In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the law of the Five elements is based upon the cosmic cycle of birth, growth, harvest, death and renewal which has been an important aspect of human experience for millennia. This law describes the ongoing, repetitive cycle and how they mutually create and destroy each other in an endless dance.
In the creative cycle with ki (chi as in Tai chi) moving clockwise, water nourishes wood, wood feeds fire, burned wood turns to ash and creates earth and earth then disintegrates into the minerals of metal. On the left side from water to fire, the ki is upwards, ordered, expansive and potent (Yang). As the cycle moves around, the energies run down and become more inward and still (Yin) in preparation to move upwards again.
The control cycle, with the ki moving in a clockwise direction on the lines of the inner pentacle is when the creative aspect of the cycle becomes limited. Water controls fire, fire melts metal, metal cuts wood, wood contains earth and earth limits and controls water. The two cycles work together as without the control cycle the creative cycle would over produce and without the creative cycle the control cycle would endlessly limit production or creativity and the cosmos would dwindle to nothingness.
Each of the five phases corresponds to a particular natural element - water, wood, fire, earth and metal and each of these elements have their own strengths and qualities in nature that can be cultivated in us as human beings. For example, to flow through life like water, to be as flexible as the trunk and branches of a young tree (wood), to ascend like a glowing flickering fire, to be as grounded as the earth and be as defined as metal.
Along with the overall 'feel' of an element each one has it's own characteristics and associations which can point you in the direction of that element. Everything from color, the seasons, taste, time of the day, emotions and physical condition can offer an insight into the expression of the unconscious psyche. For example if you are consistently drawn to the color yellow it could suggest an imbalance in your earth energy. A voice that 'shouts' even though it is not loud would draw you towards wood energy. A salty diet would lead you towards a water imbalance and persistent ulcers on your tongue would suggest a need to look at your fire energy.
I find that whilst giving Shiatsu images and sensations may arise that can show me which element is 'around' at that time and for me these 'clues' guide me towards the necessary quality of touch that enables healing to begin at an unconscious level. The sense of fear may be wanting an earthy reassuring touch whereas anger might be needing the focused directness of metal. By listening to your bodies wants and needs with the right touch and intention, Shiatsu can awaken and rekindle these energies.
I love cycling, it's the combination of freedom, forward movement, exercising my body, being out in nature, fresh air and sun (sometimes). So when I was out cycling on Sunday I realized I was in my element ....the Wood Element.
In the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) cycle of elements, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal, the wood element can be characterized by the season of Spring. It's the awakening energy, new plans, new possibilities, new growth and energy....that splurge forward to fulfill your mission with renewed vigor. Nature shows us how it's done at this time of year, everywhere you look trees, plants, the earth in fact is bursting into life, Creativity abounds....roots firmly grounded in the earth whilst branches, leaves and flowers reach up to the skies, the wood energy doing what it was made for....rising, expanding a force for flexibility and growth.
Wind is associated with the wood element and there was plenty of that around on Sunday as I forged my way at what felt like 50mph (probably more like 13!) around my decided route. The wind is clearing and brings about quick change and after the long dark days of winter, being out in the sun and wind peddling like crazy I could feel the stagnation of the last few months dispersing. Helped along by my occasional whoop of joy and laughter as I conquered another hill!
Unsurprisingly the colour green is connected to the wood element, so too is a strong, loud voice (lots of that on my bike ride) it enables us to be heard, draw attention to what we have to say and what we want. Eyes are the sense organ for wood, allowing us to see the scope of the situation before us in order to choose a direction, a clear way forward. Community and peaceful coexistence are characteristics of a balanced wood energy as are being organised, proactive, motivated, decisive, flexible and cooperative.
If our wood energy is not flowing freely we can encounter feelings of being 'stuck', we lack vision, have difficulty making decisions or taking action. This can lead to tension and inflexibility both physically and emotionally, headaches or migraines can manifest. Conflicts can arise along with frustration, anger and rage. Anger can be very liberating but it can also be held as resentment and bitterness, this can block our movement and vision.
So it could've been a completely different story on Sunday had I not been in my element. The wind would have well and truly cheesed me off, plenty of shouting of a different nature would have ensued. I probably wouldn't have decided which route to take and ended up half heatedly poodling along, if fact I probably wouldn't have gone out at all!
Hooray for the Wood Energy .....Welcome Back !!
As a Shiatsu practitioner when I'm working with the body I sense or tune into an emotion. For example when I've held a shoulder I've felt sadness, anger when I've been palpating an acupressure point on the foot, joy when working on an arm. It's always different for each client as everyone has their own life experiences, past and present and therefore their own energetic and emotional pattern. I'm aware that these patterns, if not balanced or addressed can lead to a 'fall out' of energy that the body has had enough of and will leak into the physical form of illness or discomfort after a period of time. When a condition occurs it's to help point us in the direction of what we may need to change in our lives in order to keep balance or 'homeostasis ' in our emotions, mental reasoning and spiritual life.
But is there a body map that shows what parts express what emotions?
Mona Delfino, the intuitive energy practitioner and teacher has spent over 30 years working with individuals and groups and her discoveries have not only helped me personally but also professionally in supporting others to look at their own life patterns and how they may contribute to their condition.
Below are some examples of what body parts express what emotions, based on the overall role of the area...
Arms: What are you carrying....or who?
Armpits: Storage unit of what we don't want to see anymore (emotional).
Back: Questioning life's relation to support (who supports us, etc).
Bladder: Emotional resistance to life.
Breasts: Nurturing the Self (or lack of).
Calves: Moving forward. Not dealing with past issues or patterns.
Colon: Not going with the flow of life, emotional resistance to change.
Eyes: How do you see life? Is it according to your true self?
Feet: How we walk in this world. In which direction are we walking?
Hands: Represent holding on or letting go.
Heart: Not listening to our true self through our feelings.
Hips: General support. When they slip out it generally relates to an imbalance in how you are relating to life, feeling lack of support and love.
Joints: Flexibility to or in your situation.
Knees: Seeing life as unsupported. Inside knee; job, friends. Outside knee; personal issues.
Nerves: Sensitivity towards a situation not acknowledged.
Ovaries: Very sensitive past issues about creativity. Guilt.
Sinus: Confusion. Needing to let go or make decisions on a mental level. Sinus infections are anger in the situation. Headaches are contributed to not making a decision. Migraines of knowing what decision to make and not making it.
Stomach: Carries recognition of digesting life, or not.
Swelling: Tears unshed.
Blockages in the form of discomfort and dysfunction can restrict the body's potential for healing.
Allergies: Blockages in the stomach and intestines...what are we not digesting?
Aching: Craving love so badly it hurts.
Anxiety: Fear generated by past experiences not yet released.
Arthritis: Joints determine flexibility. How flexible are you willing to be? Not letting go.
Asthma: Fear from past lives, somewhat acknowledged in this life. Feeling alone, not safe.
Blood pressure: What pressures stand in our way to freedom?
Bones: Past lives and memories stored there. Marrow is the meat of our past.
Bowels: The 'outcome' of the day. Pressures either building or releasing.
Cancer: This brings up inner upset. Deep hurts unresolved.
Candida: 'Can anybody hear me?' Lack of trust. Deep frustrations not recognized.
Carpal tunnel: 'Why can't I make this life work?'. It's a form of outward frustration relating to the nerves held deep under the armpit. This is also where we keep our deepest secrets so others can't see them.
Cold Hands and Feet: Not trusting yourself, believing you may never 'live up to...'
Colds: We don't catch colds. Colds are mental confusion...not sure if you should choose one way or the other.
Fat: Over-sensitivity, sadness, a need for a way of protection. Where is all this weight coming from? Can also be holding onto other's or your own emotions.
Fatigue: Boredom, resistance and denying what it takes to move forward. Whats next?
Fibroids: Questioning if you are loved. Nursing pains from the past.
Flu: Time out. This is your body's way of making yourself slow down.
Gum problems: Not making a decision for yourself and not sticking to it if you did.
Be clear and go for it.
Hay Fever: Not feeling that you deserve to be happy. A form of self persecution.
Insomnia: Fear, guilt and a feeling that I just can't control life.
Muscles: Representing our ability to move in life. How flexible are we?
Nail biting: Not liking yourself and wondering if you really have anything to offer. Questioning your worth.
Pneumonia: I'm so tired, trying isn't necessary anymore.
Sacrum: What are you siting on? Let's get to the bottom issue.
Spasms: Holding onto old thoughts when they are ready to be released.
Teeth: Not liking your situation . because they are bone it could be past life pain coming up for release.
Ulcers: Not feeling fulfilled, leaving a hole and causing grief.
So the body speaks for itself, it has no agenda, it only reacts. We are now living in a time of greater awareness that we can be and are in charge of our physical, emotional and spiritual well being........if we begin to listern, understand and trust it.