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Mar 102009

According to a Chinese saying, ‘tranquillity leads to longevity while impetuosity leads to premature death’. One possible interpretation: the ability to regulate one’s emotions, feelings & desires will promote healthy functioning of the body organs. Our emotions are interlinked & interrelated to and with our body as depicted in the 5 Phases Theory.

The 5 Phases/Elements theory can be used to describe the emotions – body interrelating patterns by interpreting the correspondences/associations of emotions and body parts with the 5 elements. The creative and controlling cycles of the 5 elements provide a way to describe the functioning tendencies of an energetic body system and the human emotions.

As shown on the 5 Phases Theory diagram (attached the pdf – emotions and the five elements), Anger is associated with Wood, Joy is associated Fire, Sympathy is associated with Earth, Grief is associated with Metal, Fear is associated with Water. Our body parts association with the elements are shown on the table above.

Examining my emotions, I was involved in a car accident (years ago) and my immediate felt emotion was anger, angry that the front car stopped suddenly. On closer examination now, fear was triggered before anger as I was frightened from the shake of the sudden impact of the cars. Anger soon dissipated to be replaced with relief/joy upon discovering that no major damages to cars and drivers. Later that evening, I did feel sorry/sympathetic towards the other driver as her car was in worst shape than mine. I called her up (self-pity too!) to check if she was OK. It took me couple of days to get over the incident. This grieving period completes the cycle of emotions as reflected by the creative cycle of the 5 elements i.e. fear triggers anger, anger turns into joy, joy becomes sympathy, sympathy gives way to grief.

What were my body reactions and manifestations?
Looking back to the incident and with reference to the 5 Elements table, the fright from the car impact most likely affected the ‘normal’ functioning of my kidney system as I felt momentarily numb, unable to move from my car seat. My Kidney (Water) not nourishing Liver (Wood) hence the numb or weak knees. The disruption or break in the Creative cycle of Water nourishing Wood also describes the disharmony in movement of Ki/energy in the body when the Controlling cycle of the Spleen (Earth) of Water is in disharmony. The Earth’s control of Water is not regulated hence Kidney(Water) is weak and unable to nourish Liver(Wood). The joy & relief of Heart(Fire) energy (my body is OK!) moved/supplied the Spleen(Earth) energy which then regulated/ controlled Water, re-balancing the movement of Ki in the body and restoring movement back to my knee.

Similar to the excessive fright/fear triggers, excessive or prolonged anger can affect the Liver system, over generation of anger (Ki channelled into anger) creating imbalances and deficiency in the regulated Liver system (the Anger & Liver organ correspondences). Disharmony within the Control cycle of Lungs(Metal) – Liver(Wood) can show symptoms of chest congestion, pain. (ref. Web that has no Weaver). As our body organs are interconnected, other manifestations and signs may also appear in other body parts or organs e.g. as indicated in the 5 Elements table for Wood, tears may secrete from our eyes, anger tensed up muscles, nails can also be affected.

As with excessive emotion, the lack of emotion e.g. lacking of joy in one’s daily existence can also affect the condition of our body parts. Blood vessels can be affected giving a dull complexion and excessive sweating.

Mar 102009

Back in 2007 during my 1st year part-time Shiatsu study (before my bike accident), I wrote this piece for my homework which I want to share with others here.

Metal, Earth & I
Physical & Psychological Associations

In introspection, I did and still do have a strong connection and resonance with the characteristics and properties associated with the Metal & Earth elements.

I have gone through three significant life changing events, death of my father back in 1991 (which had a great impact on me), divorce and separation from my kids and redundancy (all in the same year in 2002!). My father has a strong influence on my values system especially on education, family and being honest with myself. Maybe that why I’m constantly pursuing, yearning for quality and values in my life! (metal). My divorce triggered a period of confusion, frustration & depression whereby I simply cut myself off from everything and everyone (except my mother !) & I spent past four years moving & travelling (affecting earth element) in search of ‘I’, yearning for value, for meaning of life. In fact my search for meaning of life started just after my father’s death and also when my ex- husband was diagnosed M.S. which triggered a yearning to find ‘who am I’ (metal). Also, due to the nature of my work (travelling & lots of thinking) & family demands(3 kids with absent father) left me feeling isolated, frustrated with no time for myself, disconnected with myself and others (metal).

The process of grieving (a factor affecting metal), accepting and learning to ‘let go’ took a long time and with lots of mothering from my mother (earth). Yes I am a mother but I went through a period when I called my mother up (she lives in Malaysia) and I just wept & wept (metal sounding). I also spent a lot of time (over a year ago) with her as she needed (me ‘mothering’ her; earth) my company due to her own physical injury. I went to live in China (on 2 occasions over the past 4 years) to find the spiritual connection with my roots and to find the ‘I’.

Physically, I went through a period whereby I had bowels, acne, migraine/headache (metal) & indigestion (earth) problems. I remembered I had terrible eating habits and patterns (earth) and had terrible digestion problems. I also suffered from & still have tendencies to have upper back pain, stiff neck and shoulders and something which I noticed I am prone to that is knocking and bruising myself on my limbs fairly easier due to too ‘over-thinking’ (earth) and disconnected from my environment.

Insecurity is something I’m currently having to cope with and am trying to find a balance in my life i.e. not to be too ‘over-thinking’ and to nourish myself physically and spiritually (earth) to enable me to have a life style that enables me to be the ‘I’. I am more aware of my strengths e.g. my ability to engage more effectively with others (metal) and the ability to go back to my inner strengths to let go and break with the past to move on.

Now where did I put my chocolates?! Yes I do crave for chocolates (earth) and consume chocolates everyday!

Food for though eh?

Cher Devey