Having Fun is Good Medicine!

When I was in school and later when I taught at the Finger Lakes School of Massage, I became familiar with the five element theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. For me, it is an important lens on how I view the world. It draws from the laws of nature and polarity of the yin and yang and expands it into 5 states of nature and phases of life.

Each of the 5 elements belongs to two cycles, "creation" and "control". In the diagram below, the creation cycle can be seen as you follow the outer arrows in a circle. Wood creates fire, fire becomes ashes and earth. Earth compresses into metal, metal collects condensation or water, and water nourishes wood. The arrows in the center forming a star show the control cycle. Water douses fire, fire melts metal, metal cuts wood, the roots of trees stabilize the earth and the earth creates the embankments of rivers and oceans.

All five elements support each other and keep each other in balance. There is much we can learn about our health and the world if we understand the ways these elements relate with each other.

So, this is where it starts to get complicated... each of these elements has a list of associations like an emotion, season of the year, organ in the body, flavor, color, time of day and energy channel in the body. It's a lot of information to learn and remember! Last week I spoke about grief and how we're in a time of intense change. Grief is the emotion associated with the Metal element. It's also associated with the lungs and large intestine (think of these organs role in "letting go"). Interesting that covid-19, an upper respiratory virus, is creating such grief across the world!

It is important to give yourself time and space to feel grief or sadness, I fully believe that we have to feel it to heal it. There is much in the world to feel heavy about right now. But, we don't want to get stuck there forever, we also want to be mindful about what could be keeping us stuck. We can see that Earth creates Metal, Earth is associated with the flavor of sweet and the emotion of worry. Check your sugar consumption and propensity for anxious thoughts as they are likely contributing to feeling down.

Looking at the control cycle, we can see that Fire helps keep Metal in balance and thus bring grief under control. The emotion associated with Fire is JOY! It's sound is laughter! Doing something light-hearted and fun that makes you laugh is quite literally the antidote to the seriousness of grief! Watch a silly movie, call an old friend, play with a child or put on some music and dance. Get creative! Making a craft or even coloring in a book are great ways to tap into Fire energy. When we recreate we re-create ourselves!

Having fun is good medicine. I hope you have some fun today!

Much love to you,


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