In Ayurveda, the fire element rules digestion. Fire breaks down and transforms food into what can be used and not used by the body.
But digestion happens beyond just what we put into our mouths. We have to digest everything that we take into our senses. We also have to be able to digest and process our responses to that – all of the emotions that come up as a result of what we’ve taken in.
In order for a fire to exist, it needs space and air. In order for us to digest all of our experiences, traumas, emotions and sensory impressions, we need space and breath.
The space element is an endangered species. The space exists in the gaps between all of the sensory input. In our modern world, a schedule with no space is a badge of honor (“How are you? Good! Busy!”) and our minds and nervous systems are captive to constant sensory input through social media, news, entertainment, etc.
For many in the last weeks, months, years, that input triggers a heightened stress response. Our senses are bombarded by words and images that send us into fight-or-flight mode. The rate at which we ingest this is usually faster than what we’re able to fully process and digest. As I heard recently, “Trauma is defined as ‘too much, too fast, too soon.’” Just like a regular habit of scarfing down a huge meal soon after eating the last one would create a cascade of health issues, the same applies when we don’t give ourselves the space to process what we take in through our senses.
What to do?
Step 1: Ask yourself “What do I need to digest?”
- Is it excess sensory input?
- Is it emotions that you haven’t fully processed?
- Is it unresolved trauma?
Step 2: Write is down. There’s no right answer to this. Just let flow whatever comes to mind.
Step 3: Create Space
- Give yourself space to sit and breathe. Let yourself sit and breathe into the discomfort of the emotion and sensation. Not with the intention of trying to name it or change it. Just to sit with it, give it space so that the fire element can process the emotion, experience, impression or trauma.
- Honor your senses. What feedback is your nervous system giving you about what you’re taking in?
- Notice. Bring awareness to what all of those uncomfortable emotions trigger you to reach for. More social media, other people, alcohol, weed or other substances, food, shopping, perfectionism?
- Create boundaries with what you ingest – whether it’s excess noise, news, social media or time with people who trigger you. Where you create boundaries, you create space. Can you shut off the news? Turn off the music? Turn down the lights? Say “no” to something you really don’t want to do? Ask yourself if you’re really hungry for that snack?
- Carve out space to rest. Even if your schedule is filled to the brim, find small spaces where you can close your eyes, breath, create boundaries with any excess input. Examples might include clearing the non-essentials from your to-do list, creating a time block in your daily calendar for rest, setting a timer for tech use.
Here’s the beauty of this practice: the more you create space to digest all your emotions, experiences and inputs, the stronger that fire becomes. Through the fire element we discern truth and align with our greater vision and have the strength and resilience to live in our deeper purpose.
If you’re ready to start tapping into your deeper potential, I’m enrolling now for my Essential Living Self-healing Course starting on Feb. 16, 2021.
Essential Living is a dynamic health coaching group of growth-minded people who come together to learn and live the essential habits of Ayurveda, with tons of support. Through essential living you’ll experience greater vitality and ease, stronger immunity, deeper connection and freedom. You’ll be empowered with the wisdom to support yourself and loved ones to thrive. Schedule a Discovery Session here!