The haze makes an annual visit to Singapore and the surrounding region. Tracts of forests and peatlands are cleared every year using the traditional slash-and-burn approach to make way for palm and timber plantations. The particulates from the fires are carried throughout Indonesia and other countries, depending on the winds. These are not only unsustainable farming practices; they also have consequences for health.
It doesn’t take PSI readings to see how bad the pollution is when people can barely see a few feet in front of them. Even before it gets to that point, most people can literally sniff out the smoke in the air. As bad as it is in Singapore, the conditions are even more dangerous and unbearable for those in Indonesia. In Singapore, the topics of conversation and objects of shopping sprees include air purifiers, face masks, and alternative activities for children to stay indoors.
Invest in a good air purifier and if this is out of the budget, a good HEPA filter and a strong fan is all that is needed. You can further diffuse essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint to assist. Oils such as lavender are recommended to help bring on relaxation, a key part of any wellness strategy in any challenge.
Remember also to drink lots of fluids – good, clean filtered water (without fluoride) to flush out toxins and for our cells to properly function properly, rest well, and take in foods high in vitamins and minerals to support our immune system. This is a good time to have less animal protein, caffeine, and alcohol, and more vegetables and fruits.
Minimizing outdoor activities is helpful, and necessary for those more susceptible to lung challenges or who are already weakened by a compromised or developing immune system such as the elderly and the young.
If you must be outside, wear a good mask such as the Vogmask, available on Amazon. The Vogamask is a fashionable certified reusable filtering pollution mask, available in organic cotton.
Anything that supports lung function is helpful at this time. The lungs, according to eastern medicine, correspond with the air element. The colour white is associated with this element and so bringing in more white foods (not sugar or flour!) – white mushrooms, white asparagus, and white fish will be beneficial.
Some therapies to strengthen the lungs include meditation, HeartMath, yoga, pranayama and you can see a Medical Herbalist, TCM, Naturopathic Doctor, or an Ayurvedic practitioner for herbal recommendations. Herbs such as licorice root, peppermint, thyme, oregano (oil of oregano is great!), and sage are easy to incorporate into the diet.
Vancouver-based naturopathic physician Dr Taylor Bean reminds us that, along with supporting detoxification pathways, it is important to reduce burdeners.
Poor air quality is a burdener as our body needs to work harder. Minimizing exposure is helpful though not always possible. So how do we lessen our toxic load? Having a clean diet or as much as possible can alleviate digestive ails. However, we are not only consuming physical food. Let’s not forget about our emotions and thoughts. Constructively releasing our anger, for example, strengthens our liver energy. Holding onto an emotion, event or perceived injustice or hurt is a very common way to block the natural energy flow.
In Jin Shin Jyutsu, we look at five attitudes – worry, fear, anger, sadness, and trying too hard – as blockages to optimal and healthy energy flow. Energy underlies the physical. How to get rid of worry fast? Remember the thumb is associated with worry and then it is index finger – fear, middle finger – anger (surprised?), ring finger – sadness, little finger – trying too hard. F-A-S-T. Simply hold the finger for which the attitude you are most challenged by or hold each finger for a few minutes every day. The benefits are cumulative so even a few minutes, here and there, will add up quickly!
Lungs is Autumn
It is interesting that the haze comes in autumn, the season of Lungs-Colon, which is the time in which these primary meridians and organ function energies and their secondary and related organs are most in focus. If these meridians are weak, we see more signs and symptoms of the imbalance in the fall. You can also check the body organ clock to see which part of the day the organs are “in charge.”
Grief, disappointment, sadness, guilt, hurt, and feeling neglected are all associated with the Lung function energy. These feelings may be intensified or may arise from the past at this time of the year, especially as our lungs are challenged by the haze. Instead of re-suppressing them or repressing them, perhaps it is time to sit with these emotions and see what their messages and gifts are for us.
These are often shadow emotions – how often have we been told not to cry? Or that it’s not a big deal. We want to appear strong because who wants to be hurt and weak? Society certainly doesn’t seem to. And guilt. We all know about guilt. Is it any wonder we have pushed them into the shadow, hoping no one, including ourselves, can see them?
On the flip side, the sinuses (a secondary meridian) are also associated with inspiration. Are we perspiring but not inspiring? Or are we so intellectual, digital or virtual that we are no longer in our body? Muscles, according to Nutripuncture, is a secondary meridian active during this time.
Besides the lungs, we can also look at the Colon. When balanced, we can be good at organizing, without being obsessed with perfectionism or excessive with details. We are able to move forward to allow what is not needed to flow out. Constipation is a physical sign that this is not happening.
If you already have a good air purifier and a good mask and consuming a good diet, perhaps these are some other levels and approaches you may wish to explore. After all, self-knowledge is the not-so-secret secret weapon to being well.
Going Beyond Symptoms
These are some health tips that work holistically; however we are still working with ways to find soothe the symptoms. How can we boost the health of our lungs to breathe better? What face masks can we use to protect ourselves?
We can blame the farmers who burn and slash the lands. We can blame the big businesses to which these farmers work for or sell to.
Ultimately, it is us who are the consumers demanding these products. Palm oil for all the myriad of products that use it, and cheap palm oil to make these items even more affordable. It is paper that we use so indiscriminately. It is the paper we use so wantonly. It is the palm oil that is in so many processed foods. As consumers, do we question what we buy? Do we examine our habits to make better choices? Do we research to understand as much of the supply chain as possible?
What to Do
We can examine and re-examine our consumer patterns. Research the products and companies (and related companies). We can support the ones which are environmentally-conscious and include other ethical providers and suppliers in their overall strategy.
On yet another level, we can examine why we consume the way we do. What is missing in our lives that drives us to obtain and own so many things and experiences, even if it means it is at the expense of others, including people, animals, plants, and the whole planet at large? What is it that is filling us but not fulfilling us? What is the fear, the sadness, the anger, and all the emotions, experiences, etc that we have disowned and pushed to the shadow? Who are we and who do we want to be? Identity is very much part of the theme during the Lungs-Colon season.
Healing is wholeness.
White light is not the absence of light, but includes the whole spectrum, even if we cannot see them until refracted or reflected. Wholeness does not include only what we have decided or what we have been told are positive qualities, but include all of duality so that it is in their unity that we are one with. We find acceptance, allowance, and peace with all.
For this, let us Ho’oponopono. The haze. The destruction of the earth’s lungs – our trees. The personal and planetary/universal grief, disappointment, guilt, and sorrow. Let us return to zero field and create a different reality.
I Love You.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Because LOVE and GRATITUDE is powerful, as seen by the beautiful ice crystals in the Dr Emoto experiments. Let us heal the haze and let us heal ourselves.