The five elements
In ancient times, Chinese intellectuals were concerned with studying patterns in nature. Finally, they noticed that all life moves in a circle. It is born, blossoms die and is born again. They also found that this cycle takes place according to fixed patterns, namely in a rhythm of five different stages with five different energy qualities.
They called these phases the Five Elements and gave each a name to describe the nature of their energy: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Moreover, they did not believe that life consisted of these substances. The names are meant to indicate the character of each dynamic.
All five elements are part of our character structure but in different quantities. Usually, one or two elements are most strongly represented and one of them is always dominant. This determines the ‘start mode’. The right combination of elements does not exist. We all have a unique composition and therefore ‘instructions for use.
The attributes of the element of Fire
You are naturally warm and affectionate to other people. Fire personalities are wonderfully expressive and receptive, making no secret of what they think and feel. On the other hand, the emotions of Fire types are sometimes triggered too quickly. When they are stressed, they can react very emotionally or take things too personally. They have hurt feelings easily. As a Fire Personality, you have a free spirit and fun is a primary necessity of life.
Fire: summer, noon, the prime of life
The questions below are some characteristics of the Fire element. Answer the following questions with yes or no.
- It is not uncommon for you to think of someone who is on the phone or texting the next moment.
- If you’re with others and one of them gets emotional, so will you – there’s nothing you can do about it.
- There are so many things you’re excited about that it’s impossible to pick just one.
- You quickly feel tense or have even had an anxiety or panic attack.
- You sometimes feel that it takes effort to focus on one thing for a long time.
Three common symptoms of fire imbalance
At Fire, exhaustion can arise from the heart’s unfulfilled desire to find love. If you have a lot of Fire in your nature, you are even more prone to emotional exhaustion for the reasons mentioned here. In addition, your tendency to constantly seek stimuli can become too much. Fire needs that way of life, but there are limits! If you have too much on your plate, your mind can become overstimulated and kind of explode. You’ll be running around like a headless chicken until at some point your system short circuits and throws you into a burnout.
1. Lack of joy
The emotion associated with Fire is joy, which is different from happiness or contentment. Joy is that elated feeling when your heart sings, a rush of pure joy surges through your body that makes your eyes sparkle. Joy is there in those ephemeral moments when you feel connected to the wonder you are living.
The lack of joy is the most common problem of Fire in our culture. We are surrounded by people who no longer have any lights in their eyes because they are trapped in a job that they detest or in a relationship that has been loveless for years.
We have been conditioned in our culture to follow our heads instead of our hearts. When we are at a crossroads, we choose the exit that yields the most money or the greatest convenience, although we would hear our heart thump if we listened. All that extra money is then spent on doctors and therapists because we’ve lost our happiness.
Fire fears nothing more than rejection. That’s a terribly painful experience for this element because it means people didn’t let you into their hearts. Your love was not returned with love. Fire lives for creating heart connections. You want to make all the people you meet feel special and okay, and you want to be treated the same way by them. Being able to feel loved within yourself is the most important function of the heart for you. If someone rejects you, it all disappears down the drain and your Fire can be in distress.
In Chinese medicine, trauma is defined as a shock to the heart (fire). Our heart is considered the center of consciousness in our body. If something terrible happens to you, your whole system can go into shock. This can cause a more or less severe form of PTSD, the equivalent of what is called “shock” in Chinese medicine. You don’t have to have fought at the front as a soldier to have ptsd. Recovery can be very difficult even in mild cases.
Health problems associated with disrupted fire management
Each of the Five Elements is associated with particular organs and physical functions. If there is a problem in any of the areas listed below, it could indicate an imbalance with the Fire element. Always work with your doctor if you have health problems.
- Heart (e.g. heart disease, arrhythmias)
- Small intestine
- nervous system
- Skin conditions (for example, rosacea, hives)
- Speech (e.g. stuttering)
- Brain function (e.g., concussion, fainting, epilepsy, stroke)
- Memory problems (e.g. dementia, short-term memory problems)
- Panic Attacks
- Concentration (e.g. add/ADHD)
‘Acupuncture for the mind’ – tips to get started
You can make small, subtle changes in your life that, like acupuncture needles, straighten the flow of energy. Here are two examples from Jean Haner’s book The Five Elements for working on your fire element:
Fire activities are all the things that make you happy and that you enjoy doing, even if they seem like a silly waste of your precious time. If the fire in your design needs a boost, you may hardly remember what ‘fun’ is because you haven’t had it for so long. You don’t have to go big here; after all, these remedies are meant to be needle pricks.
Play with your pet for a few minutes every day or go crazy with the kids. Chill out with someone who will make you giggle every time you interact. If you were forced to take an afternoon off and you were only allowed to do something fun and unproductive during that time, what comes to your mind? Break out of your regular rhythm for at least two hours and do it. If you can’t take time off to do something for yourself, look for ways to make your job more enjoyable. If that’s cleaning your house, turn the stereo to ten and pretend your mop and vacuum cleaner are dance partners.
Up the gear – pace and fun! The energy of Fire is tantalizing, fast, and exuberant. Do activities that match this vibration. Sign up for Zumba, salsa, or a tap-dancing course, or train to music that moves.
It may surprise you, but simply jumping up and down can also be very effective. If you suspect that Fire is overstimulated and unstable, this can be a good remedy, because ‘fighting fire with fire’ has the remarkable effect of calming the system. In other words, by stimulating an already overstimulated system, the surplus of energy can be burned away.