To me, Nature is divinity, and I'm in love with the Earth. But I don't spend as much time in nature as I'd like. Sometimes, I go on technology overdose, and I start to feel really spaced out and irritable, or just plain depressed. Too much time indoors can really make a person nuts.
Nature Deficit Disorder isn't just for kids - adults need nature too. It's in our blood. Nature-based religions honor this through connection to the elements. No, not the periodic table! Many paths recognize the natural elements as Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
When we're tweaked out on silicon, electric lighting, and too much caffeine, we can reconnect with Nature and the elements to find balance. Get ready for some 'woo-hoo' theory that actually works!
On a spiritual level, we reflect the elements: our minds (air), our physical needs (earth), our emotions (water), and our will (fire). Most people are made up of mostly one or two elements, and you can see that in their personalities - ever describe someone as 'fiery'? or an 'airhead'?
Our internal elements can get pretty unbalanced, though, so we can find balance by reconnecting to the missing elements. For instance, if I drink way too much coffee and spend all day checking email and reading online articles, I feel really jittery. That's an Air overload and a lack of Earth. So, by connecting with Earth, I can regain balance.
Understand the Elements
Air represents learning and communication.
People who are very Air-oriented are very good at intellectual pursuits, tend to be up on the news, and are very skilled at concentrating for a long time.
People lacking in Air energy have no taste for intellectual matters, cannot stand current events, get bored easily, cannot focus, and are somewhat scattered and flaky.
Water represents emotion, cleansing, and healing.
People who are very Water-oriented are deeply sensitive; very compassionate; secretive; usually calm, but if they get upset, they get upset; and they tend to have psychic capabilities.
People who are lacking in Water energy have no compassion, are generally nasty, and are rather distant.
Which elements are missing for you?
I am very Water oriented, with a side-serving of Air. I tend to lack Earth, and sometimes Fire.
Balance Your Elements
Reconnect with Earth
- Find a quiet spot in a park, forest, or your yard and lay down in the grass. Close your eyes and feel the coolness of the grass, the give of the soil. If you open your mind far enough you can feel the curve of the Earth beneath you - it's pretty amazing.
- Hang out with stones and crystals - meditate on the deep quiet of underground, where these stones grew.
- Play in the mud!
- Sit with your back to a tree and feel its energy. It will talk to you, if you're quiet enough.
- Take up gardening, or just get a houseplant and see if you can keep it alive. All plants are creatures of Earth.
- Drumming is an Earth-bound activity, as is dancing - find a drum circle and let your percussive instincts free. If all else fails, turn over an empty pot and bang on it.
- Practice regular grounding exercises. My personal favorite involves visualizing myself as a tree, with roots extending from my legs and branches from my head. You can draw up energy from the Earth to stabilize your mental and emotional selves, which is great in times of stress.
- Get off your butt and move! I suggest ecstatic dance, or something with a lot of hip gyrations. Fire lives at the base of your spine and in all the nether regions, so wake them up. Dress in something provocative, or better yet nothing at all, and put on something with a driving beat.
- Have sex. This is guaranteed to 'light your fire', whether it's alone, in twos, or in groups. Practice safer sex!
- Try fire gazing. The flame of a candle will put you in trance very quickly, and the things you can see in flames are amazing.
- Take up a martial art and beat the shit out of something - in a constructive, controlled manner. Martial arts can help you manage anger, and it will also enable you to walk down a dark street knowing you're the biggest bad ass around. Being the biggest bad ass is a very Fire-related activity.
- Make a pact with yourself to banish a negative habit or attribute of your personality. Burn it out of your life, as transformation is the essence of Fire, and you will learn the value of creative destruction. Just try not to get put away for arson.
- Find something new to study, something that will involve a lot of reading. You'll learn about the focused energy that Air represents.
- Fly in a plane somewhere and sit in a window seat. Imagine how it must feel to be a cloud, or inside one, and or moving rapidly as wind.
- Stand someplace lofty, even if it's just a hill, and hold your arms out into the wind. Let Air flow through and around you, and listen closely.
- Visit a butterfly center and see how many will land on you.
- Climb as high up in a tree as you can and close your eyes - listen to the wind through the leaves, and feel move around & through you.
- Fly a kite.
- Go swimming. I'm not talking about vigorous laps around the gym pool - just drift. Splash. Go underwater and open your eyes (if you dare). Play that game where someone says something underwater and everyone has to guess what it was. Float on your back and daydream.
- Do something psychic-oriented: Read your tarot cards, meditate, gaze at the full moon's reflection in a lake or a bowl of water.
- Call your mother and when she talks, actually listen to her.
- Sit on the beach and listen to the sounds of the surf - smell the air and pick up shells.
- Start drinking your eight glasses of water a day. Seriously, just do it.
- Start a journal and write in it consistently.
- Adopt some fish. Don't kill them.
Do you have any more ideas? How are your elements balanced?