The Fire Element, Robin Williams, and Suicide/Depression

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The Fire Element, Robin Williams, and Suicide/Depression

In the wake of Robin William’s death, and the utter sadness I know so many of us share over the loss of this beautiful spirit, I felt moved to write a post from the perspective of the 5 Elements—explaining how depression fits in, what it means that we’re in the middle of the Fire element, how it all connects, and a few things we can all do to help keep a little more joy alive in our lives.

First off, I do not want to trivialize or “superficialize” suicide or Robin William’s death.

I want to make clear that I am NOT saying that: if we all just follow these 3 simple steps from the 5 Elements, depression and suicide will easily just slip away.

This post is not about that at all.  It is simply to say that, for many of us, if we CAN manage to keep the elements and their energies/emotions as balanced as possible in our lives, we have a greater chance of experiencing peace and fulfillment on a more regular basis.  

The 5 elements has built into it a recognition of the varying emotional states of the human being, and also the recognition that each element gives us tools we can nurture/use to help balance the more challenging emotions and facets of life.

So for whatever it’s worth, and if this can help anyone experiencing greater sadness than joy, I write this post.

The Fire Element vs. The Metal Element

The Fire element, related to the heart and summer, is about joy and connection. It’s about intimacy; not just with other humans but with what some call God, others Infinite Intelligence, Love, Creative Source, The Divine. Whatever you want to call it, or even if you don’t believe in it at all, when we’re connected to aspects of these things as part of who we are and how we experience life on a day to day basis, we tend to not feel depression. The energy of Love fills our life more frequently and we feel a contentedness and a well of fulfillment.

The Metal Element, and its corresponding emotions of grief, sadness, and depression; is about as opposite to the Joy of Fire as we can get.  It relates to Fall, so think of loss as you think of the falling of the leaves at the time of year when darkness sets in.

We all have all the elements in us and experience the emotions of each one. But when the elements get out of balance and we get stuck in or can’t access one of them, we can become trapped in a spiral of feeling one particular emotional state ongoingly.

I believe that many people who have what I’ll call a Fire/Metal imbalance commonly experience depression.

Fire/joy keeps Metal/grief in check

In 5 Element theory we say that Fire melts Metal. In that way, Fire “controls”, or has control over Metal, like a checks and balancing system.

If you were to look at a 5 Elements chart, you would see an arrow going from the Fire element over to the Metal, symbolizing this controlling action of Fire (Joy) over Metal (Grief). When we are able to access the Fire element’s emotions of joy and feelings of connectedness, that energy is so big in us that it just naturally keeps in check the Metal emotions/experiences of loss, grief, isolation, sadness, and emptiness.

Because summer relates to the Fire element, I talk and teach about how important it is to nurture “Fire Type” activities at this time of year, because it’s during summer that we tend to engage in the more playful, joyful, communing activities that support Fire energy in our lives. When we spend time in activities that nurture our Fire element; grief, sadness, and isolation are more naturally kept in check.

Are simple tips a panacea? Of course not.

For most people in deep depression, it’s certainly not as easy as just making time to connect with loved ones and/or connecting through heart centered meditations to the Divine.

No. Obviously in William’s case, there may have been nothing that could have helped him when he made his final decision.

BUT, nurturing your Fire element will certainly not hurt, and at least can be a step to help many towards keeping an out-of-balanced Metal element (grief, sadness) from taking over our lives.

My personal experience with my own Metal element

I personally am a Metal element type myself. This means I feel things extremely deeply.

Until I learned to nurture my own Fire element I spent my life carrying the burdens of the world on my shoulders. It felt somehow selfish to be joyful when so many in the world experienced such loss and tragedy.

But through learning that ALL the elements are vital for living a balanced life, I saw that the Fire element qualities—which I used to think were shallow, superficial, frivolous, and unnecessary—were also the ones that I needed to enhance in my life in order to feed my passions and bring my gifts to the world.

As I spent more time in Fire element type activities, my life began to blossom in ways that brought way more joy in.

This was just my case. Each of us is different, but being that I’ve worked with this in myself, I know first-hand that understanding how to keep our elements balanced can lead to a more whole and fulfilling life not just for ourselves, but for those we share our lives with as well.

So again, if this helps anyone, then I am grateful. If you think this may help someone else, please share. :-)

Thank you Robin, for the joy you helped so many of the rest of us feel, even if you weren’t always feeling that joy yourself. RIP.

Tags: acupuncture and depression