We are just a week or so into the Chinese New Year, The Year of the Monkey. I love to pay attention to things, notice how they fit together. Its like painting pictures, where to some degree you get to decide the relevance of how each brush stroke will suite the whole picture, and yet the mystery keeps its grip so that we will not know what the painting looks like til it is "finished". In my years of paying attention to Astrology traditions, body work methods,  world religion studies and through worldly travels, I have enjoyed the diversity of brush strokes I witness, and the painting grows in depth all the time. 

 Recently, I taught a few Reflexology class's at the Duluth public Library.  The first one was a request of a library personnel. The second one was a request of the Lupus foundation of Minnesota  who felt like it would be a useful tool for people living with lupus, an Autoimmune disease, to manage their pain. Its a true epidemic,  Autoimmune disease in our day and age. It is potentially at the root of many if not all of the biggest illnesses we experience.  Where The immune system gets periodically stuck in overdrive. When these flareups happen the Immune system  starts to attack a  persons healthy tissue. other illnesses can result from the stagnation that happens within inflammation.  The  acute inflammation is painful, and continues to send the Immune system into overdrive, which is stressful, this stress releases a stress hormone. The stress hormone turns the immune system engine on, which is further frustrating when  the Immune system being on is what is causing the pain in the first place. so. the cycle continues.  Finding creative ways to relax, without causing more inflammation, could soften the flair ups in autoimmune situations. From what I read though, food can be a huge if not the biggest contributing factor in successful treatment. I read a very inspiring book called 'The autoimmune Solution' by Amy Meyers M.D, which had a whole easy to follow diet plan, that seemed good and nice to have a thorough road map to look at while exploring Inflammatory and non inflammatory foods.   Pain management is something we are all dealing with, some more than others. When the Doctors don't have easy answers we are left to learn, search and find out for ourselves. This takes a certain amount of will power and strength, as well as attention.

Reflexology is an age old Therapy that has roots back to ancient Egypt, although its relatively well known presence in our world today, is really only in the past 100 years or so.  It is a Theory that by applying pressure to points on the feet, hands and ears the whole body is able to relax. The whole body. One idea is that the nerves on the Peripheral nervous system (PNS) pass through the whole body, sending messages back and forth , on their little branch like roots, to the brain- or rather the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is the dispatch team, in the body, that processes all sensory input into the body and tells the body where it is time and space, and also holds the keys to the reigns of what we hold onto and what we let go of, energetically. The pressure on these points sends an abundance of messages to the CNS, which in turn acts like a computer when it has too much information, and just shuts off in that spot. Tension can release all along the pathway of the nerve, as it passes through every major system in the body.  

We temporarily pondered on the Solar Plexus (a nerve center that lives right below the diaphram/sternum, also associated with will power and self worth)  while working on our feet.  The Reflexology solar plexus point is right in the center of the foot, there is also one in the center of the palm of the hand, as well as the ears . The Sanskrit name for the Solar Plexus is 'Ram'. Ram is also a well known Hindu God, a Sun God, Divine Masculine flavor of the universe, if you will. Hanuman, Another Hindu God,  has the body of a  Monkey.   Hanuman is a humble servant of Lord Ram and his beloved Sita ( the divine feminine, Goddess).  When I think of Hanuman (even though I am not Hindu) , I think of humility, i think of service, unconditional love and complete devotion towards the highest good and balance of the feminine and masculine forces on the planet. A string of thoughts, connecting dots in my mind, when rubbing my solar plexus (Ram)  point, happened. Now with the chinese new year, a totally different lineage, with different theories than Hinduism found refuge in connection in my mind, to one another. some sort of estranged brotherhood.   A light bulb went off, when I saw our solar plexus lighting up with softness, and becoming bright. This inner willful sunshine, showed me that we all have the ability within us to shine brightly. And that this shining bright is no longer a desire, its a necessity for our well beings and our health. We need to be more like Hanuman. Selfless little servants to Ram, or rather, to our individual suns at the core of our being. Maybe, this year of the monkey, we will all rekindle our self worth. No matter what our God path is. May this reflection be a mirror of your highest self and well being. I believe in you.  Happy Chinese New Year to you!