Living the Elements
Arts and Culture Section
Summer and Fire
Knowing the Seasons, Knowing the ElementsWelcome to the Living the Elements Arts and Culture Section! Each season, we feature songs, poems, and images that resonate with the season and its corresponding Element. We hope that you’ll find these examples enjoyable, and we hope that you will be inspired to share in our comments section some examples of Fire Element music and art that you are enjoying these days.
Summer and the Fire ElementCultivation of the Fire Element in summer is essential to health. The opportunity to open in warmth, allowing ourselves to blossom fully in life, is a task requiring surprising amounts of tenderness. We must learn to be playful, but without losing our sense of responsibility. We must be able to expand beyond ourselves to connect with others, but without scattering. We must overcome shame and inhibition, but without losing propriety. We must connect with each other spontaneously, and yet seek the kind of loving friendship that will endure—to keep us warm through the long winters to come.
Song: The Beatles – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Listen on Youtube
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. 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
Listen on Youtube
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
Listen on Youtube
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.)
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,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
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 exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
Join the Conversation
Do you have songs, poems, or images that really exemplify summer or the Fire Element for you?
Let us know in the comments!