Ancient Wisdom for Modern life: It’s not all about the hustle.

June 6, 2017 by Ann Rea, Phoenix Acupuncturist



I’ve made it my summer project to study one of the classical Chinese medical texts, The Yellow Emporer’s Canon on Internal Medicine. Sounds exciting right? It actually is quite interesting and although I read it while in school it’s much more applicable to practice now that I have a few years of real world experience under my belt.


Right in the first chapter I found something I wanted to share. The book is a series of questions from the emperor, and subsequent answers from his Taoist master/court physician.


The emperor asks” I am told the people in ancient times could all survive to more than 100 years old, and they appeared to be quite healthy and strong in actions, but the people at present time are different, they are not so nimble in actions when they are only fifty, what is the reason?”


The Master answer was very insightful and I think could be of value to modern day people. I will break it down into bullet points for you:


  1. The people of ancient times kept their daily behavior in accordance with nature.
  2. They lived their daily life in harmony with the way of recuperating the essence and vital energy.
  3. Their behaviors were all kept in regular patterns such as their food and drink were of fixed quantity and their daily activities were in regular times.
  4. They never overworked.


What the master is saying is that these people who were healthy and strong up to age 100 lived a life of balance. They knew when it was time to work and time to rest. There are seasons for planting seeds, seasons for those seeds to grow, a harvest and then a season for the soil to rest.


They constant go-go of modern life can be unavoidable. To me the modern version of what the master is saying is that it’s ok to not always be in hustle mode. That hustle and rest must be in near equal proportion. That rejuvenation and self-care are essential to thriving throughout our lives. Do you have any rejuvenating activities you do on a regular basis? Do you have a self-care routine?

Stay tuned for tips and suggestions on how to establish a self-care routine!

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