Tag Archives: Decision Making

Seeing Clearly, Stepping Nimbly

Tongziliao – Gall Bladder 1 – Pupil Crevice

Today is another windy spring day in South Australia. This time it’s a warm wind, but the forecast for tomorrow is for cool winds. Such is the changeable nature of spring. Wind is the climate of the Wood Element and when it penetrates the body’s defences, can create headaches and affect the eyes.

In previous springs we have examined other Gall Bladder points which treat wind invasion. Last year we looked at Gall Bladder 15 while the previous spring it was Gall Bladder 41.

Tongziliao – Gall Bladder 1 – Pupil Crevice, is named for its location at the outer side of the eye, in a hollow on the orbital bone. It is useful for eliminating wind, a condition to which the Liver is prone and averse. The point treats redness and itching of the eyes, eye pain and tearing, visual obstruction or dimness. It also treats headaches and migraines, especially around the temples. When there is a deviation of the mouth or facial paralysis such as occurs in Bell’s palsy, the point is called for.

At this point there is a close connection between the two Officials of Wood.  The Liver Official’s job is to use far-sightedness and good judgement in making the  plans needed to navigate the world. The Gall Bladder Official is responsible for decision making and for strategising the best way implement those plans. Tongziliao is an appropriate point to use to support both of these functions.

Gall Bladder 1 is a meeting point with the Bladder and Triple Heater meridians. In other words it is like a railway hub through which three lines pass. Using this point will have wide ranging influences by having an effect on all three of these yang meridians of the head.

Another of its important functions is as an entry point. Qi moves through the cycle of all 12 primary meridians, moving out of one meridian at its exit point, and into the following meridian at its entry point. In this case, Qi moves from Triple Heater 22 to Gall Bladder 1. It is common for Qi to become blocked at these points of exit and entry which are referred to as Entry-Exit blocks. In fact, such blocks can be impediments to treatment progressing and so the Five Element practitioner must always be alert to their possibility.

Tongziliao can be used to promote clarity of vision at all levels of the body, mind and spirit. Gall Bladder timidity is a psycho-emotional condition which describes a lack of courage to make decisions and move to decisive action. This point supports such a person to see clearly what needs to be done and to act accordingly.

Gall Bladder 1 is the start of that meridian’s long zig-zag journey around the head and down the sides of the body. It’s pathway embodies the qualities of the yang Wood Official as he moves back and forth, stepping nimbly and flexibly around obstacles in the way of achieving his goals. To support your own clarity of vision and flexibility of purpose, try holding GB 1 this spring.

Location of Gall Bladder 1


In a slight hollow at the side of the orbital bone of the eye, approximately 0.5 cun posterior to the outer canthus (corner of the eye).

Rising Above Life’s Tears

Toulinqi – Head Above Tears – Gall Bladder 15

above-tearsSoon this long, cold, wet spring will transition to summer. Time for one last Wood point before we move on to the Fire Element.

Toulinqi is a point that is regarded quite differently in the Five Element tradition when compared to the TCM tradition. TCM practitioners regard this as a minor point and little used. When it is utilised, it is for headache, nasal congestion, eye pain, tearing or lack of tearing. It helps to dispel wind that has invaded the body.

In the Five Element tradition it is more often used to address mental and emotional conditions. Recently I used this point on a client who was feeling confused and lacked mental clarity. As I held the two points, which lie just inside the hairline above the eyes, I had the sense that the client’s eyes were rising up her forehead to meet my fingers. This strange notion was validated when I read that Toulinqi  helps a person to get a better sense of perspective, to see further and more widely in the context of her life. If your eyes were to rise up into your hairline, you’d certainly be able to see further!

Head Above Tears is one translation of Toulinqi. Others include Head Overlooking Tears, Head Governor of Tears, Head Before Crying, and Treating Tears. While eyes watering from the wind is certainly one use of the point, it can also be used where a person has difficulty crying, or where frustration has become so extreme as to burst into tears. Readers may remember that last spring we looked at a point in the foot named Foot Above Tears. This can be used to drain excess Qi from the Gall Bladder meridian and to relieve frustration and headache. Head Above Tears is its natural partner and the two can be treated at the same time.

The Gall Bladder Official’s job is to make decisions and to take action in the world. Where there is strong moving back and forth between highs and lows, action and inaction, elation and despair, this point is called for. It helps a person who is tense and uptight, inflexible and only able to see a single course of action.

Dizziness and visual disturbance can sometimes be the result of a difference between our inner and outer reality. When there is a disconnect between inner vision and outer vision. Toulinqi helps to reconcile these differences.

Gall Bladder 15 can give us a wider perspective on life, allowing us to make better sense of its patterns, to rise above the tangled thickets of our inner confusion and to see the bigger picture of our place in the cosmos.

Location of Gall Bladder 15



Directly above the pupil when the eye is looking forward, and 0.5 cun inside the hairline.

Gifts of the Wood Element

We take a break from the acupoints this time with a look at some of the Gifts of the Wood Element. When we are in harmony with an Element and the Element is in balance within us, then we have access to the positive qualities of that Element in our lives. There are many such qualities and here we examine three of them. As you read about these qualities, consider how easy it is for you to access them in your own life. Your answers will tell you much about the relative strength or deficiency of the Wood Element within you.


BinocularsThe ability to see the world in all its colours and shapes is indeed one of the greatest gifts of a human life. Of all the senses it is the one that most people say they would find hardest to lose.

But Wood’s gift of vision goes far beyond the ability to take in visual information through the eyes. It is also about the capacity to envisage, to see a future possibility with the mind’s eye.

People who have this gift most strongly are called visionaries. Their imagination and foresight help them to make creative leaps that see future possibilities projecting out from current circumstances.

In the modern era, Steve Jobs was repeatedly described as a visionary for his ability to see technological possibilities and pursue their production. Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech is particularly illustrative of this quality of Wood. He had a vision of a world of racial equality which is slowly being realised.

• How is your vision for your own future?
• How clearly do you see the path before you in your own life?


26 PlanningOnce we have a vision for our future, we need to find a way to get there. We need a map, a plan, a flowchart, a series of connected steps that will allow us to follow a path. This quality of Wood is the province of the Liver Official who is sometimes personified as the General.

Imagine this General’s headquarters where the room is strewn with maps, plans, lists of troop units, transport, all the information that is needed to form the big picture. From this place, removed from the battles themselves, the General can formulate an overarching strategy, a grand plan.

In our individual lives, planning is incredibly important. Each day we need to plan what we are doing that day and what order we are going to do things. We need to prioritise, organise and strategise. Without these steps of pre-planning, our day can become chaotic, we might waste time and energy backtracking, and the day just doesn’t run smoothly.

We need to plan each day, but we also need to have a sense of where we are going in a longer time frame. What are our plans for the next month, the next year, the next stage of our life? At various points in our lives we pause and take stock, reassess our direction, make a new plan, draw a new map.

When the Wood is not strongly available to us, we might have difficulty making plans. We might have difficulty even knowing what it is that we want, so we can’t even begin to plan. Some of us get lost in details and have problems seeing the big picture. We can’t see the wood for the trees!

• How do you feel about the direction your life is taking?
• What are your plans for the next year, 5 years, 10 years?
• How flexible are you in changing plans when circumstances change?

Decision Making

Koala-SignpostOnce we have our plan and a map of where we are going, we set out on our journey. The journey begins with a first step and proceeds through a series of steps until we reach our destination. While the planning itself is the province of the Liver Official, the actual implementation of the plan on the ground is the function of the Gall Bladder Official, sometimes personified as the General’s Chief of Staff.

While the General holds the overall plan, the Chief of Staff makes the step by step decisions about how that plan is put into operation. The capacity to decide is a fundamental one for Wood. When the Wood is healthy, decisions are made easily and quickly because things are clear. The plan is clearly understood and the best way to carry out the plan is obvious. All the information is taken in and organised, and the way of action naturally arises.

Some of us are good planners but not so good at carrying out the plans. Others are good at managing details but not so good at seeing the big picture. When our Wood is in balance, we have access to both of these aspects.

• How bold are you at taking the first step?
• What stops you from making a decision?

This is an extract from my second book ‘Seasons of Life’ to be published in 2016. Meanwhile, the days tick down to the publication of ‘The Way of the Five Elements’  by Singing Dragon Press. Publication date November 21st, 2015. You can now pre-order this book at Fishpond, Book Depository and other online booksellers. (60 days to go!)