I've just returned from a heavenly week in San Clemente, CA with my hubby, my two daughters and four of my five grandkids. It was full of fun and lightness. Walks on the beach, great food, birthday celebrations, and a general harmony and ease that made for a memorable time together.
And then there was the sea. So much happens to my body, mind and spirit when I am by her side. I love all her moods--the violent stormy ones, the glassy calm ones, and the playful sparkly ones. In all of them, my body drops into a relaxed state. The edges of my mind soften. My heart opens. I am in the flow, surrendered to my own tides. I tend to feel connected to everyone and everything.
These are characteristics of the water element, I am learning from my studies of Heart Rhythm Meditation with the Institute of Applied Meditation on the Heart. There are kinds of breathing related to air, fire, water and earth that can help us shift our way of being, and our way of seeing what is before us in life.
As an 'ocean person,' I've always related to the water element, which seems to connect me to spirit, along with the people I love. I know I'm also aligned with Air, as one who likes lofty ideas and the mind. Maybe I needed to move to the desert to acquire more fire and earth. We all need a balance. Which elements are good medicine for you?
You may be familiar with the elements and health from Chinese medicine or the art of Feng Shui, but for me the technique of balancing the elements in myself by using my breath is a new one. Now if I'm being excessively literal or intransigent about something, I can try some air breath to get the big picture, or some water breath to gain compassion. But when I'm feeling weepy and drowning in self-pity, it would be a good idea to try fire breath for courage or earth breath for patience and strength.
You could sample this by simply breathing deeply and fully while imagining yourself surrounded by whichever element you feel you need. Picture the energy of this element riding on your breath. As it enters your being, see how you react. If you're experiencing pain, for example, it might feel like fire. What will happen if you invite the water element to enter your body on your breath? You could breathe it right to the spot where the pain is. This is a sample of how yogis walk on hot coals without burning their feet.
In this system of experiencing the elements, along with air, fire, water and earth, there is ether. Ether is spirit, the invisible substance behind all life. We, as physical beings, have the chance to bring spirit to earth, to manifest the invisible and make it tangible. When you bring the energy of an element into your conscious being, you hasten the process of making you whole, and the universe whole as well. You bring the elements into balance, and you heal.
So maybe I'm not really an 'ocean person' after all. Maybe as spirited women we are the ones who can change the weather inside us and bring balance to the whole world around us. Now that's good medicine.