by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
Throughout the month of February and especially on Valentine's Day, we're inundated with symbols and products that we've been conditioned to believe represent love -- hearts, flowers, candy, photos of lovers, and fancy dinner dates. Everything that represents Valentine's Day makes us acutely aware of the need to share love with the ones who matter most.
Interestingly, the middle of Winter during which Valentine's Day takes place is actually the optimal time to cultivate the most important kind of love; the love for oneself.
Winter is associated with the Kidneys and the Water element. Water is about contemplation, quietude and self-cultivation, all of which are necessary to build our primary energy, known as Jing, which is stored in the Kidneys. Preservation of our Jing through proper self-care and diet, as well as practices of self-cultivation such as Qi Gong, Yoga and Meditation helps slow down the aging process and prevent a plethora of illnesses and chronic degenerative diseases.
Water is the element that balances Fire according to the Five Element system of Chinese Medicine, and Fire is associated with the Heart. The Kidney's Water cools the Heart's Fire but if the Kidney energy is drained or insufficient, Heart Fire will blaze, resulting in symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart not only circulates the blood, but it also houses the spirit, known as the Shen. A nourished, settled Heart manifests as a calm spirit and mind.
When there is sufficient Kidney energy, the Heart is calm and we can sleep more restfully and feel clear and easy with our thoughts and perception of the world.
Sufficient Kidney Qi anchors the Heart Qi and helps us cultivate a feeling of self-love. As this form of love abounds, it easily flows into others.
That's why, like nearly everything else, it's so important to first cultivate love for oneself to then be able to authentically share it with others.
Practices such as Meditation and self-reflection amplify self-love and therefore nourish the Heart.
Heart energy drives our passion and creativity. By cultivating self-love, we're able to generously share love and compassion with others.
Self-love connects us to the highest form of love from our Source and when we're connected in this way, the love that we're able to share with others is limitless.
Fennel Essential Oil is a powerful natural element that can support you to cultivate self-love. While it's commonly used to promote digestion and appetite, Fennel oil also strengthens and warms the Kidneys and improves the communication between the Heart and Kidneys. In this way, Fennel can help you feel a sense of comfort and greater connection with yourself. Fennel can be used in a blend as prescribed by a healthcare practitioner and used topically along the Kidney meridian.
This Valentine's Day, take some time to reflect and be with yourself to nourish your Kidneys and settle your Heart. Remember that you have everything you need to feel loved and that your true love lies within.
Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac. is Co-Owner and Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Setareh offers clinical services and transformational workshops that blend the ancient practices of Classical Chinese Medicine and Yoga.