Response Ability

A pivotal moment in my early 20s, having recently been diagnosed with an auto-immune condition, was when a healer-friend said to me, “Amira, this is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.”

His words moved me out of blaming myself and also away from wanting something outside of me to “fix” what was wrong, and into a new relationship with myself. Taking responsibility for my dis-ease changed my life. In hindsight, I could see ways I had co-created the conditions that allowed my health to shift out of balance. As I learned to have response-ability the course of my life changed dramatically—and in ways that shifted me towards greater wholeness, wellbeing and truer expression of my deeper nature. It profoundly shaped my future career, relationships and life-choices. It continues to inform me and challenge me to this day and I imagine it will for the rest of my life.

For me this resonates with what it is to be born into white-body supremacy. It doesn’t have to be my “fault” that I was born into unjust, dehumanizing, violent, racist and sexist interlocking systems of oppression, and it may not feel “fair.” But it is my responsibility. I can see in hindsight the ways in which I have co-created the conditions that have allowed it to continue. I have the ability to respond to this systemic dis-ease and to invite my life to change dramatically in any ways that it needs to do so.

Some thoughts on keeping healthy in the time of COVID-19.

In Chinese Medicine, COVID-19 is presenting largely as what we call a “wind-damp” sickness. When dampness gets “lodged in the lungs” it can cause pneumonia and lead to complicating factors that we see in the worst cases. I have been reading reports from acupuncturists on the front-line in China, and it is very helpful to have some idea of what we may expect to help prevent serious illness.

To help boost our immune systems and “Wei Qi” (usually translated as Defensive Qi), here are some things we can all do: 

Perhaps the most important is to try to get good SLEEP. Being in bed by 9:30/10:00 pm and sleeping as deeply as possible gives us the building blocks for strong & healthy Wei Qi. Practicing sleep hygiene like pulling ourselves off of our screens by 9 pm and not doing or watching stressful things at night can really help. Meditating or spending quiet time with a loving pet or a good book can help to quiet our system down to help us sleep deeply.

AVOID “sticky” foods like sugar, dairy, and any known allergens (our body produces phlegm when we eat foods we have sensitivity to). Also limit fried foods and refined flours, as these are damp-producing. (I know for many in our culture these are “comfort foods,” but if you have other things that bring you joy it’s worth it to find other means of comfort right now!)

Limit over-stimulating and dehydrating drinks & treats like coffee, alcohol and chocolate, as staying hydrated is key. DO drink lots of room-temperature water daily.

Eat regularly and take your time. Our Wei Qi is supported by meals of cooked, warming foods like soups and stews, cooked veggies, and healthy proteins. Adding some ginger into your cooking is a great idea too. Ripe fruits like pears and nuts like almonds are also great for our lung qi.

Avoid overeating, and limit the amount of cold raw foods and juices you consume to help your Wei Qi stay strong.

It looks like it will be a damp and breezy week or so in the Triangle. So when you go outside be sure to stay dry and keep from getting a chill and giving your immune system an unnecessary challenge. Keep yourself warm and dry. Use a blow dryer when you get out of the shower and keep comfortable layers close at hand when going outside or exercising. Particularly keep the throat/neck area covered (wear a scarf!) and be sure to stay dry (use raincoats and umbrellas if you have to be out in the rain). 

Slow down & EXHALE. Remember that to allow full exchange of air we need to gently let the “stale air” out first. Exhaling quiets our nervous system and allows fresh air in. Think of it like opening a window to air out a room. Yes, please do be mindful of where you are and who is around!

Find at least one thing a day to do to bring yourself a little joy! Having a laugh, or a ginger tea, or a cuddle, or a cry—whatever it is that helps you connect to the deeper joy within.

The Emergent Quest: A Soulcentric Purpose Journey

The first offering (starting 9/15/19) coming out of our new “retreat” center in the woods of Hillsborough/Chapel Hill will be a deep dive of discovery and walking the authentic initiatory journey. Simon will be leading this 3 month journey and I will be taking the class! Come join us if your heart calls… More at

Childhood Trauma Leads To Lifelong Chronic Illness by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

A personal account and a important call for Western medical care:

But shouldn’t physicians consider the whole patient – body and mind – so that they can suggest behavioral health tools that will alleviate both the root causes and the symptoms of disease? When physicians help patients come to the profound revelation that childhood adversity plays a role in the chronic illnesses they face now, they help them to heal physically and emotionally at last.

Full article here

HuffPost video inspiration

I love turtles… But this is a good little video. Good to remember to  let the turtles have the rounded shells, while our amazing structure and biotensegrity means we do not have to be slumped over our desks!  No need to struggle into what they are calling “power posture” either by the way. You can find your easy upright support that you had when you were a child. Don’t know how? Alexander Technique can help  you in re-discovering your natural ease!


Acupuncture AND Alexander Technique – together in research!

I’ve been meaning to share this news for a while… In November of last year, suddenly I was getting emails and facebook messages from other acupuncturists and friends about a new study just released for neck pain. Why was everyone sending it to me? Because for the first time (that I know of), a new study included both Acupuncture AND the Alexander Technique in its research—and both came out shining.

Read more here: Acupuncture & Alexander Technique for Neck Pain, Time Magazine

“People who practiced acupuncture or the Alexander Technique had greater pain reductions than those who got standard treatment”

I didn’t need to read a study to know that these work—for over a decade I’ve been witnessing it myself! But it’s still fun to read about it! For more specifics on the study mentioned:

Amira Interviewed on “Thank You 10”

In November I sat down at the Center of Wellness with Gregory DeCandia, host of ‘thank you 10,’ and actor in the Professional Actors Training Program at UNC, as part of their podcast “Body of Work Volume II.” It was great fun hosting and chatting with Greg at the Center, and I am happy to share this podcast here with you! 

(I’m the second guest, starting around 11 minutes 45 seconds into the podcast)
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