Years ago, I hatched and carried out a project I called the Year of Sagely Living (YSL). The idea then was to use the flow of the organ clock as a guide for leading a more examined, more intentful life. There, I worked to find realms of life activity that seemed aligned with the energy of the various organ systems of Chinese medicine. It was fun, others got involved, and I found it to be – ultimately – a good experiment.
The fact is, though, that I didn’t get as much from it as I expected partly because the association of life areas and organ systems was artificially constructed. It didn’t flow naturally from the energy of those systems, but was an intellectual construct based on what I found to be important at the time. No big deal, but since the energy of the initiation came from me, when I didn’t feel a connection, things didn’t happen on the site.
Since early December, I’ve been thinking about doing it again. I’ve considered it, rejected, considered it, rejected it, and most recently decided to trash the idea entirely. But, then, on the social media tool I use, the Year of Sagely Living posts from way back when were again surfaced and offered to my followers on Facebook and Twitter. People are always really excited about the idea, which always surprises me. This got me thinking about it again, and I’ve decided to move forward. But, we’re going to do it a little differently here in 2016.
The changes correspond to my evolving understanding of the organ systems, and also to the fact that the project should be as flexible as possible to allow for multiple interpretations. They also very importantly correspond to the latest revitalization of the site, to inagurate what looks to be a very busy and prolific year of Chinese Medicine Central.
What’s it going to look like?
The goal will be to fully step into the energy of each organ system, exploring where the symbolism and energy moves, and how it penetrates into various aspects of life. So, intead of thinking about a static realm of activity related to, say, the Gallbladder organ system, we will instead investigate the GB deeply and see what lessons it has for our lives.
For my part, I will be committing to sharing my own observations, as well as some information about the organ systems that you may not know, or may not know in the way I know it. Of course, the best place to learn about the organ systems from a classical Chinese medicine perspective (aside from reading the classics yourself) is Heiner Fruehauf’s incredible site Classical Chinese Medicine. I highly recommend you become a member of the Associates Forum. If you like this stuff, it’s well worth it.
Every new period will begin with some basic information – some organ systems with more and some with less. I encourage you to add your own observations where you’re able. I am a big fan of the community creation of a body of knowledge. Why not here, why not now? I can imagine myself sharing information about the systems themselves, but also digressing into Chinese herbs related to the organ systems, acupuncture points, information from the Wild, social observations, and probably a few music videos. 😉
Ok, what’s the schedule?
We’re already to mid January, moving into the energy of the Liver. I’d prefer to start with the Gallbladder (partly because it’s been stalking me in my dreams) but we’ll start with the Liver. We’ll stick with a given organ system for about a month, and then move on. It won’t be precisely timed – we’ll let it flow as it flows. So, as a reminder, and with approximate dates:
- Mid January through Mid February / Liver (assume mid month transitions for all dates below)
- February – March / Lung
- March – April / Large Intestine
- April – May / Stomach
- May – June / Spleen
- June – July / Heart
- July – August / Small Intestine
- August – September / Bladder
- September – October / Kidney
- October – November / Pericardium
- November – December / Triple Burner
And then we’ll see how it goes.
Brief digression : The forums are back
Oh boy, if you’ve been around the block with me, you will be well aware of my forum struggles. I’ve used several systems over the years, and have finally found something that looks to be stable. Many of you are not “forum people” but I like having this space to discuss Chinese medicine, business, practice management and similar topics with an engaged, worldwide audience.
I don’t like Facebook and only use it for simple business purposes, and all of the other forums I’ve used have either been ugly, difficult to use, or populated with people who seem hellbent on causing trouble. So, these forums will be moderated, members-only, and I will be watching carefully to make sure that the spirit is one of mutual support, exchange, and fun. Snarkiness, grandstanding and other mean behavior will simply be deleted, and repeat offenders banned. My forum, my rules. 😉
I’m hoping you’re like me and have been looking for a place like this for a while. Newsletter subscribers and NCNM and CMC course members will be sent instructions on how to signup. This is the only way you’ll gain entry to the forums, so if you’re interested, you might want to check out a course, or for a free pass, head over to the CMC library signup page for more information.
Like I said, if you’re an existing member, you’ll be receiving an email about your access pretty soon. If you’re the impatient type, you can head to the registration page. Only existing members will be approved.
The forums and the year of sagely living
I’ll be creating a special space for people interested in the 2016 version of the YSL. We can discuss relevant CMC blog posts, share other information, and report back on our experiences. Everyone who is a member of the forums will have access to that space. It should be a nice complement to the blog posts on the site.
More on that once it’s created – if you’re a forum member you will see it appear in the list of available forums in short order.
Who knows? This project evolved quite a bit the first time it was attempted, and I’m sure the same will be true this time. Depending on my time, energy and the level of engagement from the community, it might grow new initiatives (webinars, podcasts, short videos on Periscope?). I’m very open to suggestions.
But, really, what’s the point?
We’re all so damned busy. There’s so much information, so many things to do, so many ways to engage with the vast body of information around Chinese medicine. As practitioners and students, we all want to steep ourselves in the information, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out how. This is one way, and I hope you’ll join me as we burrow into it. If not, you’ll at least get some entertaining blog posts out of the thing.
How do you get involved?
Well, comment here and say, “I’m in!” Watch your email for newsletters detailing how you can get more deeply involved, including on the forums (remember you have to be, at least, a newsletter subscriber to get into the forums). Read the blog and absorb the information, supplementing it with what you’ve already learned, and try to infuse your life with the energy of these potent symbols. But, whatever you do, enjoy it. That’s the true spirit of the YSL – thorough engagement with the fundamental information of Chinese medicine with a spirit of fun.
About Eric Grey
Hi - I'm the founder of this site and the primary master of all functions here. When I'm not writing, you can find me reaching out to the Chinese Medicine community across the web and in my own backyard. I currently teach Chinese herbs at my alma mater, the National College of Natural Medicine. Additionally, I'm the founder of Watershed Wellness, a thriving local clinic in Southeast Portland in Oregon. No matter where I'm working, you'll find my focus on the Classical approach to Chinese medicine laced throughout everything I do.