A 5 Element Approach written by Stephanie Mwangaza Brown L.Ac.
Yesterday I wrote that “Grief is the emotion of the Metal element whose officials are the Lung and Large Intestines. Fall is the season of Metal.” Let’s examine one of Metal’s officials or roles – the Large Intestines.
We may not feel that the role of the Large Intestines is very glamorous or important; however, it begins everything. Yep, I bet you think of it as the end of our food process and it is. In the Large Intestines (LI), the last precious nutrients and water are extracted and the rest is let go as waste. In life, the LI role helps us to see what’s precious amongst all the confusion and clutter of life. Even at the last moment, when all seems to be lost, it is the LI which helps us to come up with a plan where there is no plan—to make lemonade out of lemons (as my Mom used to say). That still doesn’t answer why it’s the beginning of things unless you consider that the way you ended the last thing, puts you in position to begin the next. This is probably the most important step in preparation.
Many people say that they can’t cook in a dirty kitchen. They have to clean it up and put things away first. The ancients were extremely wise about using everyday life and law to instruct them how to think and act. How do you end a relationship? Granted it may be over physically—you have disconnected from someone and mentally and emotionally still be right there. As a matter of fact, some of us rush to move on to the next, thinking that that will disconnect us fully from a prior relationship. That’s sort of a metaphorical pushing of the dirty dishes onto the floor to clear the table.
We allow erroneous beliefs during a relationship and then when it is over, we are not quite sure how to move on without the illusory world we have constructed crashing down upon us. A more balanced approach is to take time to acknowledge the gifts and the lessons learned, to examine our own mistakes and understand what happened, to treasure that that will help us and to let go of that that does not. This often missed step to ending a relationship to a person, place or thing, is also the preparation to beginning anew.
I believe this could be called a loose end. Often, we never mend the holes and cut the loose ends. We move from one situation to the next creating more and more loose ends. As a matter of fact, over time, there are more loose ends than anything else and we go through life engaging in situations that look just like the last ones, except for the different faces and changed names.
Through Large Intestines, the Metal element gives us the gift of being able to use life’s challenges as opportunities to grow.