The Fire element is unique as it has not two, but four organs associated with it. The Heart, being one of the Fire element’s organs, is referred to as the “Supreme Controller” in Chinese medicine, and is the Empress/Emperor presiding over the rest of the body, mind, and spirit. So, when the events of life get in the way through an increase of stress, experiencing trauma, and/or suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – the Fire element takes on the brunt of the blow(s) and the rest of our organs do the best they can to protect the Heart.
In my book, Everyday Chinese Medicine, I wrote on the topic of trauma quite frequently because it’s an important aspect of life that is often misunderstood, unacknowledged, and yet leads to severe disruptions for us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Emotional health, and I would venture to say much physical health, almost always comes back to the health of our Heart and the strength within our spirits.
When we’re experiencing mental and emotional health challenges in our day to day lives, it’s often an indication that our Heart is not functioning as well as it could be and as a result isn’t able to create the ideal home for our shen, our spirit. In Chinese medicine – there’s a term for that. It’s referred to as “shen disturbance”, and when seeing clients in my practice, shen disturbance indicates that my client’s spirit is shaky and needs support.
How can I tell? Not only by listening to my clients and their concerns but mostly by looking into their eyes.
You see – the Heart is home to the shen (spirit) and the quality and vitality of our shen is reflected in our eyes and provides an incredible way to assess the state of a person’s spirit. Shen disturbance is the result of betrayal, emotional pain, and/or the residue from unhealed trauma (PTSD).
Have you ever looked into the eyes of an abused child, dog, or horse that has recently been rescued? It tells the story of struggle, and if your spirit is a healthy home for your shen – you can’t help but feel immense compassion, empathy, and tenderness in seeing a being with shen disturbance.
Sadly, the opportunity to experience trauma is everywhere and can affect anyone of us, at any given time. What constitutes a traumatic experience is based on: your personal bandwidth, the strength of your spirit, and the abundance of your personal resources (or lack thereof) such as friendships and self-care practices.
The more we focus on growing our personal resources (which widen our bandwidth), the quicker we can begin healing our shen. Some examples to identify supportive resources are: nourishing practices, people and places that are beloved to us, practitioners, pets, herbs, and supplements.
This and so much more can be found in my book and throughout my blog. Please reach out if you need support.
If you are a healthcare practitioner and want more support in working with others who have experienced trauma, please click here and take my free trauma training series offered through the Inner Ocean Empowerment Project.