By Cathy Keenan
When I was pregnant I felt for the first time since I could remember grounded, strong and ultimately feminine. I walked with purpose and moved from my center. When we move from our center we are inhabiting the Earth element.
The Earth element is related to the Spleen/Pancreas (and Stomach). These are the organs that digest our foods and distribute their nutrients appropriately. They give us the sustenance to do what we do in the world. Psychologically, they allow us to digest and assimilate our experiences and turn them into usable ideas and creations.
The season associated with these organs is late summer and/or the transitional time between the seasons (the equinox and solstice). This is a time when the earth returns to its center and prepares for its transformation. Inwardly this season draws us back to our center to ripen our Qi (life force) and to nourish and nurture ourselves like a mother does for her child. The spirit of the Earth element endows us with the ability to stand behind our words and dreams with purpose and intent and to bestow upon us clarity of thought and integrity.
The emotion related to the Spleen is sympathy, our ability to connect and care for others. Like everything in life we can over extend ourselves and give more than we allow ourselves to receive, neglecting our own needs. When our Earth element is out of balance we may find that we worry persistently about many things. This disturbance of energy depletes our Qi which may negatively affect our ability to digest and transform our thoughts and ideas into actions which are expressions of our soul. People with a weak sense of center have difficulty in setting clear intentions and rather than living the life they really want they get stuck going round and round in circles. Digestive disturbances, eating disorders, obsessive thinking, over caring for others while neglecting oneself are a few examples of signs and symptoms of a weak center.
Healing must begin by strengthening and reconnecting to our own center and listening to our inner voice. Bringing our words and actions into harmony by balancing our commitments and not extending beyond our limits. Meditating, Yoga, Tai Chi… help to bring us out of our minds and into our bodies. We can begin to strengthen our digestive system by consuming whole foods that help to nourish and replenish our system. We can make food a sacred practice by showing gratitude for what we are about to consume. Find a quiet place in nature to plug back into the earth’s energy. We need this time to listen to our hearts because it is difficult to get anywhere in life if your feel and heart and feet are moving in opposite directions. Living life the way you intend, expressing yourself clearly and holding your ground are ways to celebrate being a centered person.
In our (Yin) Yoga practice this month focus on centering yourself with your breath. Drop your mind into your belly and feel what is going on within you. Bring your yoga outdoors on the grass to soak up some of that Earth Qi. Try massaging your feet everyday for a week to draw energy from your head down into the soles of your feet which support us everyday. Let go of ideas that do not nourish you and practice loving the body you are in. Tend to your garden of life and live spontaneously and gratefully. Feeling at home in our bodies and caring for ourselves will likely transcend the way we take care of our mother earth.
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