I started to write about the Earth Element at the first of July. Here we are a month later and we remain in the midst of it. The humidity is thick, and it doubles the heat. I even feel it while I am writing at the computer. This morning, while walking the dog I felt like a wet noodle. The jeans that I jump into early in the morning stuck to me as if they were wet. And while it is uncomfortable it is all about the Earth element.
What we get from the Earth is about being grounded, centered, nourished and supported. Once we find our rootedness, how do move from it and transition into the next phase. Sometimes it almost feels like it requires giving up that rootedness, but it isn’t about that. It’s about accepting the flow.
Usually at this time of year we would begin the new year in college, school, or work projects. It is the time of transitions in general. But this year, in particular, our transition might be the question of can we create a new life during the pandemic. What calls you next? Is it service? Is it art? Is it Qigong? Is it meditation? Can you vision into the future of what is next for you? As we go from Earth to Metal (the Fall) we ask the question, ‘what is of value’. The Metal is about being precise, inspired and clear and recognizing the meaning in life. And within all those questions recognizing your self-worth. That is the landscape of the Fall. In the midst of it all there are constant transitions. Wherever there isn’t flow there is some kind of stagnant energy that needs to move.
For myself, I move forward as I determine the value for me of what’s next. I’m back working at the office. I’m not seeing people 5 days a week as I was 6 months ago. I see people 2 days a week. Is it the same? No. With the new protocols I talk with the person the day before in place of what I used to do in the office. I need to listen and see in a deeper way without them being in the room. And I get to recognize the elements and the transitions from one to the other. The great thing about the elements is that there are all these transitions as we flow from one to the other in the creation and ending of each cycle. It is always there. With the lengthened focus on people I consider many strategies. It reminds me of the time decades ago when I was a student and I would sit with how to help a person for a week, sometimes writing a 10-page paper on how to support the elemental flow. I’m sure that I might be embarrassed by the far-flung ideas from those days. However, it was a time of carefully considering as many options as possible. And it is a recognition of how the transitions we make can remain centered even in these times. I am reminded that there are always a million ways to do things.
Enjoy the last weeks of the Earth energy. Nourish yourself and feel the way toward adjusting to the transitions in front of you.
March 6, 2019
I just heard the weather prediction and it will be 24 degrees when I leave the house tomorrow. I keep thinking that in Chinese Medicine we are a month into spring. I enjoy looking for the new buds on the trees still empty of leaves. But even here we are way behind the norm this year.
The one thing that I am noticing is that this cold allows me a little longer moment to revel in the stillness that is so palpable in the wintertime. As I practice the beginning standing pose in Qigong, I am sure that a half hour has passed and most certainly I open my eyes to find that indeed a half hour has passed. I notice that within the stillness I always begin at some point to have realizations. Some people refer to it as accessing their wisdom. I try to relate to it as consciousness before the movement. I stand not just to stand but also to be in the place before movement marked by stillness. I recommend it in the next few days. (But not on the metro platform, keep moving there.)
There is a way the body/mind/spirit aligns itself with what is happening outdoors. I still feel like I must hibernate getting much more sleep than is normal. There is continually a cup of tea warming my hands. We must be able to observe where we are in the seasons and act appropriately. So rather than long for the Spring, try to savor these last moments of the Winter and use them well, finding what is possible in the depth of you.
As a person who enjoys all the news reports that people with a good deal of clutter are really the creative ones, I admit that even for me there comes a moment when you have to ask why did I keep this.
So why declutter now?
We are the last day in the Chinese Calendar for the year of the Dog, and going into the year of Earth Pig. Each year on the second new moon after the winter solstice the new year begins. There is a celebration from this date until the full moon. This year it begins on Tuesday, February 5th. This is a period of special meals, family visits, and gift giving to make this celebratory time. Traditionally people take the opportunity to honor their ancestors and worship the divine.
And on the other side there is the cleaning and decluttering to help make room for the new. Attending a Feng Shui workshop this weekend the conversation included sweeping, vacuuming, and getting rid of clutter. It applied to every aspect of the house. While I often joke that would take me years, it’s amazing how much you can do in a very limited time when you see that there is an important purpose. I enjoyed throwing away the candles, rearranging pictures, plants, and crystals. and while I didn’t manage all the clutter, I saw the amazing difference in the Qi flow in the room. So the big announcement is that you have another 24 hours to get the job done. Challenge yourself and see what you can let go of without making yourself absolutely crazy.
The best thing is that on the 5th the first day of the Earth Pig, you have to begin the celebration and let the gifts of the new year come in.
The year of the Earth Pig is said to be one of solidness and prosperity. So focus on those parts that represent stability and value for you. Money may be the representation of this or it might be something entirely different. Because it is the earth element it is important to look at what you do to take care of yourself and imagine what you need to add or what you really require to heal to the next phase of your journey. Be thoughtful about what you truly need. And take the time now to declutter. Good luck and Happy New Year
In light and love, Eve
As the days were becoming shorter this year, I started to buy books every other day. Probably, I went a little overboard, since I’d need much more time in the day to read all of them. But it is the action that shows my energetic need to match those long nights and slow down, and hunker down under the covers with a good read. I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy the deliciousness of winter in so many ways that allows me to see the bare bones of life and to just breathe.
People who don’t know me very well comment about how calm I am. It’s not true. I am not a calm person. Big and little things can upset me. I started to meditate in my early twenties because I knew that I needed to learn how to counter this ‘upset’ tendency. But in the depth of Winter I slow down enough to believe that it will all be okay without needing to do something about everything. So I get the books and I ‘schedule’ days that I don’t have to do much and can just relax and read, and even decide to stay in PJs all day with a cup of tea and music playing. The winter doesn’t cause this but going with the downward plunge of the winter does.
In Chinese Medicine the winter is associated with the Water element. You can feel the winter here even before all the leaves leave the trees. The air is nippy with as the cold encompasses everything. In response to this, we go inward to the depth of our being. And in this process of going deep, if we have fear or anxiety, we come to a spacious place where we discover our intuition and wisdom. This deep dive is the Water element. It’s the slowing down that transfers the questions from our head to those hidden places inside that carry the certainty of your path, even if it is a path that you might not automatically think of.
I invite you to make your deep dive – And if the deep dive requires a meditation, then do that. If it is Qigong that you long for, then do a very quiet style of Qigong and enjoy the connections to the earth and heaven. But it might also consider slowing down and doing as little as possible, or maybe reading that very special book in bed.
Enjoy the remaining long winter night and don’t forget to slow down.
This summer has been the fourth hottest summer ever. Everyone is aware of this. But people I see walking in the street behave as if they are in denial. Now before I start on this diatribe I have to confess that I grew up in Florida. And while I do have an olive complexion, my mother had freckles and was very aware and protective of her skin. So I learned early that there needed to be a limit of exposure to the sun.
But first things first- a couple of week ago, I was going to work and while waiting for the walk sign a younger person next to me said, “God why did I wear these pants? It’s so hot.” And just to be nice I asked what’s the problem? And she said, “These jeans are too tight and heavy. I feel just awful. I should be dressed like you with loose fitting light clothing.”
I thought yes, you should. But I don’t expect a 24 year old to be dressed like a 64 year old. Even if you were wearing shorts and t-shirts though, they should fit loosely. Do I know this from growing up in Florida? Maybe. So rule number 1 of thriving in hot weather requires you wear loose fitting clothing.
Rule number 2 involves the need for a hat. A wide brimmed hat protects your face and eyes from the ultraviolet light. Now we need sun exposure to get a proper amount of vitamin D3, but no one knows the exact balance between the healthy and unhealthy amount of sun exposure. But we do know that excess sun exposure contributes to skin cancer. And you may not know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Ultraviolet light causes the cell mutation to occur. The threat applies equally to exposure in tanning studios. Apparently incidence increases with blistering sunburns during your teenage years. So you can protect your skin by wearing sunscreen, which I never do; or you can wear a hat. Also, the location of many skin cancers is on the face and scalp. Wide brim hats are great protection as well as shade in the summer or winter.
Additionally, ultraviolet rays affect the eyes contributing to cataracts, growths, and cancers of the eye. So rule number 3 is to wear sunglasses that protect against the ultraviolet rays even if it’s a cloudy day. The best is if you already wear glasses have them made into transition glasses so that the lens turn dark outdoors.
And last but not least, surviving the remaining hot days requires that you pay attention to hydrating all the time. Notice it is the one thing missing in the photo above. This just proves that we all have room for improvement.
Please enjoy the rest of the very warm days left in summer. And please take care and love yourself.