Summer is a time when our fire element is strong. It is a time of passion, dancing, it feels good to be alive, a time of high spirits, to go out to events, to socialise, to wake early and enjoy the long days.
The fire energy is meant to open the heart and bring warmth and joy to our inner being. There is a sense of respect for ourselves and others. However, sometimes the fire gets too hot - we feel impatient and hurried, which can lead to a type of arrogance, disregarding or feeling frustration with people, rage and hatred. We can appear edgy, merciless or stern, especially if we can’t express our passion for life and have fun.
An overheated fire element can put pressure on the physical heart and the circulatory system and cause our hormones to go out of balance. Fire symptoms can manifest as high or low blood pressure, pain in the chest or in the back behind the heart, buzzing in the ears, bloodshot eyes, red or white nose, shortness of breath, flushed complexion and hastiness.
Water is the element that balances this heat: swimming, walking by the water, gazing at the sea, taking a bath or drinking water cools our fire. Water moistens our heart and stops it from getting too dry.
As a source of emotional harmony, it is also through the heart that we experience warmth and tenderness. Just as the heart has always been a symbol of love, so according to Oriental medicine, it is the organ of love and affection – both as receiver and giver of emotional warmth. The focus of sensitivity and feeling, the equanimity of the heart and mind is fundamentally responsible for ensuring a well-integrated and contented emotional life – as well as a balanced mind. Most psychological problems will subsequently involve, at least to some degree, an imbalance within the fire element.
The enthusiasm and spontaneity that reflects the heart in harmony can become, when under stress, a feeling of nervousness and agitation. Moreover, the natural sensitivity and passion of the fire element, if it blazes out of control, can result in an individual who easily becomes over-excited and is quickly hurt. Nervous exhaustion and insomnia are often the consequences.
So what helps the fire element get back into balance or strengthens it?
· Dance, song, mime, acting, theatre, opera, drama, comedy, performing arts in general
· If you experience highs and lows, ground yourself by gardening, cooking or doing a craft.
· If you feel impatient, hasty, anxious take a dip in the water. Allow yourself to relax and float – to be supported and cooled by the water.
· Practice being grateful every day – this gives a feeling of satisfaction, inner peace and trust.
· If you feel hatred and rage – look to the underlying emotions of anger and fear. Too much fear extinguishes the inner fire and enthusiasm and spirit. So we need the practicality and creativity of earth to calm our fear. Practice earth chi kung, eat regularly, have a stable home environment. Face the fears with intelligence and a clear mind – this gives wisdom.
· If you feel deep seated anger then you need to work on your metal element: practice breathing chi kung, obtain some counselling, play an instrument or meditate.
· If you feel impatient and hasty then you need to slow down. Take very slow walks daily and smell the roses. Use an affirmation like “I let go and trust in the process of life”. Sleep more. Use the bone breathing and bone dreaming meditations. Swim leisurely, have a quiet holiday, paint or sculpt. Impatience is a side effect of denied anger feeding insensitivity and impatience. Stimulating and cultivating creativity and sensuality, providing a safe and hospitable place where creativity can be channelled, will progressively transform impatience and hastiness into high spirit and enthusiasm.
· If you have fits of rage practice water chi kung and figurative arts until you are able to do the most tedious kind or work without feeling impatient. Be careful with alcohol intake as this is fuel to a fire and can cause an explosion!
· Have regular relaxation/sensual massage.
Reference Marin, Giles; Five Elements Six Conditions; North Atlantic Books, Berkley, California, 94712: 2006
Elayne Lane is an instructor of the Universal Healing Tao. She has been teaching and doing bodywork in excess of 20 years.