Introduction to the Five Elements - Water

Water is the seed of life.

When searching for the ability for other planets to sustain life, researchers look for evidence of liquid water.

The Taoists see water at the ultimate potential. Who we are at our most fundamental root; what is in our bones, our DNA.

We have entered winter, the season of WATER.
Water’s color is blue, its sound is groaning, the odor is putrid, and its emotion is fear.

What does this all mean?
Again, like in our reading on Metal, it is a resonance. The color blue represents the sea. It is the color that reflects off of one’s skin who has a strong Water constitution. It is usually seen around the temples or sides of the mouth. It is the color reflected, not absorbed.

A Water person’s voice will have a groaning quality independent of the content of the words (think Marge Simpson..."Oh Homey...rrmm") .

The odor of Water is putrid. Not in a “ewww this person smells putrid" (so much is lost in translation) but in the way an ocean leaves its mist in your nose or a pond makes the surrounding air moist.

There is a sinking direction to Water. Winter is a time to hibernate. Where we do less and rest more.

How do we settle into winter?
We have our clarity from autumn in what we truly value. We have purged what is not serving us and what is not important. We are left with our essentials to survive winter. How well we come through the darkness relies heavily on Who we are, as individuals. What grit are we made of? How does what we value feed our ability to sustain the winter?

Confucius speaks of the transformation of virtues for each element. Water is the transformation from fear into wisdom. Fear being the acute awareness of what we don't know.

Fear can bring us into our bones and test what we are made of. Through surrender we transform fear into wisdom. Wisdom is not an "I know more then you" or a collection of data points, but as the ability to navigate the unknown. The ability to sit in the darkness and simply be present, using our own internal light as our guide.

An exercise for strengthening our Water in winter.

"We often think of rest as something that will come when everything else is complete, like when we go on a holiday or when our work is done. We imagine that we can only find rest by changing the conditions of our life. But it is possible to discover rest right in the middle of chaos. It is experienced when we bring our full attention, without distraction, to this activity. This place of rest is always available. We need only turn toward it." --Frank Ostaseski, Alaya Institute.

I encourage you to experience rest when times are quiet and when they are busy. To reduce the multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time. Pay attention to how we are habituated to have a gazillion things happening at once. How there may be mental, even physical resistance to the slowing down. I urge you to stick with the discomfort, a greater sense of peace and internal quiet is your reward.

When Is the Optimum Time to Drink Water?

When is the optimum time to drink water?

Previously we learned how much water to drink daily (body weight in pounds divided by 2 is the amount of water to drink in ounces), now let's highlight when it is most beneficial for us to drink that water.

1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. This helps move
anything that has settled in our bodies over the previous night. It activates our cells to start the day and re-hydrates our tissues. I recommend a glass of warm water to give our digestive system a "warm up."

2. Drink water a half hour before meals. This helps us from overeating and initiates digestion. Drinking water with a meal may dilute our stomach acid and inhibit proper breakdown of our foods. This is important for people who do not produce enough stomach acid.

3. Drink water between meals. To help with the mid-day fog or after lunch lull, stay hydrated! Water helps maintain our energy throughout the day. Staying hydrated is also a first line of defense from getting sick or succumbing to a headache.

4. Drink water before and after exercise. Our bodies perform better and repair faster when they are hydrated.

5. Drink MORE water if you are ill. Staying well hydrated is critical to a speedier recovery.

How Much Water Does My Body Need?

How much water does my body need everyday?

We are all individuals united in our basic needs for life - love, food, water, and shelter. What we differ in, is the amount of these needs each one of us requires for optimum health. A simple equation helps us figure out how much water we need on a daily basis.

If we take our weight and divide that in half, the remaining number is the amount of water we need in ounces daily. For example, a 200 pound person would need 100 ounces of water daily, where as a 110 pound person would only need 55 ounces. That is quite a difference from the 64 ounces per day we are taught!

Keep in mind, this number may be different for someone who is breastfeeding or for a person on medication to maintain lower blood pressure. In addition to our individual amounts of water we also have individual needs which may not be taken into account from this simple equation.