What does it mean to connect with the elements? At first this sounds like an “out there” idea, but instead it can be deeply meaningful and accessible. The elements – water, earth, fire and air - are present everywhere and even course through us at any given moment. Take water for example, with the vast spring rains we are having. We are quick to complain about the rain and yet all life on earth, including our own, depends on this life giving source of water. Water flows through our bodies and we cannot live without it.
The element of earth includes the soil from which all food grows and our bodies; the winged ones, the four-leggeds, and the two-leggeds. Earth is the vast awe inspiring vistas from which we stand and the intimate protective forests we are nurtured by.
The element of fire connects us to the sun’s radiant heat and light. After coming back inside from the damp cold spring’s wind, my five year old remarked “I’m grateful to have a warm house.” To connect with the element of fire can be holding gratitude for warmth and light.
The element of air flows through our lungs and cells even without any conscious effort. We exchange air with our plant neighbours and air flows over the globe.
As we connect with the elements, so too do we come to acknowledge their degradation. There is the pollution of air and water, the disruption of the balance of the climate, the loss of habitat and the extinction of species. As we open ourselves to both the blessings and the pain of the elements we are changed. We can no longer turn a blind eye. The weight of acknowledging the earths’ pain is heavy and yet it propels us to make necessary changes. If we revere life’s dependence on water, we are more likely to protect the vitality of water. If we are grateful for a breath of fresh spring air, we might work towards reducing our carbon output.
Some believe that the elements are sacred, that spirit is present in air and water, earth and fire. To honour the elements is to offer respect to the sacred presence in all things. The next time you are outside and a gust of wind blows by, I invite you to pause and connect. As you notice the air, perhaps you may bring to your awareness the wind that flows across the planet, the air that has circled the earth for ages past and ages to come, the breath of your life, of all life, and the spirit that infuses it all.
Earth blessings to you.