A Natter about my visit to The Land of the Long White Cloud

New Zealand national rugby union team

Image via Wikipedia

I have just returned from a trip to The Land of the Long White Cloud otherwise known as Aotearoa or New Zealand. I find NZ to be such a beautiful place not just physically but also culturally. It’s probably best known for The All Blacks, The Haka and Maori’s but for me it is an incredibly spiritual land. The Maori’s believe that most things contain “mana” – spiritual essence. Mana is within man himself, land, nature, and also man-made objects. Contact with mana contained objects or beings by non-authorised persons or objects could cause the mana to be drained away. I always wonder how you know what contains Mana? For instance I know that you should not buy yourself a piece of greenstone, it should be bought for you as a present by a New Zealander and preferably of Maori origin – I wonder if buying for yourself drains Mana?

It’s hard to spend time in NZ and not meet a lot of people as everyone is so friendly and strangers talk to you all the time which is not something I am used to living in Sydney and certainly not when I lived in London or the US. An example – I was ordering some lunch in a cafe and ordered a sandwich and bottle of water and the guy who was in the queue next to me said “I wouldn’t buy that wee bottle of water if I were you, they have a tap and glasses over there, you can get your water for free.” As soon as he heard I was an Aussie we had a 10 min talk about the World Cup and how he had hoped it was going to be a Wallabies, All Blacks final. Sat down at my table to eat lunch and the people on the table next door started chatting to me about the weather, which incidentally was bloody awful the whole time I was there – but hey, I wasn’t there for the weather, I was visiting friends. Made me think about the lack of community spirit in every city I have lived in for the past 22 years. Oh, how I miss that.

My final piece of trivia is on food, which is somewhat of a passion of mine – the food in NZ is superb because it is so fresh as they grow and use a lot of there own produce. The land is incredibly fertile and the weather differs so much throughout the whole country that the produce can be very diverse depending upon where you are in the country. I had to have whitebait fritters – just because, when in Rome! And smoked muscles and Mahi Mahi and Broad Beans (reminded me of England) and Sauv Blanc (lots of) and…..Oh the list could go on and on and on…. heaven on a plate.



Spring & The Chinese Five Elements

Representation of the Chinese five elements (w...

Image via Wikipedia

In the Chinese 5 Elements Spring sits in the Wood element and is the time of new beginnings. It’s a great time to rise early with the sun and take brisk walks which reflect the ascending and active nature of Spring. The sight of green shoots coming up from the earth and plants flowering nourishing our soul through our eyes and sense of smell. The metaphorical membrane over the eyes & mind disappears and vision becomes clearer – we see things in new ways.

It is the time of year when our appetite decreases and the body naturally cleanses itself, not only of food residues, but of excessive desire and the accompanying emotions of dissatisfaction, impatience and anger. This is a time for contacting your inner self and true nature and giving attention to self awareness and self expression.

This is the season to attend to our Liver & Gallbladder so the diet should be the lightest of the year and contain foods which emphasize the Yang – young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, immature wheat or other cereal grasses.  Salty foods should be limited and too many heavy foods clog the Liver resulting in Spring fits & fevers. Sweet & pungent foods are also good such as honey & mint tea or cooking herbs such as basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary & dill.  Most complex carbs such as grains, legumes & seeds have a primarily sweet flavour which increases with sprouting.

The Liver is perhaps the most congested of all of our organs – too much fat, chemicals, intoxicants & denatured food all disrupt the intricate bio-chemical processes of the Liver. Chinese Medicine Practitioners tell us that a healthy Liver establishes a smooth and soothing flow of energy through the whole person both in body & mind. When the Liver is harmonious there is never stress & tension. People with vital Livers are calm, have unerring judgment & can make effective leaders & decision makers. When obstructed, stagnant or over heated the energy flow in the Liver & throughout the body is hampered, which can result in a myriad of physical & emotional problems. One of the first signs of Liver disharmony is emotional difficulty relating to anger, impatience, stubbornness, frustration, resentment, arrogance or an impulsive or explosive personality. If these emotions are repressed they can lead to depression. Mood swings as well as emotional excesses are in general Liver related.

When the Liver is consistently stagnant, sediment often settles out of the bile and forms accumulations that resemble stones, sand or mud in the Gall Bladder which make it much less efficient. Symptoms of this sediment may be indigestion, flatulence, periodic pain in shoulders, neck & a bitter taste in the mouth. Most chronically ill people need Gall Bladder cleansing before recovery is complete.

As with any cleansing it should only be undertaken with the help of a professional such as a Naturopath. If you do undertake a Gall Bladder cleanse it is best to avoid foods richest in saturated fats and cholesterol. In Spring the best foods for the Gall Bladder are unrefined grains, vegetables, fruits & legumes.