Summer is about the Fire element, and Fire is about joy and relationship. It’s the spark of connection. It’s the warmth of friendship. It’s the heat of passion, romance and intimacy. And it’s the alchemy of the flame.
That is what the upcoming Fire Re-Ignition workshop is about: the transformation from free-floating anxiety to the rooted flower of joy. It’s an exploration of what creates a good connection.
There is so much that never happens between people, if we don’t actually connect. The degree to which we are risking the Fire of connection is the degree to which we will be benefited by the warmth—and be changed by it.
One of my biggest concerns right now is that many of us have lost certain skills during the pandemic—skills of immediacy, intimacy, and Fire element type exchange. I believe that I’ve been noticing recently that there is less skill at conversation in the general population. I’ve noticed more of a predisposition in people for talking as though they’ve just turned on the faucet, and words just flood out until the tank runs dry. Then the person looks at you, and apparently, now it’s your opportunity to turn on the faucet and run a monologue until your tank runs out.
I really have the feeling that this phenomenon wasn’t as frequent back in 2018. It still happened; I’m not saying it didn’t happen. But generally speaking, I remember that conversation had more give and take in it. It happened in shorter units, with more reflection in the back and forth.
For that kind of conversation to happen, there definitely needs to be more connection. Because connection is like the heartbeat; it’s a two-way back-and-forth movement. There’s an outward part of the conversational heartbeat, like, “Hey, I’m telling you something,” and there’s also an inward part of the conversational heartbeat. With every heartbeat, there’s also a receptive “Oh, I am taking to heart what you are saying” that allows something to come in.
It’s one of the most important aspects of connection—not just the outward but the inward. If all we have is the outward “turn on the faucet and pour it on out,” we will not end up feeling connected and warmed. We may easily put it on out there, blah blah blah, but it is the listening (not the listening like “impatiently waiting my turn,” but the listening like creating a chamber in the heart so what is coming forth to us will have a place to dwell) that makes a really big difference.
I was speaking recently with a new friend who talks a lot. She talks a lot like a palm tree in a storm. She is very charismatic; she has a lot to say; she is absolutely brilliant and fascinating; so most of the time, she is talking and I am listening, and it is delightful to listen to her. I enjoy it very much.
The other day she said to me, “You are a very good listener.” I said, “Thank you.” She said, “I think that my listening skills are not very developed. How do I become a better listener?”
What I found myself saying to her was, “I think that in order for me to speak, I need to feel a little bit of tenderness from you. I need to feel that you listen with tenderness.
She said, “Tenderness. I don’t even know if I know about tenderness. I know about fascination.”
I said, “Yes, you have a vast capacity for intelligent fascination, but I need a little bit of tenderness and a little bit of compassion, and a sense of a place on the inside, like a sofa, that I could come sit down on.”
She said, “Oh, that feels really, really different. I’m not sure I’ve been doing that.”
I said, “That’s what I think helps make good listening. That’s what would get me sitting on your sofa.”
She said, “I’m gonna have to think about this,” and I felt very heard, actually, at that time. It made me want to have more conversations about having conversations.
This is the art of connecting, conversing, relating, exchanging; and I think that it’s not obvious anymore. I think we’re very out of practice. There is a lot of automatic functional communication—more like data exchange. We’re communicating, but we’re not actually connecting, so there isn’t that exchange of spirit and alchemy of spirit.
I think that’s a shame, for a number of different reasons. What kind of life is it, If we never have a chance to blossom like the flowers of summer, and allow our true face to come out with others who are showing their true face?
To learn more about Fire element healing, join Thea at one of her upcoming Fire events. Fire Re-Ignition is happening on June 25th, 2023, and Whole Heart Acupuncture Fire is happening on July 8-9, 2023.
To join the discussion, find us on my Perennial Medicine discussion listserv (all are welcome)