Out of the Wood and Into the Fire: More Tips for Keeping your Fire Element Balanced This Summer
We’ve made it through the Wood season!
According to Chinese Medicine, we’re entering the season related to the Fire Element, which corresponds to the Heart and to Summer.
As opposed to the Wood season, which was all about setting goals, independently forging ahead through whatever blocked our dreams from coming to fruition, and steadfast discipline; now it’s the time when relaxation, community, gathering, and fun, will be more appropriate to the season.
We are a very “Woody” culture…we put LOTS of emphasis and esteem on productivity and independence. While these traits have their definite benefits, being too extreme in any of the elements brings imbalance which inevitably shows up. (Just look at the rates of antidepressant/anti-anxiety use in the US, and it will give a clue as to just one thing that can happen when Wood goes wild…)
In my acupuncture practice, this Wood-gone-wild is probably the most common thing I treat, manifesting as many different types of symptoms of one form or another.
So what to do about it…?
The importance of connection for keeping your Fire Element balanced
I’ve traveled through 27 countries and during my journies I’ve witnessed levels of togetherness and support that are just not seen in the US.
All over parts of Latin America and the Mediterranean, every day starting around 4 or 5 pm, a beautiful thing occurs…the town square and the streets begin filling with people of all ages.
Young sweethearts come out holding hands and sit on the park benches. Mothers grab the children while grandma and grandpa grab the family pooch and they all head out for the sunset rendezvous. For hours, after the work or school day is complete, people get together and socialize, have small appetizers at the little hole-in-the-wall eateries or standing beside street vendors, and just connect.
It’s a time to do nothing but just BE together. It’s a time to interact, to come back to what’s important about family and community.
In China, while the young people are at work or school, the older ones sit in the park together playing Mahjong and doing QiGong or TaiQi. Once the family is home, they are all together again, gathering around a card table (often out on the street) as the neighborhood old men resume their games, the women cook, and the children play.
When leaving these countries, it’s easy to feel a melancholy on the return to the US…a country where most people come home at night and shut themselves into their own homes. Where many of us don’t even know the names of our neighbors.
Many people’s hearts feel a vague and confusing sorrow today, and indeed, based on the 5 Elements, this is the appropriate response to the current situation.
This is because the Fire Element is about heart connection. It’s about the joy of being together and the time of enjoying the fruition and fruits of our labor.
Fire “controls” Metal
On the 5 Elements chart, the Fire element is the one that “controls”, or keeps in check, the Metal element; which is more about loss, letting go, and grieving.
So when we don’t have enough activities in our lives that nurture our Fire or heart, and that are about receiving and enjoying love; it’s easy then for our Metal element to get out of check and for sorrow to set in.
Do you have plans for nourishing your Fire Element this summer?
Soon I will post a repeat of an article I wrote for Healing Path Magazine a few years ago, which covers the Fire element in more depth. But for now, think about your plans for the summer…
Are you planning on just staying in Wood mode and work work working the summer away?
Or are you making sure to take time to get together with people you love, people who nurture your heart and bring your Fire to life?
Perhaps it’s time to make a few calls, to reach out, and to schedule in some FUN!