Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for anxiety: The death phase
So, the death phase, and I say this because this is usually the one that people try to rush through, I suppose, because it’s uncomfortable, it’s tremendously uncomfortable to go through a death phase in our life and to let go of the things that we have become attached to, whether they’re positive, whether they’re negative, it doesn’t matter. We as humans become very attached to what we know and in our comfort and we don’t want to necessarily go into the mystery.
The metal phase is the downward movement and the refinement process. It takes what it is, how it is that we have grown and all the lessons that we’ve gained from that experience, maybe they’re even material possessions, maybe it’s relationships that we’ve come to nurture along the way, as well. All of these facets, it takes that and it refines it and it helps to separate what is essential and what is nonessential, and the interesting thing with the metal element is what is essential is actually intangible. So, it’s related to the lungs and the large intestine.
It’s also related to the nose, we have this picture here of the sinuses. The nose does what? It takes in breath, which is essential to life. What’s the first thing that we do when we’re born? We take a first breath, it’s the number one thing that we need, and we need it to survive, and we can survive for minutes without breath, whereas we can go for a while without food, we can go for a while without water, but if we are cut off from breath, from that spirit of the intangible, that essential piece to our existence, guess what happens, we die. The nose and the breath and the skin.
The metal element is in tune, it’s kind of like our spidey senses. It’s like this animal instinct, it’s the thing that tunes us into something is going on in my environment and I’m not quite sure what, but it’s not quite right. It’s like this felt sense, and even if it’s not quite right, and/or it could be something where we’re drawn towards that, it is that thing that is so intangible that we cannot prove, but we know, we know when we have a felt sense about something. It connects very, very closely with the water element in terms of these are the messages from the environment that we take in through our skin.
So, the most superficial layers of who we are, which is interesting, because metal can be very superficial, it can get really entrenched in material possessions, and I’m not going to go deeply into that, but there is an interesting correlation there. It’s the skin and the nose, it’s connecting, it’s the most superficial part of us so that connect us into our environment.
It’s also very deep because it sends that information down and it helps us embody those messages and it lets us know, okay, this is okay, this is not okay, this is okay, this is not okay, I need to be aware of this, I need to send signals maybe to the water elements and to the nervous system to kick myself up into gear, or I can relax into this. Felt sense I think is the best way to explain this one. It’s also connected into the nervous system and the circulatory system and we know that breath is very connected to those two things. Shallow breathing will activate that sympathetic response, that fight or flight, and deep diaphragmatic breathing will allow us to relax into parasympathetic. It allows us to relax so that we can digest, we can rest, we can heal ourselves.
There’s also the connection to the circulatory system where short shallow breaths will kick the heart up into gear so that our blood flow increases, basically so that we can get oxygen to our muscles, but deep breath will calm the heart, it will dilate the vessels, and what happens when there is dilation and relaxation is that then there is flow. So we can relax, we can into the ease of life.
Everything that comes down in that refinement process and what’s essential we retain and what is nonessential we let go of through the large intestine, so we give back to the earth basically through the large intestine, through our feces. Everything that is essential then is rebirthed the water element, and the whole cycle starts again.
I should highlight that this isn’t just literal in terms of oh, I’m born, so I’m in wood phase, well, I’m in water phase then when I’m growing I’m in wood phase, and then when I reach the peak and the apex of my expression I’m in fire phase, yes, that’s true in the grand scheme of birth to death, for sure. But we inhabit and we go through all of these phases in different phases, in different chapters of our life. You may notice or may feel like, oh yeah, a couple years ago I was really in this phase and I really resonated with this, and now I’m feeling like I’m more in a metal phase, this is what happens, we go through these phases and we’re in one of these phases throughout our entire lives.
Even if you feel very strongly that you’re in one phase over another right now, you still may notice resonance with other elements, because, again, they’re always at play and they’re always supporting or they’re always trying to mitigate stress responses. We’re not getting into constitutional factor in this video but I encourage you to do the five-day free course that helps you understand what your constitutional factor is, and that’s important because your constitutional factor is where your primary imbalance will be. It’s your primary imbalance, but if you work with it, it also becomes your greatest gift. I’ll put links to that at the end of the video so if you want, you can access that.