A wise healer told me this years ago.
To be well and happy, I need to develop a relationship with Nature.
At the time I had no idea what he was talking about. I was a city girl from Singapore after all. There was me, and there was Nature – and never the twain shall meet, as far as I was concerned.
Then I moved to a small market town in Southwest England. Here, began a fledgling relationship with Nature.
A friend invited me for walks in the nearby forest. On these walks, I would admire the towering oak trees and beautiful bluebell carpets. And after I got back from these walks, I noticed how calm and refreshed I felt.
At about the same time, I was studying Zen Shiatsu, which is based in Taoist observances of the natural world. This gave me a new appreciation and understanding of how Nature relates to well-being.
Ancient Taoists described their cosmology using the philosophy of the Tao (loosely translated as The Way) and the complementary forces of yin-yang. This they further elaborated into the Five Element theory of Water, Wood, Fire, Metal, and Earth. The Five Element theory forms the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine, martial arts, music, astrology, and Feng Shui. Each of the elements in this theory represents a different energetic and emotional state of being.
To be well, we need to express and balance all the elements.
To be happy we need to pay closer attention to the element of Fire.
Energy and movement form heat, and heat creates fire. Rub both your palms together vigorously and feel the warmth that you generate. This is energy and heat. Fire is a powerful force of nature that moves outwards and spreads into its surrounding areas. Likewise, happiness relates to our ability to be active – move out into our communities and connect with others, to play, love, and laugh.
Happiness expands and reaches its full expression when we engage with life and other people in a lighthearted way.
The Fire Element is also associated with the colour red. To encourage and nourish this element and our happiness, we can dress in red clothing. Red artwork or paintings of lanterns, flames, and candles in your living space work too – even red pillows, blankets, and curtains. Be careful of too much red in the bedroom – it can be too energizing, making it difficult to sleep!
Bitter foods like chocolate can be eaten to balance your Fire Element. Yes, that’s right – chocolate can help make you happy. That’s probably a no-brainer… And here’s science – chocolate contains phenylephylamine, the same hormone that is released from the brain when a person falls in love. Eating chocolate physiologically increases your levels of enthusiasm and pleasure.
So go ahead, treat yourself to some chocolate, because you’re worth it.
Speaking of love, the Fire Element is related to the heart and circulation. Feeling warmth, physically and emotionally, is essential to a balanced Fire Element. And being happy. Lao Tzu said so. The Ancient Taoists considered the heart to be the centre of your spirit. In many other cultures, fire and light are also considered symbols of the spirit. So being happy is about being in your heart and having an awareness of your spirit.
Understanding the Fire element is a simple way to understand the way of happiness.
In short, the way of happiness is to interact with others and engage in life, to be playful, to have fun. If you feel unhappy, look to see where you can connect more with others, maybe wear a red dress or shirt, and indulge in some organic raw vegan chocolate. Most of all come from your heart, love one another, be aware of your spirit, and let your heart be the temple of your fire.
Michelle Ayn Tessensohn is a certified coach and facilitator based in Singapore. She offers private sessions as well as talks and workshops to help people heal their bodies, hearts, and souls. She is frequently featured on television, radio, and in print media. You can find out more about her coaching and read her blog at www.visionarypassages.com
Find out more about the 5 Elements and how this can help you be well and happy – Michelle’s next Natural Beautiful Emotion workshop is June 23 2013. Bring a friend for free. Use the code WHATTHERAPY for this 2-for-1 special when you register online.