Today dawned breezy as earth warmed and pushed back against fog from the sea. Kaleo and I took in the sweet fragrance and even a few tastes of the ripe fruits and vegetables at the Danville Farmers’ Market. Even the colors seemed plump. Long summer, according to Chinese Medicine, is the time of harvest, abundance, shared bounty, when people gather and prepare the harvest against long, dormant winter.
“When we do Qigong, we are aware of the Five Elements [Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth] within us, pulsing through our bodies’ organ-meridians, sense organs, tissues, fluids, diurnal rhythms, and emotions…. Earth grounds, supports, and nourishes us, takes our old Qi and recycles it, is the home we all share.”*
When we do Qigong in nature, Earth’s huge firm belly beneath our feet feels so alive. She subtly, deeply, breathes, slowly goes through the moons of her seasons, her deep metabolic cycles. How trustingly we expect her to support us. The 6.0 earthquake in Napa last month reminded us of her capacity to change quickly, without warning, unsettling all we know.
“Excessive worry, the emotional challenge of Earth, can be a sign that your Earth Element is out of balance. In addressing worry, it is important to be conscious of your dietary habits—not only what you eat, but also how and when. It helps to be quiet and relaxed while eating, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for digestion and helps you to savor and taste the food.”*
Last month during a week-long retreat at Redwoods Monastery, we shared in meditation, ritual, and simple but luscious organic vegetarian meals eaten in silence with the rest of the community—all very restorative for the Earth Element.
*Quotes from The Creative Art of Living, Dying & Renewal by Elise and Kaleo Ching (©2014, North Atlantic Books)