Winter is the season of challenge for kidneys. This winter in particular, with its myriad of unsettling news and all around uncertainties, is a paroxysm we have not experienced in decades. Today, I would like to invite you to listen to your deserving kidneys.
Kidneys, together with the liver (which challenging season is Spring), are primarily responsible for the production of energy and the detoxing of the body. To use a simple image, picture the kidney-liver team as the engine of the body. Each of us is equipped with our own unique engine. Moreover, according to their maintenance levels, similar engine can produce vastly different amounts of energy when receiving the same fuel. How well the kidneys function determines how much energy we enjoy.
Allopathic, aka Western, medicine tells us that kidneys, together with other organs, control the amount of water in the body, the PH and mineral levels as well as blood pressure. Did you see Soul, the Pixar animated movie in which a soul tries to cheat the accountant of the universe by staying alive a little longer? Kidneys are like the accountant of your body, meticulous, organized and perseverant.
Chinese, aka Eastern, medicine posits that we receive our deep-seated energy from both the universe and our parents at the moment of our birth: the equivalent of what modern science calls our genetic inheritance. Kidneys hold our essence: incarnated, fallible, powerful and beautiful human beings. We all come with a unique set of gifts and challenges.
Kidneys are the witness of our lineage. They are our attachment to our parents and our legacy, be it children or a masterpiece. As the link to lineage, kidneys are fully concerned and consumed with safety and survival, ours and that of our children. An example is the mythic story of a frail mother suddenly able to lift a car to save her child. Healthy kidneys are able to summon an energy that defies understanding. To achieve this, according to Chinese medicine, they rule our bones, bone marrow, spinal cord and brain tissue.
What you are looking for is not out there,
it’s in you.
Whether we look at it from a Western or Eastern view point, we might say kidneys rule our core physicality. Unfortunately, keeping up with the pursuit of goals set by society for an accomplished adult (the perfect partner, career, house, family, car– and don’t forget to always be pleasant and smiling) can sometimes feel like a race and it’s easy to go on overdrive. This is different from what we experience during a common cold. For that, a good diet and a few days of rest and that fatigue is soon forgotten. This other “race” can lead to deep adrenal exhaustion and take years to overcome. Listening to the kidneys allow us to balance personal needs and output, manage energy levels and never approach the depletion territory.
An empty tank will take you exactly nowhere.
Take the time to refuel.
Find a quiet space, sit or lay down. Allow your mind to stop racing and join you in this moment. Witness your breath slowing down and becoming deeper. Are you actually allowing the seat/mat/bed to support you or are you still hovering above them? If you are still hovering, would you choose to trust the physical support beneath you to welcome you?
Once you are settled, bring your attention to your lower back. With your intention or your hands, cradle your kidneys on each side of your lower spine. Using your breath and intention to connect you to your kidneys, listen to their song. Sense their mood. Is it a faint one, smothered by a giant to-do-list or a barrage of the latest unsettling news? Is it a busy mood, meticulously taking stock and demanding to be aware of all things and processes? Is this voice powerful, confidently in control, engaging all resources in the pursuit of your dreams?
You cannot pour from an empty cup,
take care of yourself first.
Allow for an intuitive answer from your kidneys. If the busy mind comes in with a story or an explanation, gently thank your mind, let it go and ask the question again to your kidneys. The answer may slip in as a shy murmur, barely perceptible. You may wonder if you are making it up. Trust it. What is there to lose?
It is fine if there is nothing to report. This area might be frozen, and your awareness locked out of it. This is a common experience. Act like a good friend hanging out with your lower back. Be neutral, let go of any judgement or agenda. Let this area know that you are present. Witness any subtle changes. Still nothing happening? Come back tomorrow and the day after, and after and…
Do not be discouraged. Organs are like people; they love genuine attention and care. What you observe is never the same day to day, just like a river. Soon, you will notice changes in the area and find yourself in a deep “kidney-felt” conversation.
When you feel you are done, thank your kidneys for this moment you spent together and for what they shared and made you feel. Still using your breath and intention as a vehicle, feel your feet on the floor/bed, etc., and reconnect with the earth and your environment. Journal about your experience and, if you so feel inclined, share it with us.
Above all, be gentle with yourself during these explorations. If you need support, remember to reach out. We, as human beings, are social creatures that thrive with connection. Manual Therapy and Distance Healing are available for you to deepen this conversation with your kidneys and finally get rid of this back pain, low energy or issues concentrating. These are powerful times to release old patterns and habits and form new ones more supportive of you.
Self-care is about giving the best of you
instead of what is left of you.