Earth in Balance
You may have noticed there was no monthly newsletter in April. Truth be told, despite my best efforts, I simply ran out of time. This is a fairly universal problem these days and one that bears addressing, especially since evidence clearly supports a correlation between physical and emotional wellness and the quality of personal time. It’s not as though the earth is actually spinning more quickly, but from the letters and calls I received last month, my clients tell me otherwise. While some are busy designing, renovating and building homes or growing their families and businesses, others experienced reminders that it might be time to slow down.
In Chinese five element theory and feng shui, earth is the element associated with both physical and emotional health. Located in the center of the cycle, it represents the mother, connectedness, harmony and transformation. Earth fuses and disperses yin and yang energy and is the glue that holds all the other elements together. It conveys caretaking and giving, healing and changing. When balanced, earth provides a nurturing safe haven and a solid foundation for building relationships. But excess earth energy weighs us down, and contributes to feelings of melancholy, worry and resistance to change. Physically, we feel stuck, lacking energy and motivation. Smooth transitions are difficult and caring for others becomes burdensome. Since earth is linked to the stomach and spleen, we may turn to food for comfort (especially sweets) or suffer from digestive or elimination problems. By contrast, too little earth complicates personal boundaries, feelings of separation, hypersensitivity to criticism and dependence on others for validity. The quality and quantity of earth ch’i in our environment and constitutional makeup (see Four Pillars) affects our ability to cope with physical and emotional issues.
If you recognize any of these tendencies, it’s possible that your earth ch’i is out of balance. Here are a few ideas to help you on your way:
- Evaluate the center of your home and work environment (tai ch’i) for design details that create drains or blockages or impede the flow of ch’i. This includes walls, furniture, bathrooms, storage rooms, clutter, etc.
- Surround yourself with optimistic people who support your own desire to learn, grow and change. At least one of them should have the nurturing qualities of a mother who cares for her child unconditionally.
- If you are feeling stuck or lacking in motivation, add some of the elements that help bring earth into balance, such as water or wood. Water is found in the colors black and dark blue, wavy shapes, glass, mirrors, fountains, waterscapes, reflective materials, diaphanous fabrics, chiffon, gauze, rayon and crepe. Wood is found in all shades of green, rectangle or column shapes, plants, wood furniture, trees (or pictures of trees), bamboo, wicker, forests, floral or striped fabrics, straw, cotton, denim and linen.
- If you are feeling unsupported, as though you were drifting, add earth elements to your clothing and environment. These include the colors brown, ochre, yellow, orange, and saffron, terracotta, ceramics, pottery, low and square shapes, autumn scenery, broadcloth and tweed fabrics, muslin, flannel and raw silk.
- Spend time outdoors barefoot every single day. Studies have shown that grounding your body to the earth, even for 10 minutes a day, helps relieve stress, improves immunity and lowers blood pressure. Immersing yourself in a natural body of water such as the ocean or a lake is also grounding.
- Clear your clutter. Surrounding yourself with ‘things’ can become a substitute for experiences, so evaluate your belongings for items from your past that may be holding you back and only hold onto those you love or that serve you.
- If you live or work in a high rise building, be sure to spend time outdoors at ground level each day to restore equilibrium and your connection to the earth. Walk whenever possible rather than riding in an automobile, bus or train.
- Create a safe and secure place in your home to relax and restore your energy with little distraction. Comfortable (not formal) furniture and warm inviting gathering spaces are ideal for encouraging conversation and developing benevolent relationships.
- Allow time in your day to care for a person (or a pet) who needs your love and support and allow someone else to take care of you. This is very important, because earth ch’i is about giving and taking in equal measure, so be sure to maintain that balance.
Once you begin to balance your own earth energy, you’ll likely notice changes. Drop me a note to share how you are doing with this. And, as always, let me know if I can help.
Wishing you peace, prosperity and support that earth has to offer,
Diane Gallin, CFSC