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Book Review: HeartMind Solutions

Book Review: HeartMind Solutions

Book Review by Deborah Valentine Smith, BA, LMT (NY), Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

AOBTA® President
Authorized Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® Teacher
AOBTA® Certified Instructor

HeartMind Solutions
Direct Awareness to Transform the Roots of Pain and Stress in Soma and Psyche
A Clinical Guide for Acupuncture and Asian Bodywork
By Kamala Quale, MSOM, LAc

Kamala has created a resource that can be taken in whole or in part. Many of the techniques stand alone and can easily be integrated into your practice to make it more effective and even used personally for guidance and insight.

This is a beautiful treasure house that marries theory and technique in masterful ways. It is a must for both work with clients and self-care.

I’ve known Kamala Quale for at least 30 years and am deeply appreciative of what she brings to ABT from her mastery of Chinese Medicine, Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® and Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy. She has made the gentle, rich principles of Hakomi available to the practice of bodywork in a safe and effective way.   You may have seen her Connect & Learn presentation, “Bodymind Skills that Assist Clients to Discover Themselves in the Moment: The Wisdom in Patterns of Tension, The Resource in Patterns of Expansion” in August of 2019.  She will also be presenting “Body Stories: Releasing Shen through Body Awareness” at the 2021 AOBTA® Convention in May.

I also practice and teach Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure®, which actively engages the client by using body focusing, breathing and visualization to bring their attention to the body and to give voice to its messages. I have highly recommended this book to students and practitioners. The point of view is rooted in Shen and encourages the client to connect with the inner Self, the HeartMind.  As she says, “By facilitating this connection, we help our clients to revitalize their physical and emotional health, increase internal resources and bring meaning to the healing journey.”

The book contains articles on general topics, like “The Science of Symbols” and “Emotion as a Cause of Disease According to Chinese Medicine.”  In addition, there the techniques are based on sound counselling principles further enlightened by the insights from the foundations of Yin/Yang and the Five Elements.

The application of Five Element theory is expounded in several sections. First, a there is a general description of each of the elements in relation to work with a client. Following, there are sections on “A Five Phase Approach for Inspiring Your Practice and Creating a Healing Relationship,” “Five Phases to Guide Your HeartMind Session” and “Five Phases of a Session and Required Skill Set” that includes some options for Point Selection.

In another section she outlines the steps of a session rooted in the HeartMind principles.

  • Educate and Clarify Goals
  • Promote Self-Awareness
  • Resonate and Observe
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Work with Emotional Intelligence

Each of these steps is accompanied by an explanation of the principles involved and detailed descriptions of techniques.  For instance, under “Promote Self-Awareness,” there is a discussion of the characteristics of Mindfulness, studies of Mindfulness and the brain, how to use it therapeutically, and the attitudes necessary for the practitioner. The Method section includes step-by-step techniques: “Personal Wisdom in Tension, Discover the Pattern,” and “Compare Released and Unreleased Areas of the Body.”

Deborah V. Smith

What’s Under the Surface?

What’s Under the Surface?

With the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that happened on December 21, we are at the beginning of a 20-year cycle that can help create a shift in our individual and collective orientation. The COVID virus has already started that shift. It has been the catalyst for change that wants to happen. Change starts with a desire to move in a certain direction. The beginning of a new calendar year is a natural time to reassess how we want to direct our energies.

We may sense that there are seed ideas, inklings and intuitions germinating under the surface in our psyches. Maybe right now they are general directions like, I want to optimize my health, or I want more connection, or I want to work for social change, or I want to open to my truest potential. Seeds that germinate during the winter naturally sprout in the spring.

But seeds need the right environment to reach their greatest potential. They need quiet, the right mix of darkness and light, enough moisture, proper nutrients, and fertile surroundings that inform them. So, what does that mean for you? What will help your seeds germinate and become clarity of vision and purposeful action?

Not surprisingly, I would suggest that the regular practice of qigong and meditation with a community of like-minded people are examples of nurturing processes that cultivate clarity, keep the body healthy and strong, help you stay balanced and centered, and fertilize the ground of being. When we move together with others we stay on course and our efforts are multiplied.

The community of the Moon and Lotus Center for Movement and Healing invites you to join our qigong and meditation circles and see if they are a good fit.

See Event Calendar for current class offerings. Sign up to receive our newsletter with class details and schedule.

Embodied and Present

Embodied and Present

2020 has been a year that has tested us to the max. There has been the covid pandemic, renewed racial awareness, civic unrest, unruly political debates, increased fires and hurricanes. Many people have lost loved ones and their homes. There is a lot of grieving, fear, anger and resistance going on inside. Each of us has our own way of reacting and coping which may look like numbing out, getting distracted, complaining and criticizing, ignoring our feelings, over-working or getting lost in overwhelm.

How can we let go of reactivity and respond from a place of feeling truly present, authentic, and grounded in our physical being? I do not have answers, but I do know that we have many resources. Being comfortable and present in our bodies is one of the most tangible and least considered. To relax into the body with increased awareness of its messages and be able to shake off stress to release the nervous system is an important skill. When we relax, we can soften, open, change patterns and feel spacious in the body and mind. In this spaciousness we can find a fresh connection to ourselves, each other, and current life events. Even if we touch  into this greater source of inner spaciousness and creativity regularly for just a few moments at a time, we start to see that we can respond to outer chaos with greater confidence, better boundaries, and a steady sense of inner presence.

Beginning this Monday evening, Oct 5, I am offering a six week group for women to facilitate feeling embodied and present. It meets for three Mondays in October and three in November. We will practice movement with self-awareness in the form of qigong shaking and acupressure points to open key energy centers and sitting meditation to guide the mind away from distress and towards a deeper sense of inner vitality and presence. We will also have time to share our struggles, inspirations and creativity with each other.

This group meets from 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm. For exact dates and to register, click here: https://www.moonandlotus.com/event/monday-night-womens-self-care-and-meditation-group/

You can also watch videos for shaking and tapping to release stress here. https://www.moonandlotus.com/acupuncture-and-counseling/self-care-acupressure/



Question for the Week before Solstice

Question for the Week before Solstice

I’d like to propose a question for this week, and that is: How am I doing what I’m doing? In other words, what is my inner attitude while I am performing an action?

For example, is my nose to the grindstone, am I acting in a hurried manner or preoccupied with something else? Am I pressuring myself to do something or to accomplish something, subtly criticizing myself or someone else, or am I nervously or worriedly doing something? How about am I happily or gratefully doing something, am I doing it in a relaxed way?

I caught myself sitting to meditate this morning with an inner attitude that was tight, like a duty, “I need to do this.” When I realized it (mostly by becoming aware of my body and thought patterns) I decided to “relax” and “open” instead. I’d rather be in the space of I want to meditate vs I have to.

I was sitting outside in the morning and it was beautiful. I had only noticed that peripherally so far because my mind was preoccupied. So I took a couple breaths and repeated “relax” and “open” a few times. My body softened and so did my mind. My thoughts slowed down. I relaxed into the beauty of the morning, and my gratefulness to be alive and well. I listened to the birds singing, looked at the vibrant colors, inhaled the fresh smells.

By focusing on what I was taking in with my senses, my body and attitude shifted. My awareness began to expand gradually and naturally into a meditative head space. I felt more present within and I sensed the subtle presence of my teachers and guides in the spaciousness of the moment. I asked myself, “what would my problems feel like if I were on the moon right now?” The answer was “very different.”

Have a great day and week enjoying the fullness and build-up to solstice on Saturday.


Original Face

Original Face

Today I’m preparing for the international facial workshop I’m giving  (May 28, 11 am- 1pm, free) and I’m contemplating about Original Face, a concept in Daoism and Buddhism which points to knowing ourselves as the cosmic qi and essence that is present in us before we are born. Returning to our original face is another way of pointing us towards realizing who we really are at heart. Here is a quote from Lillian Bridges, who is a Chinese face reading expert.

“According to Deng Ming-Dao in his book Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony, the very ancient pictogram (Chinese character) for Dao shows a character on the left that means run and another that shows a leg or them movement of running below. The character on the right is a face with hair on top. This face is the Original Face and when you know it, it allows you to follow your life’s purpose, which I can the “Golden Path.” In other words, when you know who you are and who you came in as, you can find the virtuous action “Te” (like in Tao Te Ching) that allows you to complete your destiny (“Ming”) and become your best future or golden self. This is classic Taoist Alchemy.”

So I sat in meditation today and asked myself and the universe, “what is my Original Face?” I repeated it several times, quieted my mind and made it my intention to know more about my inner essentialness. Gradually my mind went back to childhood memories and my face and expressiveness as a child. I had memories of growing up in an Italian-American family. My grandparents were immigrants. Travelers from a different culture. I remembered an insight that I had in the past that my purpose was to share information across cultures. One example is how in the US, I share information from my deep study of yoga philosophy, Chinese medicine, and Daoism.

This current facial workshop with my co-presenter from Italy and participants from the US and Italy is another attempt to share cross cultural information and connect people from different parts of the world. No doubt that is why I am enjoying the process so much.

So, I invite you to contemplate the same question and see what happens. I sent this letter to the women in my Monday Night Women’s Qigong Group, because our theme is women and manifestation which connects with internal earth element energy. Centering and aligning yourself to discover your clear intention and manifesting that in the outside world is part of leading from a deeper center within.

I look forward to hearing your insights in the comments section. Let’s share our wisdom

With warm qi,


PS: If you want to participate in the Love Your Face workshop, or the Monday Night Women’s Qigong group (open to new members in June) let me know in the comment section below.

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