According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are now in the period between the energetic seasons of Fall and Winter which runs from October 21 to November 7.
In our previous blog post, we talked about best eating practices for this season which is associated with the Earth element. Today we are diving into the emotional aspect of Earth type people, both those who are in balance and those who have what we call Earth imbalance.
In balance Earth types are the people with the sunny disposition. They are very nurturing, caring and are wonderful friends. Earth types accept everyone into their world for they feel a kinship with all other human beings. When in balance, Earth types are very even, serene centers of gravity around which people love to gather. Tolerance is their guiding principle. They are able to feel empathy for another’s pain and can quite easily return to themselves without having taken on that pain. Balanced Earth types can do this because their boundaries are very well established within themselves. They give selflessly and are always available for their friends.
One of the imbalances of Earth types, however, tend to be lack of boundaries. It is evidenced in the volunteers who never say no and the friends who always offer a shoulder to cry on to the detriment of themselves. They have difficulty separating their lives from the lives of their friends or clients. They have forgotten how to take care of themselves. They have fallen into the groove of reacting to others rather than responding with awareness.
In fact, most of us simply react to life and the people in our lives instead of responding with conscious awareness. To bring awareness and a greater level of consciousness to our responses, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff* (whose quote is the title of this blog post) urged his students to reply with,
“Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you in 24 hours.”
In those 24 hours look to see if you actually have the time and energy to commit to the project or request. If you feel torn between fulfilling your friend’s request and what you need to do for yourself, opt for taking care of your own needs. State it clearly and without vacillation. This will eventually become an easy practice.
If we have a need to solve other peoples’ problems and it becomes all-consuming, we cannot place proper focus on ourselves. We lose our most important sense of balance. Important boundaries between ourselves and the people in our lives are blurred and we almost can no longer see where we begin and the other person ends. Where we once thought we were giving loving support to another has now become suffocating and meddlesome. We have lost ourselves and will lose the ones we love if we don’t retreat to focus on ourselves and bring our Earth aspect into balance.
*Russian spiritual leader and mystic (1877–1949), philosopher and spiritual teacher; he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Paris (1922).
Source: Elias, Jason, and Katherine Ketcham. Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity: Understanding the Five Elemental Types for Health and Well-being. New York: Three Rivers, 1998. Print.