Honouring Earth

Tofino wellness: Honouring Earth

by Tamara Watson, Tofino


It is Earth time. A time to come to center, focus, orient and harmonize ourselves from within our bodies to everything around us. The Earth element according to Chinese Five Element Theory is unique in that it is associated with more than one season: late summer and the transition time between seasons. Late, or Indian summer, occurs during the middle of the Chinese year and represents the major shift from yang to yin energy, from the warmth and growth of spring and summer to the cool and replenishing time of fall and winter. It is like a neutral time, where everything seems momentarily suspended, still.

This same quality is found in the 7 days before and after each of the equinoxes and solstices. These periods are like pauses between new cycles of light, temperature and growth.

The Inner Classic says: The mysterious forces of the Earth create moisture in the heaven and fertile soil upon the earth; they create the flesh within the body and the stomach (and spleen-pancreas). They create the yellow color… and give the voice the ability to sing… they create the mouth (and sense of taste), the sweet flavor, and the emotions of anxiety and worry.

Earth is about feeling grounded and at home wherever you are. It is being in your body, feeling connected to the earth, to all of creation. It is about self-worth, feeling a part of the whole, and the ability to ask for and receive what you need. Feeling connected to the source gives the ability to empathize and give in return. If we do not take the time to come back to center, to pause and ground ourselves, we do not feel our beauty and power. We can’t see the potential abundance around us, we don’t feel deserving of whatever it is that will satisfy our dreams. Earth is related to anxiety, worry, and mental clarity. If we do not take the time to come to center, to process physical, emotional and psychological energies, we get stuck in limiting patterns, we avoid experiencing the present.

Earth is yin – it is allowing whatever has happened to be. It is acceptance right now of everything as it is, which allows us to see that we are perfect as we are. Earth is about creativity, the ability to dream and create our realities. To be creative means to feel oneness with the Tao, with of all creation. Singing is the spirit expressing that connection, as is art in any form.

The Earth element forms our center and an imbalance here affects the distribution of energy to all other elements. Areas of (dis)ease directly related to Earth energy are addictions, notably to sugar, abuse, sexuality, self-esteem, eating-disorders, respect for our physical bodies, our home, the earth. If we do not connect to our center, assimilate and digest the nutrients we need for our bodies, mind and spirit, we disconnect and lose touch with the source. We lack energy and mental clarity. When our basic needs are not met: love, sense of community, food, shelter, time for mental and spiritual replenishment, we turn to substitutes to dull the emptiness. The accumulation of lots of useless possessions and addictions are substitutes for a more primary need.

Earth time: pause, tune inward, recognize your immediate need, whether it’s nutritious food-physical energy, getting out of your head–meditation, a surf, or personal connection and support–a conversation or hug. Whatever it is, take the time to do it. It is more important that all the other things you think you have to do. It will fuel everything else, lead you in directions you can not see beforehand, bring you abundance limited only by your imagination.

I am writing this after participating in a didjeridu workshop at Hollyhock on Cortes Island. It is only through acceptance of the emotions triggered by the sound and breathing, of my frustrations and fears, that I am able to understand the essence of the Earth element. For me the didjeridu is a magical instrument and I didn’t believe I deserved to play it. I dreamed of playing it, and couldn’t accept my limitations. When I allowed for it to be ok that I couldn’t do circular breathing, that all that mattered was to accept and express myself, I finally got it- the understanding and occasionally the breath. Shine Edgar and Zach Sukuweh are excellent and inspiring teachers and musicians, and wise healers. For information about didjeridu sound healing and lessons you can contact them at: shine@songline.ca, 935-6934, or 935-0022.

Tamara Watson is a registered Jin Shin Do Therapist and offers a variety of acupressure and bodywork. You can contact her at 725-3976.

Tofino Time Magazine September 2004

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