The concept of working with the Elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Metal) is familiar to many through the tradition of Feng Shui and it’s use of wood, fire, earth, metal and water to create harmony and peace within homes or businesses.
These same tools are also available to assist us in bringing peace and harmony into our Body and Spirit. The Elements are a beautiful tool of communication that we can use ourselves, and much of this communication occurs on a regular basis.
When a purposeful awareness is brought to this enjoyable practice, it benefits us by strengthening the bond of communication and trust present when listening to our own internal voice.
Today’s busy and chaotic work world can create busy and chaotic lives. Our busy energy mixes with the busy energy of individuals around us and it can become quite challenging to live in the present moment with any sense of peace.
When struggling to be present, focusing on an Element, just with thought alone, assists our body to move forward with an increased ease. The simplicity of this communication with our body occurs without words, and by removing the “chatter,” even for a moment, we may find our transition to calm and presence a smoother journey.
These are a few basic examples using the Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Metal) to assist our Being toward a state of awareness, and calm in the present moment:
- Earth—Think of the Earth and what grows upon this planet. Here you will find clues to working with the Element of Earth. For example, one may walk outside, touch a tree, carry a piece of driftwood in your pocket, walk barefoot, have a potted plant in your home or office, work in your garden, bend down and feel the dirt, or simply look out the window at nature. Each of these activities invite our conscious Being to become present. Nature with it’s silent language is a beautiful gateway. Think of touching a tree and it’s rough bark, imagine leaning into a pine and inhaling it’s fragrance, and the sense of calm these actions inspire. When working with Earth, invite her presence into your home or office; collect unique stones and have them on your desk at work or in your home in a visible location. Carry a stone in your pocket to hold in your hand to hold.
- Water—One can connect with The Element of Water using multiple actions in our daily lives. As you bathe or shower be conscious of the water, not only washing away the remnants of the day or waking you to a new day, but assisting you to wash away energies or emotions that do not need to be present. Give yourself permission to relax mentally in the shower or the bath and allow the Element of Water to aid in calming your body. If you find yourself in a frenzied state, run your hands under water and be purposeful; invite in the calm.
- Fire—The Element of Fire is found in safe and monitored use of flame. Candles, fireplaces, campfires—working with this Element invites us to access Fire. Place a candle on your desk, or work station, next to your computer as you work. Position a candle on your counter top in the kitchen as you cook, provide light to the dining table with candles. Controlled fire creates a meditative state, work with this Element in your living and work environments, as appropriate, to bring calm into your spaces.
- Air—Air as an Element is present in breath, wind, and movement. To find grounding and connect with the Element of Air we become conscious of the air around us and inside ourselves. We know conscious breathing is beneficial. Pay close attention to your deep breaths, your sighs, inhales and exhales. Notice when you take deeper breaths of relaxation or tight breaths of anxiety. Actively work to use your breath to calm and center yourself. This practice effectively employs the Element of Air in our body. Another use of the Element of Air is recognizing air and movement outside of our bodies. Step outside and feel the air on your skin. Take a deep breath and move your body to shift the air inside of and around you.
- Metal—Some consider this Element as an ingredient of the Element of Earth. I think of it as a combination of all. One needs Earth to produce, fire to work, water to cool and air to breathe life into fire to create heat. When working with Metal as an Element it benefits us to choose which Metals we have around. For example, wearing copper or gold jewelry, or cooking with cast iron. Think of picking up your heavy cast iron pan and feel your body resonate just a little deeper with the meal you will prepare. The Element of Metal in contact with our body, in my opinion, acts like a magnet to the Earth but uses all of the Elements in the process.
Purposefully connecting with nature and The Elements is meant as a tool to guide us into a natural, silent communication with our body. Introducing some of these thoughts and practices is an avenue to shift awareness into the present moment.
Our needs change constantly and it becomes a beautiful process to discover which Element, or combination of Elements, can provide what you need in the moment to find your presence.
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Apprentice Editor: Lizzie Kramer/Editor: Travis May