July 3, 2020

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Living the Elements: Fire

Summer!

Summer is a time when it is safe to blossom, because all danger of frost is past. What a relief! We can shed our protective layers, and stand in the open, to see and be seen as who we really are. Summer is the time of extended light and warmth, and this is the basis of its capacity to invite us into the openness and exposure that allows us to create fulfilling connections.

The gift of Fire is lightness of being. Humor, playfulness and the ability to be silly are crucial to the health of Fire. Fire understands that in order to be truly sane, you have to be a little bit crazy — and not be afraid to let that show!

Between social distancing and social injustice, it can seem like this particular summer is not an easy time for joy and connection. Actually, the ability to show up with love in the midst of chaos is exactly what is needed right now. The energy of summer supports us in unabashedly refusing to let anything shut down our capacity to make connections and create fun in even the grimmest circumstances. How else can we come through our difficulties still healthy, still able to love and laugh?

I’d love to hear from you: Are you listening to, looking at, or reading anything that moves and heals and awakens your Joy this summer? Please share in the comments section below. I’m always up for more healthy Five Element nourishment through the arts. Meanwhile here are some of my favorites, just to get you started.

Song: The Beatles – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

I love this song for its happy “faux reggae” upbeat sound that raises the heart rate into buoyancy, yet prevents Heart qi scattering with its genuine, heart-felt joy in the enduring bonds of loving connections. A great example of the transformation from Joy to Propriety!

(For more about Joy and Propriety, see our Intro to Fire CEU.)

Song: Janis Joplin – Summertime

What would summertime be without Janis, without her utter Heart Mediator vulnerability, like a fully open flower in the sun, wind, and rain? Summertime is our teacher for what it feels like to be truly open to each other, capably of deep intimacy, able to share in the nakedness of love.

(For more about intimacy, vulnerability and the Heart Mediator, see our Heart Mediator: Love Beyond Betrayal CEU.)

Song: Pete Townsend – Misunderstood

So silly! And funny… And sad. So Small Intestine. Ah, the lament of simplicity for the love of a really complicated personality! Do we want to connect—or don’t we?

(For more about the fascinating and complex patterns of the Small Intestine, see our Chinese Herbal Treatment of the Small Intestine CEU. You don’t have to be an herbalist to get a lot out of it!)

Image: Chihuly Boat

I can always turn to Dale Chihuly, especially his boats, to cheer me up. All that glorious color and light! I feel a child’s joy and delight. Does it raise your heart rate when you look upon this wild, chaotic extravagance? Can you think of other art that speaks to your Fire Element?

(For more about the relationship between joy and chaos, see our Heart 6-7-8: Sovereign in Life CEU.)

Poem: Mary Oliver – Peonies

Oh, for a Heart Mediator like a peony! God grant me the courage always to love like that, with passion and intimacy undeterred by the shadow of death.

(For more about love undeterred by the shadow of death, see our Heart Mediator 7: Love and Ghosts CEU.)

Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Add your favorite Fire/summer Five Element resources in the comments below. And for a more in-depth experience of the Fire Element, join me at the Summer Fire Retreat later this month.

One comment
  1. M July 8, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    A long time favorite…

    https://youtu.be/ptFgZJ6Uk78

    Spending the Day in the Shirt that You Wore
    Poi Dog Pondering
    ——– — — — — —– —- — —-
    Spending the day in the shirt that you wore
    I can sense your presence from the day before…

    Oh the days of wine and roses and the rubbing of noses
    Bare feet, new sprouts, and garden hoses.
    Skipping stones, while skipping home…
    “Look at that tree, it’s got a brand new leaf!”
    Candle light, candle light — for no reason
    Eating fresh fruit when it’s in season.
    Take an aimless drive behind a motor wheel
    Sticking fingers on paintings to see the way they feel!

    Spending the day in the shirt that you wore
    I can sense your presence from the day before…

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