Letting go of letting go

Falling petalsPerhaps the best known acupressure point is Large Intestine 4 (Joining Valley), the point in the webbing  between the thumb and index finger. Many people know this as a good point for easing headaches. But this powerful point is also good for constipation, releasing toxins, stress and emotional tension. These are all conditions that involve tightening and hanging on, where there is an inability to let go, relax and be free. This can be a physical holding on in the colon, tension in the belly, arms, neck, face and jaw. Or it may be an emotional holding that includes difficulty expressing emotions like anger and grief, resulting in an inner turmoil.

Letting go of these things is not as simple as it may sound. Friends may advise you, “Just let go”, as if it were as simple as taking off a coat or setting down a suitcase. The problem is that our holding on is not of this kind. Rather it is borne of long standing habits, patterns, attitudes and beliefs. Letting go is not something you actually do. In fact it happens when there is no doing. Letting go is surrender, acceptance. It is being present with what is here now in this moment. Being in the now is the antidote to holding on to memories of the past or projections of the future.

Large Intestine 4 is one of the points of the Metal Element. Metal is at its most obvious in autumn, our current season here in the southern hemisphere. Autumn teaches us about letting go. Nature is gradually shedding her foliage and daylight hours as she prepares to go within for the winter. This downward moving energy of Metal supports us in contacting the qualities of this Element: acceptance, allowing and surrender.

I invite you to spend some time sitting quietly with this point. By doing so you will be holding hands with yourself in a quiet, contemplative pose. You will be bringing yourself back to yourself in the present moment. It will support you in letting go of all those things that are no longer helpful to you, no longer in service of your well being.

LI 4Location of Large Intestine 4

If you tuck your thumb into the side of your hand, a crease is made. At the end of that crease is a bulge. Press your opposite thumb into the muscle at the highest point of the bulge. Press towards the hand. Roll around until you find a sensitive area. Hold this with steady pressure for a few minutes or until the sensitivity decreases. Hold the left side first, then the right. Bring all your attention to the physical sensations and any feelings that may arise.