Yes, theres more than just “Qi”… just when you thought you had it all figured out. My apologies. But don’t freak out, seriously.
Side note: I love how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) explains things so poetically. According to TCM there are “3 treasures” made up of:
Qi– ok you’ve probably heard about this
Wait, what the heck is Jing or “essence”? Good question. So good, in fact, that we will come back to Qi and Shen some other time. Lets make it easy here and stick with one. Think of essence as what makes you, you. Even before you were born. In my opinion, I think of essence as our genetically inherited traits- our DNA blueprint if you will.
There is an interesting concept in TCM that claims we are each born with a certain amount of Jing/essence and based upon our lifestyles we can burn that up at a faster or slower rate.
We all have those friends or know someone that might have partied a bit too much in their 20’s and by 35 or so they look 5-10 years older than our teetotaling, yoga bending, gluten-free vegan friends. Odds are that that old drinking buddy of yours has burnt up more Jing than the other. Does that help wrap your head around it a bit?
Another example would be the attorney friend (or maybe its you) that works 80 hour high stress weeks with NO time for vacation or social life. By age 40 they are usually fatigued, bored and burnt the f*ck out and looking for a new career.
I can tell you from personal experience about my loss of Jing. While I love what I do, the training to do it is not for the faint of heart. At a minimum, its a 4 year graduate program. Did you know that? Mine took almost 5 because of internships. Once that is complete, I had 4 months of national licensing exams and one MAJOR California state licensing exam. All told, the entire process lasted from Fall of 2006 to Spring of 2012.
So, yeah, I was burnt the f*ck out and my Jing/essence was totally depleted. After that, I worked non-stop for 4 years building my practice. Finally, now that my practice is strong and I have instituted more work-life balance am feeling like myself again. I sacrificed some major Jing in the effort but, in my opinion, it was worth it.
So, “great”, you say. What am I supposed to do now since we only get a set amount of Jing at birth? Good news, my friends.
We can save and even replenish that burned up Jing:
Eat nutritions foods (in particular eggs, bone broth, bee pollen, kidney beans, sea vegetables, black rice, seeds- like these sesame seeds below)
Qi-building modalities like Tai Chi and Qi Gong (real talk- I admit that I am bad about doing these)
Meditation (another one that I am bad about doing- try guided relaxation podcasts or recordings on YouTube as a substitute like I do)
Self care like acupuncture, massage and chiropractic
I think the closest Western equivalent we have to this would be Adrenal Fatigue. Interestingly (and I love these comparisons) for millennia, TCM has said that Jing is stored in the Kidneys. Guess where our adrenal glands are located? On top, literally touching, the kidneys.
Adrenal Fatigue diagnosis is often downplayed by Western medicine. Its a bit obtuse from their viewpoint, I get it. But, cortisol (the hormone regulated and released by the adrenal glands) can be easily measured through a blood test.
The Chinese have known about this concept for thousands of years and finally we, in the West, are catching on.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs along with lifestyle and nutritional changes implemented at a slow and steady pace can help to break the cycle.
Sound familiar to you? I wouldn’t be surprise if it did. Its truly a pandemic in our culture. If I can assist you, Id love to give it a shot. Let me know how we can get your Jing (ok, groove) back! Or, in the meantime, focus on greater work-life balance. Take a vacation, eat healthier food and get some self-care scheduled on a regular basis.