Body Clock

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is an organ clock that represents the time of the day when each organ is functioning optimally and has the most energy. There are 12 organ systems and 2 accessory systems that are represented by this clock. Each organ system is also associated with an emotion, taste, sense organ, season, etc. but this is beyond the scope of this article. Here we will discuss the physical and emotional symptoms that arise if an organ is out of balanced. But keep in mind that if some of the symptoms don’t make sense (ie. kidney imbalanced showing up as premature greying of hair), just know that TCM is a highly developed and intricate form of medicine that differs from Western medical diagnosis.

Here is a brief discussion of the organ systems with their corresponding times, and how imbalances in these systems may arise both physically and emotionally.

3-5am Lung: The lung is responsible for moving the qi (energy) through the meridians and to the entire body, as well as providing immune protection. It is also emotionally associated with grief. You may find that wake up during these times if you are struggling with grief or sorrow. Imbalances may also show up as wheezing, coughing, asthma, or getting sick easily.

5-7am Large Intestine: This is the best time to have a bowel movement. The large intestine is all about ‘letting go’ physically and emotionally. Symptoms of malfunction include constipation, dry stools, skin rash, and feeling emotionally ‘stuck’ .

7-9am Stomach: The stomach’s function is digestion & breakdown of foods, so this is the best time to eat a healthy & hearty breakfast. If out of balance, symptoms that may arise include acid reflux, stomach ulcer, and bad breath.

9-11am Spleen: The spleen extracts nutrients from food, transforms it into energy and transports it to other organ systems. During this time, you can support the spleen by having a nice cup of warming tea, or a light snack. Foods that support the spleen include cinnamon, yam, dates, and lentils. Imbalances may show up as loose stools, bloating after meals, craving sweets, and low energy.

11am-1pm Heart: During these hours, it is best to relax, take a siesta, and enjoy lunch. The heart dislikes heat (emotional & physical), so try to avoid caffeine, stress, intense exercise, or anything that raises your blood pressure. Symptoms of imbalance are palpitations, shortness of breath, cold hands & feet, and insomnia.

1-3pm Small Intestine: The small intestine separates the clear and turbid fluids, and moves these to the urinary bladder and large intestine, respectively. If you haven’t drank enough water during the day, you are more likely to feel dehydrated during these times. When out of balance, conditions that may arise include duodenal ulcer, bloating with vomiting or gas.

3-5pm Urinary Bladder: This is a time of the day when you can feel a dip in energy levels, especially if you are not well-hydrated. The urinary bladder stores & secretes urine (clear fluid), and is nourished by salty foods so having a bowl of brothy soup, such as miso or veggie broth, during this time helps strengthen the bladder (and the kidney, which is it’s paired organ). When out of balance, you may experience burning when urinating, yeast infection, or urinary incontinence.

5-7pm Kidney: The kidneys are responsible for healthy reproduction, development, and growth. Some activities that support this are to have a healthy meal (but not too large) with a little salt for flavoring and love making, which keeps your kidney ‘essence’ strong! When the kidney meridian is out of balance, symptoms that may arise include sexual difficulties, low back pain, or premature graying of hair.

7-9pm Pericardium: This is one of the accessory organs systems. To support the pericardium, this is the time to do something gentle to help you ease into sleep, such as meditation, light stretching, reading, or cuddling.

9-11pm San Jiao (Triple Burner): This is the second accessory organ system. During this time, to best support San Jiao, we should think about going to sleep during this time – having an earlier bed time in the winter, and staying up a little later in summer.

11pm-1am Gall Bladder: Physically, the gallbladder stores and excretes bile, but emotionally, it is in charge of self-esteem and decision-making. If you’re not sleeping by this time, you are depleting your gall bladder’s energy stores, which over time, can lead to poor self-esteem, poor judgment, or difficulty digesting fats.

1-3am Liver: The liver’s role is to store blood for menstruation and to get us through the day. If you’re not sleeping at this time, you can quickly become deficient, especially if you are female because of the importance of blood for menstruation (even for those going through menopause). The liver is also emotionally connected to anger. You may find that you wake up between 1-3am if you have repressed anger or long standing resentment. Symptoms of liver imbalances include irregular menstruation, anemia, chronic fatigue, and headache.


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So why is it that we can’t seem to fall asleep, or why we wake up during the night and can’t stay asleep? Traditional Chinese medicine says the answer to that depends on specific times a person continually wakes up during the night.

Based on this idea, the different organs of your body stimulate specific emotions and spiritual states.

Sleep is highly valued and is a crucial aspect of our physiological well-being in Chinese medicine. One theory utilized by physicians to explain our sleep cycle is shen, which describes thought, state of consciousness and mental functions.

Our bodies were designed to follow a natural rhythm, and shen follows closely with that. It’s meant to remain dormant at night as we rest, and then become alert and excited during our daytime functions. When restlessness occurs during the time we’re supposed to be sleeping, our shen is over stimulated, thus causing sleeping problems.

If you’re regularly waking up around the same time each night, don’t ignore your body’s signals. Depending on when you’re roused from sleep, the organs in your body are trying to communicate with you.

Here’s what it means when you wake up during the night:

Trouble falling asleep between 9 PM and 10 PM: You’re stressed.

Stress seems like it’s practically a household term at this point. We’re constantly thinking about ten things at once and are expected to execute them perfectly. Yikes! When you lay your head down to rest, thoughts may be cluttering your mind that prevent you from getting a full night’s rest. Work troubles, getting the kids up for school in the morning, making time to maintain your health and exercise, the list goes on and on…

It’s recommended to combat this by practicing nightly meditation. This isn’t just for the gurus — you can definitely do it too. Meditation allows your body to enter into a state of peace and serenity, helping you to wind down from a stressful day. You can start by listening to a half-hour of calming music before bed. This helps to slow down your brain activity in preparation for a long night of rest. Additionally, take slow, deep breaths to slow down your heart rate.

Waking Between 11 PM And 1 AM: You’re experiencing emotional disappointment.

Traditional Chinese medicine attributes this time period to the gallbladder, which is part of what controls our emotions. Chinese Medicine Living states that the gallbladder is in charge of our passion for life, action, and assertiveness. When the gallbladder is balanced, we feel happy and content. But if you’re experiencing a lack of passion, problems with decision-making, or timidness, your gallbladder is out of sync.

Waking Between 1 AM and 3 AM: You’re angry.

Did your boyfriend forget to put away his dishes for the hundredth time? Did that annoying chick from work gloat about a job promotion in front of you? Did someone cut you off while driving to work this morning? Yeah, you’re angry.

Anger is associated with the liver. When we have feelings of resentment that go unexpressed, they build up over time in the liver. So when you try to sleep through the night, your body reminds you of this nagging sensation night after night.

In order to overcome this, it’s important to recognize your need to express emotion. When we let our feelings out, we have the ability to strengthen relationships as well as release negative energies from residing within our spirit. Holding it in leads to a constant heavy burden that will resurface at night during resting periods.

Waking Between 3 AM and 5 AM: A Higher Power is trying to tell you something.

This is the time when the lungs are most active. In traditional Chinese medicine, the lungs are responsible for moving energy through the entire body, as well as providing immune protection. They’re also known to signal states of depression and grief.

If you’re going through a difficult time in your life and can’t seem to overcome the grip it has on you, you may do well to explore the possibility of a higher power speaking to you. When you wake up during this time, take a moment to relax, breathe, and pray through the saddened moment.

Waking Between 5AM and 7 AM: You have emotional blocks.

When you wake up during the night at this time, your intestine is overactive. As a member of an imperfect world, you’re going to get hurt sometimes. Troublesome experiences can lead to drawing inward and relying on yourself, rather than risk it all to get hurt again. If you have trouble opening up to other people or can’t let things go, you may have an imbalance in the large intestine.

The basic purpose of the intestine is to receive waste and dispose of what we don’t need in our bodies. The physical function of this organ is closely tied to that of the spiritual aspect. The emotional purpose of the intestine is to “let go of those things that don’t serve us.”


The World Around Us

Something is very strange and weird about the world around us. It’s flooded with characters that act in a way that makes no sense at all. And why do I think so? Well, here you go with my reasons –

We are born in a world that is given to us for free, but we have drawn boundaries and divided ourselves into groups. Let’s not even get into the types of segregation we have all over the world. We are all one but trying to be many.

We are brought into the world by our parents but it is those parents who we tend to ignore and take for granted and hurt the most at times. We are the fruits that give a shit to their own roots.

We get into friendships and tag people as good friends and best friends and what not, but with time we see the tags remaining there as constants and the tag holders keep changing. Then there are acquaintances, relatives, just-friends, colleagues, neighbors and many other such people who enter and exit your lives at their own convenience for their own good reasons. You are used, reused, and abused by one and all.

We keep falling in and out of love but very rarely do we rise in love by becoming a more forgiving and evolved person. We cause trouble to the very person we love, we get hurt at the drop of a hat, and one word or one deed has the power to end it all. So much for our never-ending love that we promise to each other 😉

We keep finding flaws in people or judge them for how they conduct themselves, but do not understand that we are all imperfect in our own ways. Just a matter of close observation you know, provided you have a good vision. Oops, you could be imperfect!

There are people who cheat, people who deceive and rob others of their money and lives. And for what? Just for some pleasures that are not going to last long. Even the misery caused to others may not last long.

Nothing would last long enough. The Universe doesn’t care. So I wonder, why does man care so much? Why can’t we create a world for ourselves where we just don’t think too much, and instead we live too much? Just live too much.

I wish for such a world around us. Amen!


U.S. Travel – Things to Remember (Part 1)

(This post is more for those who are travelling to the U.S. for the first time. Frequent visitors won’t find much to look forward to.)

All set for your travel to the U.S.?

Well, not exactly, until you are aware of some of the things mentioned below.

  1. Do not carry lot of luggage other than some essentials like clothes, winter wear, gadgets, chargers, travel adaptors, important documents, forex, and of course visa and passport.
  2. Do not carry food items that are prohibited. Check the link for further details.
  3. Do not carry too many utensils and stuff. It’s worthless because you will get all of it here and not at a very high price.
  4. Take care of your existing mobile and internet connection. Stop the services or put them in safe-custody well in advance.
  5. Carry a credit card
  6. Download and register on banking apps like isafe which will ensure that you do not face hassles with OTP generation while you are out of the country.
  7. Buy a temporary SIM for US if you do not mind spending few bucks and save some energy in finding a new connection as you land in U.S.
  8. Always book flights with a good transit time of 3 hours in case there is a connecting flight. Many a times the flights get delayed and if you do not have sufficient transit time, you will end up missing the connecting flight which will lead to further delays and compromises.
  9. Get some idea on the immigration process as well as the security procedures at international airports. You will lose a good amount of time figuring out things if you do not have some basic awareness about the processes involved.
  10. Do not take cab services in U.S. unless they are not from a professional service. You will meet a lot of cabbies at airports who will try to be helpful but will charge you exorbitant prices, sometimes as high as 10 times the actual price. Especially in New York, be very careful while picking a taxi. Thumb rule – avoid those approaching you for a cab, instead look for professional services available at the airports.

Okay!! So reached the U.S.? Welcome to America!

But there are more things to remember post your arrival. Yeah, it can be overwhelming at times.

(to be continued)


Friendships with Frangers

So I have been thinking about this thing called Friendship. The common definition for it is –

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.

Mark the keywords here – ‘mutual affection’ and ‘interpersonal bond’

Do we see such friendships more often? We claim to have good friends and great friendships but many fail to live up to this basic definition. A large number of our friends are not really friends but people wearing the garb of friendship and hanging around for their own selfish reasons. I have had friends who –

  • extracted money out of me for their own benefit
  • borrowed money and didn’t care to return back on time as promised
  • would act all sweet and nice if they have some work and become strangers once the work is done
  • considered me good only as long as I would agree to their perspective about things
  • never stayed in touch once out of the city or country
  • cared to connect only at their convenient time and would forget otherwise
  • would impose their decisions/choices and would disengage if I resist

I wonder how many real friends do I have. Maybe one. Maybe a couple of them. That’s it?

So what do we call these people in our lives who are neither strangers nor friends (but act as friends). How about coining a new word for them? Frangers!

I wish well for all the friends and the frangers, but I wish we come across more friends than frangers.


There are times when you feel so empty that you wonder what is missing in your life. You may compare your situation with others and find your life very miserable. Probably those are the times when emptiness overwhelms one and they decide to end their life. And probably those are the times when resolutions are made to overturn things. Probably those are the times when either you die or get reborn.
But why do we feel empty? Are we like some vessel that needs to be full all the time which otherwise is of no use? What fills us up – people, emotions, feelings? And how does emptiness creep into us? Guess the following are the triggers for emptiness –
  • When someone ditches you
  • When people make you feel unwanted
  • When you are constantly misunderstood
  • When you have no one around you who matches your frequency
  • When people who matter to you are gone
  • When you find yourself as a misfit
  • When people don’t reciprocate the love that you have for them and instead use you for their growth or entertainment
  • When things just don’t work your way and life seems to be unfair
And so on…
I guess these triggers pretty much cover everything. At least for me…as I have experienced all of them. But has any of this led me to a depressed state? No. Not at all. Sadness has engulfed many a times but everytime hope has helped me to sail through – hope for a better day, better times.
And when hope doesn’t suffice, then one should push oneself to that blank state where there is no room for opinions, no energy left for comparisons, no worry, no regret…all you got to do is just chill and stay still. In such a state, you would feel the emptiness but it won’t scare you a bit. In fact it will make you realize that everytime you are empty, you indeed have got an opportunity to fill yourself up all over again – if at all you wish to be full; else enjoy being empty, because emptiness is bliss. You were born with an empty mind, as you grew up you filled yourself up with facts, myths, beliefs, emotions, craziness, morals, ethics, knowledge, and what not. And it is this filled-up state that sometimes makes you disoriented. Emptiness probably is a way to get aligned to the core, and to realize that nothing stays forever.
Enjoy being empty. Emptiness is bliss!

The Changing ME

Ever met a person who has remained fixated to one place for the entire life? As in, never moved from the place since the day of birth.

Of course No.

Ever came across a song that you kept playing on loop for years? You know the way we get hooked on a chartbuster and keep playing it on an endless loop, until we move on to a new one out there. So ya, ever got stuck to one song for your whole life?

No again.

Ever held on to something with the thought that you would never let it go, and remained true to that thought? Imagine all the things that you ever touched in your life – all those objects, all those people – where are they now? Still in touch?

No I guess.

None of the above is possible. One cannot be fixated to one place forever. One cannot go on with the same song forever. And, one cannot hold on to something forever. I remember a childhood incident when I boarded a train with my Mom and brother, and somehow Dad couldn’t make it to that bogie when the train started moving..and I cried like hell worrying that I am going to lose my Dad..but I had no clue that he got onto the moving train from a different bogie. And when he joined us back, I held on to him tightly never wanting to leave. But then I couldn’t hold him back forever and was forced to let him go one day. I wonder what would have happened to every other thing that I ever touched – those school bags, the bicycle, those friends, those notebooks and diaries, those clothes, those buses and ricks, the bikes, those houses that I stayed in, those chairs that I sat on, the cell phones, the gadgets, those grounds, those trees, and what not. Some are still around me, some might still be in use by others, some might have decayed and must be resting in peace in a junkyard, and some would have probably embraced nothingness. Just gone from the world. Like my Dad.

Well, the point I am trying to make here is how we are constantly changing with absolutely no control, howsoever much we try. Our tastes change, priorities change, equations change, and with every change – we as a person also change. With this POV, when we look at everything else in life, maybe we won’t feel bad about anything. For instance –

  1. Someone flakes out on you. (maybe you are no longer on this person’s priority list even though you are still important to the person. It has got nothing to do with your likeability, but is more about their current priority. It’s like he/she is stuck with a new chartbuster song even though the earlier song is still likeable.)
  2. Someone is not in alignment with you leading to anger, frustration, arguments, betrayal, infidelity and so on (maybe it’s time for you to evolve or for the equation to dissolve, both of which are perfectly in sync with the laws of Universe)
  3. Someone dies (well, it’s a reminder that you can’t hold on to anything and it’s better that you appreciate things while they last and be grateful for the experience)

There could be many more such events that have the potential to disorient us, but as long as we remember that WE are constantly changing and along with us THEY are also constantly changing and it is these changes that are defining our lives, we are good. Almost good!!


The Whys make you Wise

So we all have our own set of Whys. And some of the most common ones may be –

Why meeee??

Why do we exist?

Why does the world act so crazy?

Why do people not treat you the way you treat them?

Why is love so conditional?

Why are you tied by norms in a free world?

Why this? Why that?

Interestingly, every WHY (most of them actually) doesn’t have an answer. You keep asking only to realize that either there is no answer or there is no one around you who has an answer. So you settle for an answer that was always there with you but never showed up till you struck it with a WHY. And this answer will probably lead you to the next set of WHYs, and there is no end to it. Or maybe there is.

All I have known is that the more you keep questioning yourself, the more you get closer to the self. Every Why may not have an answer but collectively these Whys will make you Wise.