This week I will continue to explore the 8 Elements as interpreted in Feng Shui from the book Journey To Mastery: Feng Shui for Life by Dr. Kathryn Mickle, Ph. D. The next element is Earth, represented by three Yin (broken) lines, the “most yin” Trigram, yin qualities being receptivity, yielding, openness and trust. It is the Southwest direction, and related colors are earth colors and pink.

The title for the Earth Trigram chapter is Relationships. “In your home and life, this is the place to clear away all blocks keeping you from harmonious relationships, particularly intimate relationships and partnerships.” It sits across from and is related to the Trigram for Inner Knowledge (Mountain)- which makes sense, as it is important to know oneself if one is to engage in a harmonious relationship- “To be able to give yourself fully in a relationship, you need to be aware of your own limitations and strengths.”

To clear the way for healthy relationships, this chapter first discusses unhealthy patterns that might come up for a person as he/ she engages in a relationship with another pesron. The “purpose of relationships,” in the perspective of the author, is to show us our patterns of behavior toward other people, so that we might work through them and find healing from them. Patterns are formed as children learn the expectations and reactions of their caregivers. A person may act in a way that pleases and earns praise or rebel in a way that consistently causes punishment and upsets others. As children grow up and develop patterns reacting to others’ expectations, they also learn to have expectations of others. One of the biggest lessons of this area of the bagua is giving up control of other people we interact with- accepting that we cannot expect to control another person, as well as making sure that we are not being controlled in some way by another person or people. The book states-” “What do we really want?” we ask. Are we living what we want or according to someone else’s plan?” This reminds me of the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming- Master Pearson has posted some videos to this blog on the subject) principle “Drive your own bus-” it can be easy to go along with other peoples’ ideas of what they think you should do with your life, sometimes we might not realize this is happening so it can be good to stop and say, “is this what I really want to be doing?” In terms of building a happy relationship, a Taoist principle is useful- “The paradox is that the more we hold on to a relationship, the more pressure we put on it. If we develop ourselves to the point that we feel complete within ourselves and we know that we do not rely on another, we are then capable of having a truly good relationship. It is a Taoist principle that to be truly strong, we need to yield.” Other pointers toward happy relationships (the author has years of experience as a psychologist, including providing counseling for people in relationships):

The first thing that is important is a healthy expression of emotions… If it is too difficult to do this, often it is helpful to have a therapist or third party available to clarify the communication at first… We need to eliminate the need for conflict. A relationship is like a game of tennis and when one person fails to hit the ball back, the game is over. It is very hard for one person to fight alone. How do you learn to stop hitting the ball back? The two most important qualities in a relationship, I have found, are non-judgment and forgiveness… Influenced by both Tasism and Buddhism, this kind of non-judgment rests on the understanding that everyone is here following their own path… We cannot judge anyone’s situation because we don’t understand the whole picture.

How do you not judge when people have said very nasty things to you or treated you badly and you are still holding a grievance against them? Not judging is like seeing yourself in a play together and each of you is playing your part. Try to concentrate on what is coming up for you. What can I learn from this? Is this a pattern? When do I feel these things?…

Forgiveness, as we have known it, is the forgetting of things that really bother us… The problem with this kind of forgiveness is that we don’t really manage to keep things out of our mind… We bury the feelings but they are still there. Spiritual forgiveness is seeing beyond the worldly significance of the situation, knowing that there is something we are to learn. It is knowing that everyone is just playing his or her part and there is nothing to forgive. The interacttion is just giving us more awareness of our own patterns…

We feel so free when we realize [that we are re-creating patterns learned from interacting with people as children, often family members] and, even though the feelings are intense, we start to notice old patterns and we back off. It is very necessary to have practices which calm the mind. When we attain quiet mind, we look within and notice the chaos, realize the old pattern and maybe even feel the intensity of that time and let it go. Once you get used to a feeling of peace, you cannot go back to the old chaos. It will remain foreign to you. Once you have released the chaos, you will start to attract peaceful situations into your life. The old arguments and conflicts will be a thing of the past. You will truly be living the qualities of this part of the bagua- yielding, receptivity, openness and trust.

Affirmations-

I have loving, supportive relationships in my life.

I have a loving partnership with a significant other in my life.

I nurture others and allow myself to be nurtured.

I acknowledge the higher presence of all the people in my life.

Feng Shui for the Southwest direction-

Things that symbolize relationship, a picture of lovers, round or square (for Earth) shapes, a pair of anything such as hearts, doves or birds, a pair of comfortable chairs, the colors of Earth or pink, a hanging plant flowing down.

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