As the wildfires in California continue to rage, I’m sure every acupuncturist west of Colorado is thinking about the lungs. Not only do we recognize the importance of protecting them from smoke and chemicals, but we also view the lungs in their function of processing grief. The lungs are where we hold our pain, our loss, and just as smoke and toxins can fester in our lungs, so too can unresolved grief, contributing to asthma, allergies and even lung cancer,
As a fertility acupuncturist, my concern with unresolved grief is beginning to take on a new shape. Before I make my next statement, I’m feeling the need to underscore this: I adore my patients. I envision them as the mothers they will become long before they get pregnant. I cry with them when their attempts fail and celebrate with them when they succeed. I look forward to past patients’ holiday cards filled with their children’s joy. I hold each patient’s fertility journey with hope and love and respect.
And yet, I’ve long had to separate those feelings from my belief that our world is already overpopulated. It’s not the overpopulation in and of itself that concerns me, but the unignorable reality that we are destroying our planet.
In the past, it has felt impossible to reconcile my two passions, to hold them together, in the same space. But in my effort to breathe acceptance into this disconnect, I’m beginning to hold both realities: I love helping women conceive AND I desperately fear for my planet, my Mother Earth.
As the wildfires spread, I felt myself doing what I have done in the past: talking about the fires in despair, in horror, expressing true concern and dismay for the people who have lost their homes, their lives, feeling brief terror at the fact that I, too, live in the mountains, in a wildfire prone area, and then promptly shutting that all off so that I could move on with my life. It is almost Thanksgiving, after all, and there is just so much to do.
But this time, I am not “moving on.” I am letting myself continue to feel. With the feels, of course, comes concern about the lungs of all the people in California. My mind wanders, as it does, to the lungs of all of the women trying to conceive.
And suddenly I know in my bones that grief over the loss of our connection to Mother Energy, Mother Earth, is at the root of our infertility epidemic.
Not only do our lungs process grief, but they descend our healthy qi or energy down to our wombs. Some women are better than others at processing grief. They may process the grief of the realization that pregnancy won’t come easily for them. Some may give themselves time to process the grief of their losses, their miscarriages, their chemical pregnancies. Some may grieve the loss of the ease of their marriage, the marriage they had before their infertility journey.
But how many of us have let ourselves even touch at our grief about how we have treated the Earth?
I know many women will read this and brush it aside as ridiculous, as reaching, as just too much. The part of me that knows what it takes to function in this society knows that most women won’t give it a second thought. But if you’ve been struggling with fertility, regardless of whether it’s high FSH or PCOS or unexplained infertility or premature ovarian failure, I urge you to read on.
We MUST grieve our loss of our connection to Mother Earth. We MUST grieve our loss of connection to pure, abundant Mother Energy.
After almost 15 years of working with infertility patients, this disconnection from healthy mother energy is something I cannot continue to ignore. ALL women of childbearing age have been raised in a society that systemically undervalues the feminine. It’s important to understand that when I say feminine, it doesn’t imply female, and while there is a deeper conversation that needs to happen, in the space of this writing, I will only say that as much as we prop girls up, tell them that they can do everything boys do, be just as good as boys, can even run for president, we are also a society that doesn’t value the feminine. The #metoo movement is only one confirmation of the reality that most women have grown up without true understanding of the value and power and strength and necessity of the feminine.
True feminine strength can be ferocious. We should all have a fire raging within us.
Infertility will continue to be an epidemic in this country until we are truly able to bridge this disconnect from our Earth. I have suggested before that it probably feels impossible to be in relationship to a planet that has been decimated, but let’s try.
Imagine the earth as your connection to the “Big” Mother, healthy mother energy, the mother who has held you and supported you, fed you, sheltered you and has given of herself to you again and again, asking nothing in return.
What would it feel like to breathe into your lungs and recognize that we have been raping her repeatedly for centuries?
What if we see these wildfires (insert hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes) as her rage, her insistence that we pay attention, her insistence that we STOP? What if you let yourself feel all of that? Really feel it. And also let yourself feel your own personal grief. All the pain this fertility struggle has elicited. Your feeling of disconnection from your womb, your feeling that you’re broken, that you’ve failed as a woman, that you will never be a mother, never connect to mother energy.
You will probably fall apart.
Let yourself. Let yourself feel the brokenness.
It might take days. It might take weeks. When we really let ourselves feel ALL the grief we are holding, which includes global grief, it feels big. It can feel overwhelming.
But… it is essential.
Only once that grief is processed can we begin to feel our wombs. Only once we recognize what we have been missing can we begin to give ourselves what we need. Only once we let ourselves feel how we have rejected and undervalued Mother energy and have grieved that disconnect can we restore it in ourselves.
I want to assure each of you that you all have the capacity and are entitled to feel this Mother energy. Within each of our wombs, though lying dormant in most of us, is our deeper connection to the earth. The pulse of Mother Earth lives within us, and my belief is that the only way we have been able to function on a seriously unwell planet is to shut that pulse down.
Only once we can honor her, Mother Earth, the Ultimate Mother, in our day to day lives, can we live and thrive as fertile beings ourselves.