Just like that and half the year is gone. Poof! It amazes me how quickly time moves. Yet as a child, I thought a day took forever to end.

Anyhow, it has been a wild and energetic year. Good or bad, you have to admit it has not been a dull year at all. And the energy of the Monkey Year has succeeded in creating colossal waves of shifts, which in turn, has contributed to our need for reflection, evaluation, understanding, and acceptance. And this, my friends, is exactly why the second half of this year is divine timing to take action for change and to (re)build a stronger, more meaningful foundation for what’s to come.

The subject of change is always a touchy one; and change manifests itself in many forms. It affects each and every one of us so differently that it is tough to generalize the experience with a single, universal recommendation. However, I am proposing to focus on the subject of health since this is indeed the one and universal thing that is essential to a life well lived. And a life well lived breathes vibrancy, productivity, satisfaction, and ease.

In my BaZi and Health lectures, I always tell my class, “Health is the most important aspect of life. Without good health, we cannot show up for anything else in life.”

Personally, I have experienced the tense up-and-down waves of the Monkey Year. It triggered some much-needed conversations to be had, with myself and with others, including forcing me to examine never-before-seen obsessive and/or excessive old patterns. These events became an opening for me to re-calibrate certain existing goals and desires. By and by, I was certainly guided by the influence of Time—the Five Elements that make up the essence of yesterday, today, and tomorrow…and how I would react, feel, and behave with the flow of these energies.

While researching new materials on Chinese Medicine, I came across an old favorite excerpt of mine from Nei Jing and it states, “A person is not sick because they have a disease, they have a disease because they are sick.” It means that our vulnerability to disease is directly related to how we conduct our daily life.

This couldn’t be truer.

walkSo when I think of the time that we’re in right now—July—the Earth energy directs us to pay closer attention to the obvious: the “harvesting” of nutrients from Mother Earth.

No matter where you are in life today, plant your feet and feel the Earth’s solidness. Feel Her heat from the sole of your feet and connect with the source. Re-ground, re-connect, and re-affirm your place in this world.

So much of the Earth’s energy talks about the “taking in” because it is related to nourishment. And so, I urge you to take stock of what you have harvested so far this year.

What information, experiences, stories, and thoughts have you digested?

If your Soul was the Stomach, what of those things above would you choose to keep that will help nourish and support your mind, body, and spirit?

What would you discharge and eliminate? Does the list include memories of fear, resentment, hesitation, disappointment, or even anger?

Are the things you are letting in and storing influencing you in a way that is positive, authentic, and inspiring?

If dreams were made from thought, how do you choose to plant the seeds in order for you to take a giant step forward for a happier, more satisfying future?

The Monkey’s energy is indeed a powerful one. It is forceful, heavy, and certainly impressive. Just take a good look around you. Look at the people in your life. How are they managing the waves this year? Look at the world outside of your own. How peaceful or violent has it been?

As a Feng Shui and BaZi practitioner, I have witnessed a lot of people experiencing varying degrees of inner turmoil, and they manifest both in physical changes and spiritual transformations. As a result of these shocking and sometimes jolting revelations, our mental and emotional health can be negatively compromised, especially if we do not maintain a strong and consistent physical and/or spiritual practice to help keep us stay sane and grounded. It’s a lot to be said!

balanceIf we ever find ourselves looking for attention outside of ourselves, feeling needy and insecure, self-absorbed, constantly worrying, or complaining about our needs not being met, it means we have fallen out of balance. Also, if we exhibit behaviors that show a lack of drive and motivation, sudden low self-esteem, spells of depression, lack of empathy, or we have become cynical and doubtful, these are also tell-tell signs of an imbalance of the Earth and Metal energies. Physical symptoms can include digestive problems, fatigue and lethargy, headache, poor concentration, insomnia, excessive hunger/eating, and weight gain.

And if by reading this you see something all too familiar, then perhaps it is time to try something different, and regain the inner strength for viewing the world with more optimism, confidence, and faith.

The internal organs of the Earth Element is the stomach and spleen, or the gut. The gut is also responsible for releasing serotonin; in other words, the “happy hormones.” When we feel an inner shift inside us that does not align with feeling confident, grateful, and joyful, then we have to zoom in on our gut health.

Also, the spiritual quality associated with the Earth Element is called yi in Chinese, translated to mean intent, memory, and thought. Yi is also the “center” direction, the stabilizing and grounding influence of our past, the quieting of introspection, and the functions of positive thought and intellectual and emotional activity.

The Nei Jing states, “Empty the Heart and balance the Intent and you will enjoy natural conduct.” In Chinese cosmology, the “spirit of Heaven” is held in the Heart (Fire) and takes on the burdens of “ten thousand things.” Thus, when our immunity is low (a signal that the Earth Element is out of balanced), the fire in our heart is also weak. And we lose sight of the bigger picture and our ability to extract wisdom from hard lessons.

That’s why working on having healthy “yi” supports our ability to empower the mind to change internally and externally, move thoughts, and bring action.

BodySo, as we move into the second half of the Year—the Yin phase—I recommend getting a “tune up” with an acupuncturist or naturopath to help re-calibrate your internal qi. With acupuncture, it is known to be very effective, non-invasive, and a more holistic approach to diagnosing and treating the mind, body, and spirit; therefore, overall health.

Join me and use the Earth energy to actively promote a more caring and supportive attitude, and to find contentment and satisfaction even in less-than-ideal circumstances. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s worth a try.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Eat foods in season. Since the Earth Element is closely associated with sweet taste, enjoy fruits like avocado, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cucumbers, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, and strawberries. Vegetables abound! Eat green beans, peppers, potatoes, and squash.
  • Make time for meditation or quiet, solitary time. This allows us to build up our immunity and mental strength and focus, enhance self-awareness and self-acceptance, improve emotional intelligence and longevity, and reduce blood pressure.
  • Take a yin restorative yoga class to help cool or tame the noise of the inner and outer worlds, and to give the body the attention it needs to increase mobility, build stamina, and regulate energy.
  • Incorporate gratitude exercises like a personal gratitude journal or a gratitude jar. Counting your blessings is a very effective way of transforming frustration and anger to satisfaction and forgiveness.
  • Make efforts for good-will such as volunteering. Being in the service of others can promote a sense of worth, purpose, and satisfaction. Moreover, it can also help you develop new skills and new experiences, build empathy and feelings of love.
  • Balance your complaints. You can do this in tandem with the gratitude exercises by tallying and matching up each lament with something positive. It’s looking at the glass half-full.
  • Get in touch with Mother Earth. Depending on where you live, the summer months (or the winter season if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) may deter you from connecting with nature, but find creative ways to feel your body outside. At least get a breath of fresh air and let the negative ions repair and replenish your cells. It’s been scientifically proven that a simple whiff of fresh air can boost your mood, alleviate depression, and relieve stress.
  • Take care of the gut. The ancient Chinese called the finely regulated and highly coordinated function of digestion the “rotting and ripening” that transforms food to energy. And the gut is dependent on adequate secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Consider doing a gentle cleanse and eliminate sensitive foods in your diet such as gluten and dairy.

Part of this was originally published in the July 2016 Feng Shui & BaZi Forecast: Yin Wood Goat.

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