Good health is the capacity to adapt to change. From the moment we are conceived to the moment we pass on, we are in a process of dynamic change, growing and evolving and eventually slowing down. The environment in which we live is also ever changing. The same life force that guides us, guides the changing rhythms of Nature in the tides and the seasons.
And yet in all this movement and change there is something quiet and constant. There is an essential, core part of you that will always be ‘you’, it’s what makes you unique. This is your constitution or your genetic make-up. There is also a still core part of the Earth that we tune into when we are in nature; it’s powerful and very peaceful.
The Chinese Medicine theory of the Five Elements provides a tool for us to observe and get to know what our constitution is. It describes Five Elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, their strengths and weakness and spheres of influence. It is a theory that acknowledges that each element or phase is interdependent and co-functional. It describes tendencies towards imbalances and how to notice these.
In knowing our constitution we can work towards daily choices and habits that nurture and support ourselves at the most fundamental level. It is the seemingly little choices of what to eat for breakfast, how much to exercise, sleep, meditate, work and be social that gather momentum with time and generate our capacity to embrace and move with change.
Today we are seeing more chronic, life-style diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, auto-immunity, infertility, depression and anxiety. These do not occur randomly, they occur when over a long period of time our capacity to adapt or self-regulate is undermined. We may, through ignorance or cravings expose our bodies to toxins or deprive ourselves of enough friendship, sleep, physical and mental exercise, quite restorative time and nourishing food.
Knowledge of your constitution and the opportunity to make good choices requires a commitment to stay in relationship with yourself, to develop the capacity to observe and the willingness to seek skilled help when you get stuck. I believe that this is the true wisdom of epi-genetics or ‘talking to your genes in a positive and supportive way’.