The Great Pretender: True Cold False Heat

09 November 2009 0 comments

It happens to the best of us.  We push and push and push.  We think we are fine.  We think we are more than fine.   We think we are strong.  We look strong.  We act strong. We are "doing it all".   We have boundless energy...

Then, one day, the bottom falls out.   We collapse, we burn out, we break down, we get scary diagnoses.  Everything falls apart.

On the surface, we look solid, we feel solid.  But we are, in many ways, like an Easter Egg or one of those hollow chocolate bunnies:  bright and shiny and solid on the outside.  Inside, totally empty.

In truth, we don't see it coming.  We feel untouchable.  We get arrogant.  It's really not our fault.  We can't see the future.  And yet...

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is an excellent description for this pattern...which describes perhaps yourself and many people you know.   

We call it "True Cold, False Heat".

When we say "true cold..." we mean that what is below the surface...that which is not readily apparent in our energy, is depletion, exhaustion.   It is how we feel very early in the morning, when we are lying in bed.  No one but us really know the truth about ourselves -- and we would never let on, because most of us have a great deal of ego invested in our ability to "get it done", "be productive", "appear seamless, perfect".   We don't rest...we stop at Starbucks for yet another Skinny Latte or Green Tea Frappuccino or Caramel Macchiato...whatever we can get to prop ourselves up.   

Sounds familiar, eh?

We seem to have some sort of vested interest in "appearing" fantastic...when we really belong in bed.  So...False Heat...."False Heat" refers to the image we project...the one we work very hard to project, in fact, that we are vivacious, a busy bee, productive, fantastic, "professional".   It is a fabulous facade.  It serves our purposes, helps us to "get our life done".

We are standing -- on quicksand.  We are running on empty.

One of my students once said that, like little children, we as adults don't realize how wound up we are -- until we finally let down.   This is absolutely true.   Also like little children, we get the most wound up when we are very tired.   Do you remember how little children get crazy-wound-up when they are overtired, just before they fall asleep?   Well, my friends, that is all of us.

The more fatigued we get...and we don't even realize it...the busier we get.   Our minds zoom and zoom like little engines...engaging us in more and more activities, projects.   But we are headed for brick walls.

We are Great Pretenders.  Of course acupuncture and Chinese herbs can rescue you.  We, in my field, have helped many Pretenders.  But is more than that.

I am sorry to say that if you keep on doing what you have always done...then you will always get what you have always gotten.    Start by turning down the cell phone.  Let it vibrate all it wants...and you can pick up the messages when you are good and ready.   Close your office door...close your eyes for fifteen minutes.    Close the laptop and give yourself a break.

 Walk outside and look at a tree for five minutes.   Then the next day, increase by another five minutes...and so on.  You should have 30 minutes per day with nature.   You don't need to be a marathon just need to connect.

Go to bed one hour earlier and get up thirty minutes later.   "Curb Your Enthusiasm" can certainly wait until the weekend.    Eat more nourishing cooked foods and stews, especially in winter..and fewer "light" foods like frozen yogurt/ice cream, icy drinks, raw salads.

You will find that as soon as you "take your life back" that your mind will begin to slow down.   Your stamina will begin to improve.  You will not need so much coffee, so many stimulants.  But most importantly, you will begin to fill up that vessel...that ridiculously empty vessel...that you have become.

All this is true.

Longevity, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is what happens when you nourish yourself daily, when you live your life in measured amounts.    Energy is like money.   If you spend all you have and save nothing, then you will have nothing.  

Health is the result of small, consistent behaviors which build up over time.  Nourishing yourself with good food, balancing your life, resting, saying "no" to set limits on your energy.

In this should save -- your energy.

You should save yourself.



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