2020 has brought struggles to every corner of our world. There is an overarching sense of fear around grocery shopping, going to the store, vacationing—even spending time with family. We worry about our children and teachers returning to school. We struggle with heading back to work safely ourselves. And we search the internet with great hope that the numbers will swiftly decline, only to often discover the opposite. All of these events bring up a bevy of mixed emotions, from sadness and worry to fear and anger. So, how do we go about avoiding this impending doom and gloom and rediscovering joy?
Emotions are part of being human. You cannot avoid feeling them; nor would you want to. Feeling and expressing our emotions is not only part of our DNA, it is a gift. We have the ability to feel a wider range of emotions than could ever be written on paper. And expressing those emotions as we do, is what helps to make us all innately unique. The trick to keeping yourself balanced is in learning to let the emotions go. Are you sad that your kids won’t have a normal upcoming year in school? Sure. Are you concerned that they’ll slip academically or a family member will catch Covid, even with your limited social interactions? These are all founded fears. However, can you feel these emotions and then let yourself move beyond them?
All too often, we get stuck in the cycle of worry—fear—anger, and don’t allow ourselves a release. Think about a young child having a temper tantrum. He drops to the floor, crying wildly, flailing his arms and legs. He’s feeling angry and frustrated and is using his voice and body to express himself. And then, almost as if someone flips a switch, he starts laughing. If we study those reactions from the Five Element perspective, we see that Liver (anger, frustration) gives way to the Heart (joy, laughter). Interesting, isn’t it? How smart that little kids know how to let go and move on.
This year, all of our emotions are on overdrive, forcing our bodies to use extra Qi to process what we’re collectively experiencing. We tax the Lung (sadness), Kidney (fear), Liver (anger) and Spleen (worry). So where does the Heart come in? The Heart houses the spirit. It is all about joy and peace. The Heart’s job is to coordinate all communications between the organs so they can come together harmoniously. When this happens, the energetic vibrations of each organ form a beautiful symphony. The Heart is the conductor of this orchestra, bringing peace, love and joy to the entire mind-body-spirit being.
Summer is the season for the Heart, and a time to relax, let go and simply be. Follow these tips to release and renew.
Step 1: Release
1. Lung: Take a cue from Nature. In Fall, trees no longer need leaves to help them create energy. Instead, they drop their leaves to prepare themselves for the period of deep rest that lies ahead. See sadness as something separate from yourself. As the winds blow or the leaves fall, begin to release these emotions, little-by-little.
2. Kidney: Acknowledge your fears. Write about them, talk about them and give them their own stage. And then, with a deep breath, set them free. Give your fears to the Universe so your joy may shine through.
3. Liver: Break eggs against a tree or stomp on bubble wrap to release your anger and frustration.
4. Spleen: Listen to your body’s messages. Notice when you feel bloated or experience stomach pains or heartburn. What are you currently processing? Recognizing these messages can help you to view your digestive system differently.
Step 2: Renew:
1. Create a mantra that you repeat daily, such as “Everything happens for good.” or “My life is meant to be happy.” Help yourself to see the bigger picture and focus on the good.
2. Eat healing foods, such as in-season fruits and cooked vegetables. Giving your body warming foods helps add an additional layer of support so that your Qi isn’t used entirely on digestion. Reserve your Qi for healing.
3. Smile. What a powerful gift we’ve been given—the ability to smile. Practice smiling at yourself and then share your gift with others. Be sure your smile comes from within. As you smile, you are sharing your Heart!
4. Practice Qigong daily, focusing on our standing meditation, The Dragon Stands Between Heaven and Earth. [See video below.]
5. Be love and share love. Love is the most powerful way to nurture the Heart.
Enjoy this perspective? Keep reading to learn more.
Read about the Five Element Framework to better understand each of the organ systems and their corresponding emotions.
Then read more about the power of a smile!