Man, 2016 kind of sucked. Am I right? Between losing many great artists, watching the human rights crises unfold in Standing Rock, Syria, and on our city streets,, and witnessing the rise of a fascist global movement of which our “great country” is a huge part, it would be easy to sink into despair and want to spend the entirety of 2017 under the covers.
But we cannot afford to hide, my wild sisters. This is not a time for despair.
Let’s turn to the wisdom of the Chinese Five Elements for what we can do next. I take comfort in knowing that no matter how I’m feeling, there is a place for it on the ancient cycle of seasons (which can be experienced all within the span of a day and do not necessarily have to correlate to the actual seasons.) Locate your current emotional state in the sections below and give yourself a big dose of ancient, elemental medicine.
If you are feeling grief, you are in autumn.
Autumn represents the metal element, referring to both precious metals (like gold) and structural metals (like steel). The emotion associated with autumn is grief, because it is the time of year when nature lets go of all that is not absolutely necessary in order to hunker down for the winter ahead. Letting go often brings grief, but there is great medicine to be found in the metal element as well. In fact, a failure to shed what is no longer needed results in a dispersion and dilution of your energy.
What you can do when overcome by grief:
If you are feeling fear, you are in winter.
Winter represents the water element. It calls us to experience the depths of our fears, but also to tap into the vastness of our courage and the breadth of our resources. The emotion associated with winter is fear, because it is the time of year when things are still, silent, covered in snow, and we never really know how long it will last. Picture a family looking in their root cellar and wondering, “Will we make it through?” Winter is not a time for action. It is a time for stillness and patience. This can feel scary because it can feel like we’re not in control, but the water element also has some of the most deeply nourishing medicine of the whole year if we are willing to access it.
What you can do when paralyzed by fear:
If you are feeling anger, you are in spring.
Spring represents the wood element and powerful, rising yang energy. The emotion associated with spring is anger - but not messy, immature, willy-nilly anger. Not revenge. Wood is about EFFECTIVE anger. Trees are some of the most powerful creatures on this planet, but they are also some of the oldest and wisest. Spring is a time for vision, action, and creative thinking. It is a time to harness your anger and use it for good.
What you can do when all you can feel is anger:
If you are feeling/craving solidarity, you are in summer.
Summer represents the fire element. Our ancestors have gathered around fires for centuries to celebrate, strategize, and simply enjoy each other’s company. Fire medicine reminds us to work together and not to forget joy and play in the process. After all, revolutions are more sustainable when we join forces, right? And they’re much more likely to last if they also include some fun and community. This is a time to access your fiery passion and fan the flames together, with laughter and song.
What you can do when feeling too heavy, serious, or alone:
If you are feeling/craving gratitude, you are in late summer.
Late summer represents the earth element. The emotion associated with earth is gratitude because late summer is the time of year when the earth is the most abundant. Earth, in her great, ancient wisdom, reminds us that she is enough for us - and that we are enough for whatever life asks of us. Although the issues our generation face may feel too heavy to bear, earth reminds us that we need not bear them alone. Earth is wise. She has seen humanity through crises much worse than these. Fall into her embrace and experience gratitude for all we have and all that is possible.
What you can do when feeling despair:
Perhaps the most important thing, my wild sisters, is that we stick together. Did you get something from this article? Please share it on your social media feed. Is there another way you have found to deal with the overwhelming events of this year? Leave it in the comments below.
No matter what, never stop fighting. Never stop standing in your power. Never stop speaking for those who have no voice, and standing in front of those who are in harm’s way. Be bold, be brave, be wild - and don’t apologize for any of it.
The arrival of 2017 brings new hope, and along with it, the re-opening of my private coaching practice after my 4-month maternity leave! Stay connected and inspired along this wild woman journey by joining our email tribe below, and be the first to hear about January's coaching session specials. (No spam. Less than 4 emails per month. We never do anything silly like sell your information. Leave anytime.)
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Hello! I'm Melanie Munir, founder of Professional Wild Woman - a women's empowerment business dedicated to helping women who are tired of feeling either "too much" or "not enough" to connect to their inner wildness so they can create work that allows them the fullest expression of their unique voice. Welcome!