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WHAT IS THERE TO FEAR?, Good Hearth in Rockland, Maine

My acupuncture teacher, Dr. Chieko Maekawa, is 84 years old now and a fountain of wisdom.  She always says that our acupuncture needles are only 1% of the healing.  All the other lifestyle advice, combined with our daily choices make all the difference in our ability to heal.  So the cornerstones of immunity from last week's blog is all about the other 99% of our health.

Before COVID-19, wellness may have seemed a luxury.  These days, being of strong and balanced health is a necessity.  We do not yet know the risks ahead as public health experts argue strenuously to maintain our isolation until we have good epidemiological data while economic and political pressure mounts to re-open society. 

Tobey Williamson offers Acupuncture / Herbal Medicine / Immune Support in Rockland, Maine
Traditional Chinese Medicine Organ Correspondences

But do not fear.  Fear, as with any strong and sustained emotional response, has a tendency to throw us off balance.  Emotional balance is a cornerstone of immunity, as our emotions have direct relationships with our organs. Strengthening our will in the face of fear would be considered the keystone to wellness in Eastern Medicine.  This is because the Kidney is the source of bodies internal energy - like a battery - and its emotion is fear with its opposite attribute being willpower.

When I spoke to Dr. Maekawa the other night, she emphasized the importance of staying calm during this pandemic and not letting fear grip us.  The story of her childhood experiences living near Tokyo during and after World War II punctuated this message, and it is worth repeating. 

Good Hearth in Rockland, MaineDr. Chieko Maekawa, LA.c., DOM, PH.d. on the occasion of her 80th birthday, with my son.

When the war started in Japan, all the men in her community, including her father, were drafted.  They simply disappeared one day, never expected to return.  As long as the war continued, their honor and their emperor required that they fight to the death. 

Families, neighborhoods, and cities adjusted themselves to this new reality and moved on. 

As the war continued on there were shortages of many items considered important and necessary to everyday life.  Again the people adjusted.  

Towards the end of the war, Tokyo and surrounding areas were firebombed.  My teacher and everyone she knew lost their houses.  They lived amidst complete devastation as the government that had brought them to war disintegrated and could no longer provide direction or services of any kind.

WHAT IS THERE TO FEAR?, Good Hearth in Rockland, Maine

Tobey Williamson offers Acupuncture / Herbal Medicine / Immune Support in Rockland, Maine

Tokoyo residents and destroyed blocks after 1945 firebombing.

Somehow without shelter, consistent supplies of food and clean water and without their beloved fathers, uncles, and brothers, the people of Japan put their lives back together. 

They did this by focusing on what they did have — steeling the power of their wills against the fear they felt and doing what needed to be done every day to survive and eventually to thrive. 

At first this meant walking for miles through burned out neighborhoods to get fresh water. Caring for the sick and wounded.  Later it meant developing small garden plots and gathering seeds to grow fresh food.   Supporting others and making them smile was paramount. 

My teacher’s father eventually made it home from China after the war ended.  He was exhausted.  After years of fighting he had to run for his life from behind victorious enemy lines with no supplies.  He finally secured passage on a ship back to Japan.  The family attempted to nurse him back to health, but he died 6 months later. 

Again life went on, despite the tragedy and difficulty of their new existence.  Her family and its business at the heart of their community eventually thrived again.  Today she is a beacon of light and her clinic is a sanctuary for all who need healing.

So, when my teacher says not to fear our current situation, it carries some weight. 

Good Hearth in Rockland, Maine
Dr. Chieko Maekawa with apprentices/graduates in her Kona, Hawaii Seitai Shinpo Acupuncture Clinic.

Many of us have already lost loved ones and each of us has watched helplessly as others suffer.  Life has changed and will continue to do so.  But we have no choice but to stand up tall and do what we can to make life as good as we can make it for our families and others. 

What I have noticed is that so many people have expanded their circles of concern to include a much vaster number of people.  What is also important now is recognizing the limits of our circles of influence, beyond which our efforts and worries would be wasted energy. 

If you have an abundance of time right now, let me help you use it to your best wellness advantage.  Even more so, if you are so busy caring for others that time is short, let me help you focus some energy inward to build up your reserves.  Staying healthy and motivated helps us all be better servants.  It is in this spirit, that I am offering distance medicine and wellness coaching to strengthen our individual immunity and determine new collective purpose during this unprecedented time.

Please contact me if I can be helpful to you or your loved ones on your self-care journey to the 99% of health that is within our control during chaotic times.

WHAT IS THERE TO FEAR?, Good Hearth in Rockland, Maine