With 6,000 years of observing the flow of energy in nature, the wisdom of Chinese Medicine is all about aligning ourselves with flow of change in nature and within our lives. On a macro level, this is experienced on an on-going basis with the change of seasons. NYC is a temperate climate, allowing us to experience inner and outer adjustments as seasons shift from winter’s frigid temperatures to summer’s extreme heat, all of which affect everything in our lives from dress, daily activity and mood. On a micro level, there is a way we can harness the impact of time, and change, on a daily level through the use of the Chinese clock. Similar to circadian rhythms, vital energy flows throughout the body in ways that optimize biological use over the course of 24 hours. Optimal energy cycles are a kind of wave that move through 12 energy meridians in the body every 2 hours.
To harness the potential of this flow of peak energy, we can choose to align our daily activities with this clock, creating a path of least resistance for our body’s energy flow. I like to think of the 24 hour Chinese clock as an inspiration for where in my life I need extra energy and support. Have I been super sluggish and tired lately? Then, I would be most aware of maximizing rest times by going to sleep before 11pm and work to schedule intense activities at times that may be less taxing for my energy levels (not during ‘bladder time’ 3pm-5pm: see below). If I have a big mental project that needs to be prioritized, I would try and set myself up for success by delegating deep focus time during ‘Heart time’ 11am-1pm.
Here is the guide to optimal energy flow in the Chinese 24 hour clock. See if you can find places in your daily routine to align your schedule with activities that may flow easier by tapping into this ancient wisdom biological system.
3am-5am Best time to meditate! Lung energy is at it’s peak. Many spiritual traditions assign this time for meditation, yoga practice, and prayer. Our lung energy is literally and metaphorically all about inspiration. This is a good time to tap in to your deepest inspirational energy by using awareness of your breath to start the day. It sounds too early for most of us to wake up (an earlier bedtime definitley be needed) but 3-5am is an optimal time to for these practices.
5am-7am Let it go! Large intestine energy is at its peak. Taking time to let go of what we don’t need for the day literally (bowel movement) and metaphorically (forgiveness of self and others) helps us make a new start for the day.
7am-9am Eat like a Queen! Stomach energy is at its peak. Chinese medicine recommends breakfast as the largest meal of the day, ideally eating something warm to sustain the body for the day.
9am-11am Mental processing time! Spleen energy is at its peak. This is a great time to process through all of the tasks of the day and begin to dive deep.
11am-1pm Priortize your heart’s work! Heart energy is at its peak. Focus on everything that you are in charge of or want to be in charge of. This is prime time for manifesting your dreams via focused work and intention.
1pm-3pm Discern and intuit! Small intestine is at its peak. Now is a good time to separate tasks into ‘important’ and ‘not important’ through tapping into the present moment and listening to your intuition about what’s most important now.
3pm-5pm Endurance! Bladder energy is at its peak. This is the international ‘take a break/siesta time’.
This is not a good time to push through, better to be gentle with yourself and use your reserves for big actions to take tomorrow.
5pm-7pm Recharge! Kidney energy is at it’s peak. You know the saying “if there is a will there is a way”, this is a good description of ‘kidney energy’. Yes, we could push through , grab the caffeine and pump up the adrenals after a long work day OR we could think more long-term and begin to unwind, enjoy a healthful meal and learn to conserve our reserves for our ‘marathon’ goals.
7pm-9pm Social time! Pericardium energy is at it’s peak. Ideal time for fun and social activities that cultivate intimacy with friends and loved ones!
9pm-11pm Prioritize your relationship(s)! Triple Heater is at it’s peak. Connect deeply to those you love, including yourself.
11pm-1am Sleep on it! Gall bladder energy is at it’s peak. Being asleep by 11pm maximizes the ability of our subconscious to assist us in all of our key decision making during the waking hours. Tap in through the power of sleep!
1am-3am Continue to sleep on it! Liver energy is at it’s peak. For successful planning and strategizing in the awake hours, our subconscious needs time to delve deep to work things out for us while our body gets much needed rest.
Extra credit: Using local sunrise and sunset time, find the halfway point which will be the local “sun time noon.”
Connect to your optimal flow and maximize the possibilities of what you and your energy can do!