“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
– Lao Tzu
Late Summer in Chinese medicine is the season of earth. We have arrived. Earth energy is sweet, circular, and yellow. It is associated with the spleen and stomach. It receives, digests and distributes. In Taoism, earth is the mother of 10,000 things or all things in nature. Healthy earth energy is really about stability in the midst of change. In March, we couldn’t imagine getting to August! But here we are, nature never fails us and never hurries even amidst a pandemic. A balanced earth element has never been paramount for our well being.
Wood (spring) and fire (summer) have already passed. With the pandemic all around us, our seasons this year may feel a little more like winter than anything else. Our summer may not have been the the fiery summer filled with social connections, joy, and enthusiasm as we usually know it. Many of us have been missing our usual barbecues, music festivals or travels abroad. Many of us have not even gone to the beach this summer! Covid-19 is teaching us patience, endurance, allowing, and the power of being. Rest assured that these water elemental or winter traits in health are ultimately restorative, empowering and strengthening in mind, body, and spirit. Despite the interruption to our lives and the sadness of loss and division, thank you COVID-19 for resetting our bodies, our minds, our spirits and the world around us.
Most of us are familiar with mother earth, the source in which we receive nourishment from nature’s bounty. The satisfaction of growing your own food and gathering the abundant harvest is a gift. A pandemic may have taught some of you this lesson! Some of us today, identify more with or can imagine the excitement of sharing a very special dinner with your whole family or circle of close friends at a farm to table restaurant. The host has invited you to this party to celebrate a very special occasion. You know the owner, you know the host, you know the farmer, you know the chef, and you know and are loved by this community. Just as physical nourishment enters our body, our minds and our spirits are nourished by the love from our supportive family and or community of trusted friends. One day, we will all be so grateful to share a meal with a group of beloved family and friends. Let’s not lose hope but look forward to that day!
The element of earth is ultimately what mothers give us – a sense of belonging and a sense of home. Our mothers, those who have cared for us, and mother nature is a gift. With this quality of nurturing in our lives, there is satisfaction and contentment. Our future needs feel met. We feel at peace because this grounds us and centers us at the core of our being. We are able to give from our hearts without expecting a return. We live out of abundance rather than scarcity. We are secure so there is nothing to worry about or be anxious about. There is a natural cycle of reciprocity. Ultimately we give generously from our hearts because of the gratitude in our hearts from this abundant splendor given to us. Our tight fists relax and our hands open to the world.
And then there are boundaries. Even a mother and mother earth has needs. Reciprocity is a natural cycle and a virtue of earth, negotiating the healthy balance of giving and receiving. Do you have the awareness of what you need? Do you ask for support when you are in need? Do you give until all your resources are empty? Do you give to someone who only takes? Do you neglect yourself to the point of resentment or exhaustion? Are you an angry doormat who allows everyone to step all over you? Do you take care of yourself or only others or things? Do you emotionally eat? Do you have no appetite? Do you have no desire to eat what is good for you? Are you frequently saying “I’m sorry” when you don’t need to? Are you needy? Do you have an aversion to needy people? Are you often looking for sympathy and throwing a “poor me” party? Do you have difficulty receiving or are you a tight fisted giver? Are you the taker who has no intention or is afraid to give? Do you often feel slighted or insecure about being excluded? Do you live beyond your means? These questions are often entanglements in the energy of earth.
When earth is in balance, there are clear boundaries in knowing when to receive and when to give. Giving and receiving stems from the heart with joy and gratitude. Feelings of security, stability, generosity, happiness from a deep sense of contentment, energy with a peaceful mind and a healthy weight can manifest. When out of balance, there can be physical problems with indigestion, abdominal distention, constipation, diarrhea, reflux, incontinence, cold hands and feet, or more serious problems like obesity, anorexia, or diabetes. Mentally or emotionally, there can be anxiety, worry, obsession, resentment, a lack of motivation, ADD/ADHD, and or utter depletion. At a spirit level, one can be completely uprooted. When all levels of agitation occur, J.R. Worsley illuminated this disheartening state as “a child who has lost one’s mother.”
For many of us there may be a smaller harvest than usual due to Covid-19 which can throw us off balance. What are some things we can do to realign ourselves with this season of earth?
10 tips for cultivating our earth element:
- Get in touch with your inner child, and ask for what you need and receive the sweetness.
- Give thoughtfully from your heart to someone in need – maybe it’s monetary or maybe it’s an hour of your time.
- List 3 things you are grateful for.
- Reach out to someone who nurtures you, be it a mother, father, teacher or friend.
- Practice self-care so you can care for others.
- Cook and enjoy a nourishing meal – something warm and easy on the stomach and skip the cheese (you might feel better!).
- Allow yourself to say no or no thank you.
- When you’re mind is restless and incessant with thoughts and worry, start and or end the day back in your whole body through a 10 minute breathing meditation.
- Take a walk in nature and feel mother earth supporting you through her beauty. As you walk, feel your muscles engaging, feel the earth you are standing on, and feel grounded and supported by it.
- Get your hands a little dirty and work with the soil and plant something or repot a plant that may need a mothering hand.
We are committed to support those who need care at this time with extreme caution and with every precaution. We are equipped with the proper PPE including use of an N-95 mask, a new air purifying system with UV-C light filtration and sanitizing methods during and between all treatments. A pre-screening phone call, email or text message prior to your visit will determine if your care is essential, appropriate and safe. Daily temperature readings via a no touch infrared thermometer and a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen saturation levels is used for every client. Please wear a mask for your appointment if you have one.
Telemedicine is also available for any consultation and treatment needed including distance zero balancing, nutritional counseling, Chinese herbal medicine prescription, and exercise prescription.