Fire and Shen
So, is it hot enough for you? I never truly gave that expression much thought until I moved to Florida where the summer season begins in May and lingers well into October. During those months, sunshine bakes the earth until ocean breezes collide with the heat of the day, dousing the air with merciful rain. From a Feng Shui and five element perspective, summer months are linked to the fire element (Li) and all the exuberant energy it contains. The most energetic and expansive of the elements, fire is associated with midday hours, the south, angled shapes, the planet Mars and the full moon. Fire is the sun itself and the spark that creates fusion. It’s the element that warms and excites us and makes our lives a little more interesting. Fire energy is there when we are happy and explodes when we are mad. It entertains us and ignites our passionate thoughts and feelings. Fire alerts us to danger and attracts a crowd. Fire tells the world your story and in business promotes your talents and gifts. But mostly, fire energy emanates from the heart.
Fire’s association with the cardiovascular system is found in traditional Chinese medicine, where a person’s physical and emotional health are viewed as one. Not only is the heart responsible for moving life-giving blood through the body, but this complex circulatory system is also tasked with dispersing life force energy (ch’i) through the spirit. This is called “shen.” A broken heart in Chinese medicine is a physical condition, as is anxiety, fear and sorrow. Self-confidence and enthusiasm are gifts of a happy heart while emotional upset invariably leads to physical deficiencies that affect behavior, mood and energy levels. However, if the fire element is out of balance either in a person’s physical constitution or surroundings, there are simple steps you can take to remedy the situation.
Here are some signs that the fire element is out of balance and what you can do about it:
If you are feeling hot, agitated, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, restless or confused it is likely there is too much fire energy around you and it will be helpful to introduce water. Wear black or dark blue clothing, go for a walk in the cool night air, soak in a bath or take a swim. Turn the lights and temperature down in your home or office and listen to clear, soothing music. Try to avoid large crowds and noisy events until you are feeling settled and strong again. Pace your activities so there is enough rest and relaxation time. Spend time alone or with peaceful people restoring your own equilibrium before offering to take on the burdens and distractions of others.
If you are feeling insecure, exhausted, cold, withdrawn, timid, melancholy, forgetful or speechless, you might benefit from having more fire energy in your surroundings. Spend time outdoors during the midday hours to replenish your fire energy. Wear the colors red and orange and stay physically active, preferably during the day. Take a walk through the city and mingle in crowds. Allow lots of natural light into your home and work environment and up the wattage of lamps at night. Listen to stimulating music and spend time with positive people who lift your spirits, not dampen them. Extend your hand to others then open your heart to allow them in.
As with each of the five elements, there is both a yin and yang nature that changes with the seasons of the year. Fire’s nature is to expand and reach but it must also be contained, especially in the hot summer season. Learning to harness the power of fire in your own surroundings will illuminate your path along the way. Drop me a note about how you are doing this summer and as always, let me know if I can help.
Wishing you a summer of calm shen and good ch’i,
Diane Gallin, CFSC