Monday, August 8, 2011

More Life Lessons From a Darn Kidney Stone

refreshing water

If you receive my newsletter, I mentioned that despite this amazing summer heat wave, I feel so blessed these days and it's hard to complain about the 100-degree weather.  Sure, my garden has seen better days, and I feel like we've been trapped in the house for a few weeks. But, I have so much to be grateful for.  And I know you do, too.

You may remember that I suffered from a kidney stone a few months ago.  Well, since then, I had to make yet another trip to the emergency room due to the same darn stone! I started to get pretty frustrated, thinking maybe I didn't know my body as well as I thought I did.  I was overheated, overwhelmed and just plain over feeling blah.  (The stone is officially gone - thank you, lord.)

I'm a true believer that we can heal ourselves from the inside out, and when things are feeling off, I really want to go deeper and get to the core of the problem.  So I've been mindfully (and sometimes not so patiently) observing why I've been feeling run down. And here's what I discovered.

hands in water

Did you know that our kidneys represent the fire that fuels our essence?  There is a yin and yang in the kidney area - a water and fire that when balanced, keeps our kidneys functioning efficiently.  And the heat of summer, my husband's workload, my pitta body type,  my tendency to overcompensate and take on more than I can handle, balancing being a mom of two, staying home with the kids, and growing my career - well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that my fire was running on overdrive and my water was just plain running dry.  And the kidney stone was simply a symbol - a reminder to slow down and listen.

So after two visits to the ER in 8 weeks, and a bout of mastitis, I continued researching, taking a food allergy test, going to attunement, meditating, resting, slowing down, asking for help, had an eye-opening massage and finally, I tried acupuncture.

The massage therapist I went to specializes in working with people who have deep tissue scars.  It never occurred to me before, but the therapist believes some of the imbalances I've been feeling in my kidney and bladder area have to do with my cesarean scar. (You can read about my emergency cesarean birth here.)  Hearing that connected so many dots for me, and since then I've learned about many women who have suffered from things like IBS, ovarian cysts and scar adhesions, after their c-sections.

playing in water

Ok, then I discovered an amazing acupuncture practitioner and with the touch of my pulse, he could tell that I am a vegetarian and he looked into my eyes and asked, "Do you eat a lot of kale and spinach?"  When I answered, "Yes," he explained that eating those foods and not drinking enough water was the cause of my kidney stone.  What's so funny about that is after my first attack with the stone, my husband's first response was, "It's because of all the kale you eat!"  His comment got me thinking and it's how I learned about high oxalate foods (like kale, spinach, and blueberries.)  I even mentioned it in my first post about the stone.

The practitioner went on to explain that many women after pregnancy and childbirth need some rebalancing - and that's what acupuncture did for me.  He said that over time we have build-up on our meridian channels (the pathways through which our energy flows). Think of it like little beavers building damns, and those beavers can be stress, toxins, fear or worry (just to name a few).  The acupuncture needle helps break up the damn to allow for proper energy flow.  And I'm telling you, I felt the flow return after one visit.  My old self came flooding back.  My energy was restored.  And I haven't had any kidney or bladder issues since.

more water play

But it takes more than a few visits to a holistic healer to maintain our personal wellness. I make a more conscious effort every day to take better care of my body.  I start my morning with lemon water or warm tea.  I eat a good breakfast.  I take my vitamins.  I still eat my favorite health foods, but I drink a ton of water and I carry a water bottle with me everywhere.  I take electrolytes.  I do less (well, most days).  I go to bed earlier (well, most nights).  And I make sure to take time each day to listen to the messages my body so wisely communicates with me.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I so believe in the power of sharing and connecting as a way to grow and expand.  In my sharing I hope that some of you will gain a new awareness that you might be able to apply to your own life.  In sharing I always learn something new from you, too.

And the other reason I'm telling you all of this is because I just can't help myself.  Sharing my most authentic self IS my yin, my water, my flow...  If I stop myself from going deeper, and from opening up to my vulnerabilities, then I'm just allowing another beaver to build a damn.

water shot

So here I am, allowing the water to fill up again...and flowing, breathing, laughing, being...ME.

Let it go.
Let it flow.

And listen to the healing wisdom that lives within YOU.

Your Personal Reflection:  Every thing, message, person and experience in your life is a symbol.  What are the symbols in your mind, your body, your spirit and in your life trying to tell you?  Give yourself some quiet time this week and really, deeply, listen.

Photos by Chris Duh.

**Disclaimer:  I am NOT a medical professional.  Please seek the medical advice that is right for YOU.  I am a woman, mom and a student of life - and these lessons that I share with you are the ones I've learned work for me.  What you find along your path will be right for you.  


  1. ooooh shannon! kidney stones are no fun. i had a few after ezra was born. worst pain of my life. i'm glad you're getting yourself back on track. i need to do some of that too just getting out of my morning sickness funk. so many changes in my body right now. i have been listening to the messages telling me to slow down and now am ready to start moving again. my diet has also been tweaking itself and is settling into something new. i am trusting my body.

  2. First, I am SO GLAD you are feeling better at last!! It's good to know you are finding your way back to you after all of the upheaval of being unwell.

    Second, it was so interesting to read about the various information you discovered as you journeyed toward wellness again. I am a pitta/vata type and find it fascinating to see how this can affect us.

    Bright Blessings to you, Shannon!

  3. I'm sorry that you've been having such a rough time again but I'm very glad that you found healing and feel much better now!

    The more I get to know you, the more I know we're alike in so many ways :-) You're whole post resonated with me.

    Like you I look at my health in a holistic way. Trouble for me at the moment is I started being counterproductive in my search for reasons by exhausting myself in my frustrating quest for the underlying cause. I then realised that I had to take a step back, immerse myself and focus on my creativity. The answers will come when they're ready. I had a wonderful session with my cranial osteopath on Saturday & came away with a calmness that comes with knowing I was back on the right path. I wish I could solve & cure at the moment, especially with these added heart problems but I suspect my journey is complicated and for a reason. My intuition has spoken and guided me back to focusing on my creative living. Out of that will come understanding & healing I'm sure.

    Gorgeous photos!

    Big Hugs to you
    Kat Xx

  4. Thanks to each of you for your support and kind words.
    Anushka - So happy you are trusting your body.

    Lindsey - Grateful you found what I wrote interesting. I am pitta/vata, too. Always good to balance that pitta heat this time of year!

    Kat - BIG yes to what you said about exhausting ourselves trying to find the answers! When I get that way - creativity definitely helps. It's a reminder to live in the present moment and the answers will come, when they are ready. xo

  5. oh honey! you've been through way more than your fair share lately. if anyone could squeeze good lessons out such pain it's you. i'm so glad you got to the roots of the problem and that you're bouncing back to normal! take care! xo

  6. I am sorry you were suffering. I am elated that you are doing well and feeling your flow. I am thinking of trying acupuncture. Your posts are always on point and resonate with me so completely.
    Getting ourselves back is key and frequently checking in with how we are doing is the key to getting back and not getting to far off our natural balance.
    Thank you so much as always for your gentle reminders and guide to remaining in the moment!
    PS I took my vitamin after reading your post! ;)

  7. beautiful, fabulous,authentic and honest post!!
    ahhh.. yes listening to our wise body when we wanna do sooo much!!, it can be tricky!! So glad you found your answers so fast!

  8. Aw, you guys are the best. I truly appreciate ALL of your kind words.

  9. Good for you Shannon (those water pics are beautiful by the way!)
    I had "acupressure massage" during my second pregnany for back pain and it worked wonders! (It works on the same principles as acupuncture, but doesn't require needles)

    Take care of yourself and I'm sending hugs!


  10. Hey Shannon! So sorry to hear about this...but so happy to hear about your healing! I recently had acupuncture for a shoulder injury and thought the practice was just amazing! You are in my thoughts! :)


Thanks for sharing!