Fire – It keeps us warm and we can’t live without it whether body temperature or the proverbial fire in the belly; the furnace that both digests what we consume and drives us to do what we do. When you are “on fire” with a project, there is no holding back. Fire can cook and it can destroy. We depend on the sun and ever more so with solar power as a renewable energy source. “A day without sunshine, is you know, night.” Steve Martin
These elements we accept without thinking, without a deep sense of appreciation and yet they sustain life as we know it.
Earth – Live close to the land, listen to its heartbeat, commune with nature and you will never be lost. The earth, as fragile and precious as it is, constantly renews itself, and it is our home in space and time. We must work in concert with the forces of nature rather than trying to harness and control them. We have taken so much from the earth and it might behoove us to see what we can give back. “Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” Rainer Maria Rilke
Air – We cannot see the wind, we do not know from whence it comes nor where it goes but we can see the effects, in trees, flags, smoke and even on top of the water. We need air to breathe, cleaner air, pure and crystal clear, unpolluted whenever possible. A clean air act won’t do anything by itself. Clean air needs living, breathing people to insure the future “Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are, in fact, plans to protect mankind.” Stuart Udall
Water – The universal solvent, covering two-thirds of the earth’s surface, water comes in many forms whether in the oceans, or treated and potable water from wells and aquifers. Rain, rivers, lakes and streams, water is all around us. Floods and tides can destroy and when there is not enough water there is drought. Too much or not enough, either can be disastrous and the right amount is a blessing for people, plants and animals and the earth itself. “Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci
Spirit – In almost all world languages and cultures there is a word for spirit. The meaning from the Greek psyche, is “spirit” that gives life to all animate beings. Sometimes translated “soul” it can be understood as a force that mediates between mind and body, between the physical world and that which cannot be seen. Spirit transcends worldly matter and some world religions assign a deity as the creative force that brings into being that which is not. In Latin creatio ex nihilio, creating from nothing to bring into being that which is.
“Changing is not just changing the things outside of us…we need the right view…of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit…. crucial for transformation and healing.” Thich Nhat Hanh