Will Power

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

Will Power! Our American definition includes exerting ourselves through our stuck-ness to achieve a desired goal. Will power often means over-coming a large hurdle  and pushing through some kind of yearning or desire or bad habit to get through to the next level.  Or maybe using effort to manifest a thought or idea. Will power is a great quality to have.  It’s an ability that is invaluable, but it often means a strong mind and exertion to achieve an idea or goal.

How I hold will power in my practice is with ease and it can be a little more gentle.  I like to believe that it means listening to our “heart’s desire” and following our highest self to the path that’s most beneficial to our body, mind and spirit.  Often these things are all aligned.  In our regular definition of will power we may get stuck trying to achieve ideas that weren’t even ours to begin with including fad diets, extreme exercise goals, unrealistic ways of quitting smoking and many others.  The human body wants to be in balance, and always finds a certain homeostasis no matter what the condition, we are truly adaptable beings! Often with will power we end up taking ourselves on roller coaster rides chasing a dream that was never truly ours.  Well, maybe the dream was ours, but the pathway to the dream my have not been designed by us. True change happens over time and is sustainable if our path to our goals is a steady one.

In Chinese medicine the spirit of the Kidney is the “Zhi”, pronounced ” j-eh “.  The Zhi is our “guiding force in life”.  It is said that Heaven determines a certain path for us, or destiny, but it is up to the human to follow the true nature of this path. In other words, the choice to be true to our our destiny is up to us! This is the choice of the Zhi, or the will!

The Chinese character, Zhi is comprised by two different parts: the upper component is of a plant, and the lower component pictures the heart.  A plant in the upper part of the character denotes the ability for growth, a striving and movement towards the light, a natural phenomenon. The lower component of the heart is the guiding force.  The Chinese ideology holds the Heart as the highest functioning entity in the system. “The heart holds the office of lord and sovereign. The radiance of the spirits stems from it” -Nei Jing Su Wen, a division and translation from the ancient scripts. So these parts together make up the Zhi, the will to follow our innate destiny. The choice to follow the path of the heart.

There are similarities and differences in the different cultural definitions of will and will power.  The similarities include the idea of manifesting and exerting energy and intention towards a goal. The small difference is the effort it takes to get there.  The words wIll power represent effort and strength, whereas the concept of the zhi implies a certain surrender to follow a pre-determined path.  My teachers, Robert Duggan and Dianne Connelly echo in my mind constantly saying “we are human beings not human doings.”

“Instead of pushing through my obstacles, I will flow around them with less effort and with greater ease by listening to my heart and allowing my truest nature to emerge.” Easier said than done, right? Well I agree. Just by imparting this idea though, helps it to manifest into a reality.  It encourages a deeper listening and a different concept of letting your true self dictate goals and patterns.  It’s what I like to impart when working with my clients to create a stronger internal intimacy and bond with themselves to allow their desires to inform their actions. Sometimes a piece of chocolate cake is a true desire, and sometimes it’s not.  Acupuncture can strengthen the intelligence to decipher the difference.

My point of this writing is to remind my readers that you know what to do.  Maybe not always in your mind, but your body knows.  Trust yourself, believe in yourself! I invite you to start to separate your true wants and needs from that of your addictions, or your ideas or other’s ideas.  By letting your intentions be in union with your heart’s desire, and using your will and energy to move forward, you can find balance and harmony within.  If you need help hearing your heart, acupuncture has the key to unlock and decode the messages. Let your Zhi radiate towards the sun.


  1. This is serious. I mean, think about it… slim jim’s are sometimes a real true desire that aligns us with our destiny when we eat one. whether it’s nacho flavor or tabasco flavor or plain. it is seriously true that our bodies know what we really need. I love how miss Lindsay Buchanan is asking us to listen to our hearts and will. Lindsay is the best acupuncturist. She really is.

  2. this is an excellent article, thanks for sharing your wisdom!