Nourishing Destiny is a deeply stirring and alchemical journey into the spiritual and psycho-emotional foundations of Chinese medicine. Although presenting as a textbook, Jarrett’s fluid writing and insightful approach render this work easily accessible and readable from cover to cover. Chapters are short, summarised and closed with key questions that invite the reader to move beyond the intellect and connect to the teachings through their own experience.
In reflecting this way, Jarrett encourages the reader to deeply integrate what has been shared. The text is also brought alive with interspersed discussions on the etymology of kanji that hold significance in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This offers further insight into the richness of terms such as shen and ming and virtues such as ‘integrity’ by revealing the depth and finer nuances that lie beyond single word translations.

The book commences by setting a Daoist backdrop for the discussion of destiny, and yet Jarrett has a certain knack for touching on the essentials without creating a sense of repeating the basics. He draws from a plethora of classic texts and sages as he supports each step he leads us along with the steady hand of ancient wisdom. At the core of the book is an exploration of the 5 elements. The officials are examined and the use of case studies strongly ground and give an earthy grit to the book’s esoteric theme.

The last sections of this work apply the preceding insights on 5 element theory and explore specific points, physiology, and the subtleties of healing: primarily relating to the practitioner–client dynamic. Jarrett discusses the importance of timing one’s advise and couching treatment for individuals with language and emotional support in harmony with their constitutional element. The pathway of healing is examined in detail and the ‘healing crisis’ (the turning point for the client where they can slip back into their habitual ways) is highlighted as a deeply pivotal point of the long-term treatment requiring the practitioner’s full awareness of its approach and the moment of its arrival. This section offers a plenitude of subtle gems on the art of healing: treating at the different levels of body, mind and spirit; the essential continuation of self-work for the practitioner; empowering the client; the quality of listening and gentle patience required… and much more. The underlying aim though is always the same: to align the client with the Dao and return them to their original nature.

Nourishing Destiny powerfully illuminates the art of healing from the root level, offering guidance and indeed nourishment to readers who seek with sincerity to apply the foundation principles of TCM to not only their treatments, but also their own lives.

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