November 25, 2009 at 10:52 pm 2 comments

Okay, maybe it’s a cliche, but please indulge me: it’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m thinking about gratitude. I have to admit, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because it’s so straightforward — food, abundance, friends and family, and the intention to appreciate what we have.

Strangely, although there is extensive writing about the emotions in Chinese medical literature, I’ve never seen a reference to gratitude. This got me curious. TCM literature does tend to talk more about “negative” emotions (joy is the only one of the 5 main emotions that a person would choose on purpose; the others being anger, fear, sadness, and worry). I started wondering, then, if gratitude is the opposite of one of these emotions.

So I googled “opposite of gratitude” to get some ideas (don’t you love the internet?). Up came everything from the obvious “ingratitude” to answers like frustration, resentment, irritability, jealousy, unworthiness, and greed. All of which can be summed up, perhaps, by “wanting things to be other than how they are.”

This we do all the time. I mean, who can help it? And it’s good to know when things are wrong and need to change, or when we have aspirations beyond our present circumstances. It’s also good to know how good we have it, and to make a point of enjoying every single thing that is right and healthy in our lives.

At least one modern scholar of Chinese medicine attributes most disease to Liver qi stagnation, which occurs when our desires are frustrated and we don’t get what we want. Nothing is going to stop that from happening; but opening ourselves to appreciation does relax the mind, and allow qi and happiness to flow more readily. (A really good meal doesn’t hurt, either.)

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for all my clients, coworkers, and mentors who make my acupuncture practice possible; the opportunity to do work I love and to see people heal and thrive every day; my students, who keep me on my toes, and the school that allows me to teach; family and friends who love me and look after me; the fact of having a home, food, clothing, and basic safety; and all the beauty, riveting and subtle, in the world around us. To name a few things… 🙂

Thanks to all of you for being part of my work and my world!


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bridgeout  |  November 25, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I love it!

  • 2. myacupuncture  |  November 26, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Thanks! I love your gratitude list, too.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!


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