey. Imagine that the honey can flow up the center of your body through your spine, to the top of your head. Breathe in and picture this happening with the rise of your breath. Now, as you exhale, imagine the honey drip down your spine and back into the bowl. Practice a few times with a natural inhale and exhale visualizing the honey rising to the crown of your head on the inhale and back down your spine and into the bowl on your exhale. You can take a pause and an extra breath as needed. Do not strain or feel that you have to force your breath. This exercise will harmonize the body and mind as well as help one to cultivate awareness of the connection between the two meridians. Felice Dunas’ Passion Play has this exercise and more for creating and improving sexual health and intimacy.
Many of the exercises can be done alone or with a partner. The above exercise is wonderful to do with a loved one. It involves no touching of the other person but a trust to let go and be open. Moving energy in the presence of your loved one can translate to every part of your life. In TCM, when you hold your breath, it creates stagnation. Stagnation means your physical and emotional health are stuck. When you take deep cleansing breaths and learn how to cultivate Qi you help open up space to move, change, and grow.
By Cailey Halloran, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.