Creating a Great Life with Good Routines
Keep in mind that the four elements (and the life-positive forces they convey) are gifts, which Creation gives us to live a wise, healthy, joyfully balanced, and successful life. Few things in our world gift as much as these four do – and daily!
Toward the goal of helping you to create good routines, I’ve created the 4 Element Scorecardtm. It is worth appreciating that it is generally with our routines that we either do, or do not, engage these four principles of life. Good routines work because they help us to consistently draw these life-positive cosmic principles into ourselves.
As you do use this scorecard, you’ll find that you’ll be drawing their ideals and energies into yourself more regularly. You’ll soon notice that the more you can tap into them the more vibrant, fun, interesting, and productive your life will be. In the process, you’ll find yourself living a more four-element-inspired life.
How the 4E Scorecard Works
Your job is to go through the 4E Scorecard (It’s a Microsoft excel sheet), and put a 1 into the element-oriented activities you accomplished that day. At the end of each day, or perhaps at the end of each week, tabulate these marks. We’ve made it easy for you, the Excel Sheet will tabulate weekly and monthly scores automatically. You can see each element’s final score, as well as your total score. If you would prefer a paper copy a weekly scorecard is available below.
Access the Yearly Scorecard Google Doc here!
Download or print the Weekly Scorecard PDF below!
Why It Works
Life has become very complicated. In our current times, it has become very difficult to keep our lives in balance. As we’ve seen, our ancient ancestors recognized that Nature’s four elements express four fundamental cosmic principles that work in balance with each other. Your 4 Element Scorecard helps you discover where your life is out of balance as you use that same four element context. The scorecard itself requires nothing more than some checkmarks. Your life will improve dramatically as you find more and more of these checks marking up each week’s sheet.
You may be performing many of the activities already. Other scorecard activities will push you to do something you’re not accustomed to do. Regardless, each of these activities stimulates the corresponding element within you, making you stronger in the process. You will be able to feel this strengthening process as you build these routines.
To help you in this process, I would like to mention another pioneer in the holistic personal growth movement. A professor BJ Fogg, PhD, of Stanford has developed what he calls his Tiny Habits Method. I use it with my patients to help them more easily adopt healthier lifestyles through a proven way of making good things happen in your life.
The gist of Tiny Habits is this: after deciding on a new habit you want to create, it’s inserted before or after something you already do. For example, you could insert a short series of deep meditative breaths right after you brush your teeth. Here’s the interesting part: you’ll notice yourself feeling good as you insert even a “tiny habit” – something that really does not take too long – consistently into your routine. Well-built routines reinforce the best in you because they make you feel good about yourself through your consistent success in maintaining those good habits.
Just to be clear, a routine should not be thought of as a rigid structure of daily activities. One’s new habits, and all those habits you are currently doing, are a series of nodal points in the dynamic flow of your day-to-day activities. You’ll find these new four element-inspired habits will help bring you back to a positive frame of mind at set times during your day as you do them. While some of what follows are short and easy to do, others involve longer bursts of effort – sometimes 15 or more minutes.
Earth plays a significant role in helping us move productively through our lives. It does this by prodding us to physically make things happen – to get things done. Without Earth, we would be living in our minds, unable to do the work to permit our good ideas to get expressed.
Earth helps you to be practical and pushes you to deal with the mundane needs of your life. Throughout humankind’s lineage, Earth’s power was reinforced by the simple physical thing you were meant to do daily, walk. Earth is also strengthened in us when through our efforts we accomplish a goal.
The productivity that Earth permits – and proverbially gifts us with as in “the fruits of our labor” – is meant for each of us. To help humans to be more successful, Earth gives something of itself to create what we commonly call “routines.” Routines can be thought of as expressions of Earth in our lives within the context of time. Routines are typically physical activities we perform monthly, weekly, often daily. If we want to live great and productive lives, it is worthwhile to develop good routines.
Walk 15 or more minutes with reasonably good heel strikes. We’ve learned how we need heel strike energy to gain Earth’s positive power. It is essential for bodily and mental sturdiness. You might be walking regularly anyhow, so this could be an easy one for you. Do it with a reasonable focus on ensuring you get those relatively hard heel strikes.
To be clear, you don’t have to focus every moment on it. Just make sure that your mind occasionally returns to those heels. Focus on bringing your toes upward a little extra so you can engage the back half-inch of that heel as you make that forward stride. I encourage you to walk multiple times a day with this kind of heel awareness. If you do, make two or more of those checkmarks. If you are unable to walk more than 5 minutes, you can put a check there, but slowly you may build up to 15 or more minutes.
Tackling something that’s been put off. We all have a tendency to procrastinate. It takes energy to get up and act. Earth is the inertia of the cosmos; everything will tend to stay physically where it is. That where-ness is the Earth’s force in our lives. However, while the yin end of Earth is this dull inertia, Earth’s yang side pushes us to get things done. In this way, Earth promotes physically completing mundane tasks you may have been putting off. One of Earth’s greatest pleasures is completion, the accomplishment of a goal.
Unfortunately at times, Earth is the force that creates hardness, which comes when all those 90° angles of this fourth element get in the way for something to easily get done. While this hardness might lead to a valid reason for procrastination, in order to live a more productive and rewarding life, you need to accomplish those tedious, often difficult tasks.
Keep calm under pressure. Here you get to feel Earth bestowing its yin strength upon you. This calmness comes by way of Earth’s inherent stability and steadiness. Earth doesn’t give way from under your feet; Earth doesn’t fracture under pressure. When we are calm, we too, don’t fracture under pressure. A steady calmness is a great hallmark of abundant Earth energy.
In a variety of ways, Earth promotes the ability to ground ourselves into a reality that is much deeper than the unsteadying craziness that often comes at us on a daily basis. In this way, Earth gives you your capacity to stay calm and reasonably unstressed as life heats up around you. This calmness is paramount for being able to live a happy, less stressed life, and it can help you to get things done.
Do something outside. Earth is the most primitive of the elements. The most primitive part of our lives is the outside world. Many of us are weak in Earth energy because we do not engage the outside world in a large enough way.
While a useful yin Earth activity may be simply relaxing outside, being outside can also promote yang Earth’s physical activity. This activity may consist of puttering around the yard and finding little projects to do outside; it could be walking the dog, a stroll around the block, or an intense run through the neighborhood. It could involve engaging the outdoors through gardening, washing the car, kite flying, biking, golfing, hunting or fishing. It’s up to you to find your way to get outside each day, or at least regularly each week.
Maintain a healthy routine. As was discussed earlier, developing a routine is an expression of Earth’s power in our lives. But remember, Earth makes things hard, so routines do not always come easy. It takes effort for them to achieve a place in our lives. However, the more we have healthy routines, the more we can live the kind of lives we want. You may develop daily, weekly, and even monthly routines.
It takes about 3 weeks to implement something as part of your routine. From time to time, add something new and positive to your own. If you’re in a big personal growth spurt, you might find yourself adding a new activity or positive habit every month or so, even weekly for a while. Each check in this space indicates that you have done a set of particular activities that you consider part of a healthy routine. I encourage you to check out www.tinyhabits.com.
Clean/fix/craft/build. Earth demands attention to the physical parts of your life. Things can get unruffled or broken, in need of a minor mending or a major repair. When we keep noticing the same broken things in our lives – if our clothes continuously litter our room, our dishes remain unwashed, our countertops not cleaned – it makes for a life that is sloppy. It’s important to get things fixed, and to clean up your room, your desk, your whole house on a regular basis.
At the same time, Earth pushes you to not only clean up your messes but to build or craft things. In a more creative Earth vein, this element pushes us to build useful and even beautiful objects. Through physically constructing something useful, perhaps elegant and beautiful, we are afforded an opportunity to draw upon one of the most positive of Earth’s powers. Great pleasure is had as we physically craft something, or build something useful.
Focus on posture/alignment. Earth relates to our physical body. We typically move through our days without regard to how we posture that body. But there is reason to pay attention to the way we align ourselves from our feet, up through our spines. Earth tells us that the way we physically posture and skeletally align ourselves affects us in important ways. Your physical posture sets the foundation for your entire life.
You will surely benefit from paying attention to your posture, especially as you learn more and more about the play of the four elements in your body. Always remember that Earth is the force that supports you from your backside. That’s what makes the heels such an important part of your feet. Poor posture often occurs as one’s shoulders slouch forward – so go out of your way to bring your shoulder blades back. To correct a forward head and neck, try bringing your elbows along with those shoulder blades back as you walk.
Express patience and/or generosity. You might wonder what this has to do with Earth, but can you sense that Earth is patient? It doesn’t push us to hurry up and do things fast; it’s willing to wait as long as it takes to get something done properly. Earth is slow, but steadfast; it’s patient in dealing with obstacles, including people in our lives. Much of the impatience that people have today comes from a depletion of their stores of Earth energy. Earth motivates us to bite our tongues, to take a slow, deep breath, and to accept the situation we are currently in. It gives us the capacity and wherewithal to muster through any hard parts yet to come.
Interestingly, Earth also draws forth generosity and a sense of abundance. Often before this generosity can be drawn forward, Earth forces us to evaluate our level of security. The more secure we are, the more generous we feel we can be. Earth gives us the ability to feel secure so we can more easily give something of ourselves. This generosity comes because even Earth recognizes that we are all part of a great, deep and wholesome Oneness, and we should share the abundance of our lives with others.
Avoid artificial colors/read ingredients on labels. Water pushes each of us to keep it natural. In many ways, Nature – with its fluid-filled creatures – is the Water realm of the cosmos. As Creation would have it, Nature’s parts are filled with colors that embody the biochemical energies of life. Indeed, much of the food that nourishes life is brimming with color. Because of this, we have a natural predilection to like and to eat colorful foods. Unfortunately, this has been subverted by food chemists, who create many processed foods with artificial coloring to attract us. There is strong evidence that many of these artificial colors are unhealthy. That’s why I strongly recommend drawing that proverbial line in the sand and not eating anything artificially colored. It’s something to try to instill into your children, too.
Take the time to read the ingredients on the foods you are buying. This is how you can avoid artificial colors and other ingredients that compose de-Natured, or counterfeit food. I’m not necessarily against food preservatives, such as EDTA, sorbic acid or potassium sorbate; however stay away from bleached flours and cottonseed, soybean, corn and hydrogenated oils because they are highly refined. While artificial colors are often made out of coal tars and have no resemblance to a natural colorant, artificial flavors like vanillin typically have a chemical structure that resembles the real thing and are thus probably easier on your body. Still, natural is always better.
As I look into people’s shopping carts at the supermarket, I see that many people are trying. Look for whole grain products; buy fresh fruits and vegetables, though frozen veggies and fruits are good as well. Most canned, jarred, and packaged foods are overly refined. Try a health food store to get a sense of what is possible as far as healthier packaged foods. Hopefully, you’ll put a check into this column more and more as you adopt more of a four element lifestyle.
Stop and smell the roses. We are meant to notice Nature’s beauty, and we benefit immensely when we do. Sensing its beauty is often the antidote for our stresses. While this could include paying attention to any part of Nature, there is something powerfully beautiful about flowers. A four-element-inspired lifestyle also includes paying attention to one of life’s more primitive senses – the sense of smell. Smell is more primitive because we tend to be drawing something into ourselves that biologically vibrates with a plant’s essence, as opposed to its reflection of light or the vibrations of sound it produces. Try to feel the spiritual essence of a rose or a lilac, a purple petunia or a honeysuckle as you draw in their fragrances. Don’t be afraid to stick your nose in that flower in front of you. You’ll learn which flowers are fragrant and worth your efforts. The world opens up as you engage it with your nose.
This part of your 4E Scorecard can also be checked when you look into the blue coolness of a sky and breathe in that open, expansive blue Air essence. Or perhaps it’s a moment to feel the body-warming, spirit-invigorating power of the sun shining on your skin when the day is cold. See the world’s beauty all around you, pay attention to the sounds of birds and insects as you connect to the world – as the principle Water pushes you to do. Try to draw a bit more of Nature in as you take in an extra-strong inhale.
Dance, sway, move to music twice a day, at least 3 minutes each time. The pelvis is where Water is strongest, and from there, we can sway and dance in the same x-axis that rivers meander in their own sinuous ways. Music inspires us to move, very often in this side-to-side motion. Music takes words, perhaps a songwriter’s poem, and helps those words touch us in Water’s ways – deeply. Every day, you should turn on some music and move; or dance as slowly or as wildly as you want. Get a mirror; by watching yourself move to music, you can experiment with how to move in more elegantly balanced, creative ways.
Notice how music is built around the curving connections between the notes we hear. We do well to somaticize, or to feel our bodies move in rhythmic, sensually vibrant ways to those curving sounds. Our bodies always benefit from moving. Remember, Water often will take us into the primitive, deeper portions of the human condition. Dancing and swaying to music feels good to a body, especially those who don’t often get the opportunity to feel life in this primitive way. The problems that arise from being stuck at a desk or from having little reason to be physically active can be remedied by moving to music on a regular basis.
Eat two healthy meals daily, hopefully preparing at least one of them. All your meals should be healthy, of course. But I don’t want to make it too difficult for you to earn some points. Let’s figure out what healthy meals really mean. No fast-food restaurants. No stops to a bagelry or donut shop. Many people think that bagels are nutritious, but typically, they are made of bleached white flour. They have a more rustic, primitive, crunchy feel to them, which perhaps makes them seem healthier than they actually are.
Consider nut butters or melted cheese on whole grain bread, or a salad for lunch. Consider tuna or sardines from time to time, or a good soup or leftover stew. The seasons will often influence what we feel we need regarding a meal’s heaviness. On cold days, a heavy chili, even a hamburger with nice vegetable trimmings, could be all right for some people. However, French fries are not good on a regular basis. While you can surely get healthy meals out in restaurants, there is always temptation to eat something greasy or starchy, or too heavy with meat. Ethnic restaurants tend to have more wholesome foods on their menu; avoid the pastas, unless you’re at a good body weight, and order some cooked greens.
Think of dinner as the most creative meal of the day. While there may be a shortlist of meals you might have for breakfast and lunch, create a more diverse tapestry of dinner meals over a week, or at least over a month. I’m particularly fond of cooking a bunch of different vegetables, sometimes with some chicken thrown in or some kind of vegetable protein source. I strongly recommend using a variety of spices or having a few jars of different condiments in your refrigerator to jazz up your meals with well-thought-out, easy-to-use spice combinations. You can view some of what I recommend at 4 Element Lifestyle.com/seasonings.
Preparing a meal for yourself or for your family should be seen as your opportunity to connect to what is lacking too often in our lives –“the primitive.” Look to integrate ever more primitive and more natural food ingredients into your meals, and as mentioned earlier, please don’t use the violently-awful energy of a microwave for heating your food.
Nourish something/someone. Water is the force that nourishes the world. Every day, we should feel a bit of that nourishing energy moving through us. If you are a parent, this will probably come without much prodding. Mothers are the primordial nurturers to their children. But how are other portions of the world being nourished by you, and how might you do more? Mentoring or otherwise helping someone in a deep way is all part of this nourishing goal of Water.
Beyond people, give yourself a check when you go around the house and water your plants. Think of doing this as helping to ensure that the power of Water and its nurturing forces are moving through your own life. Feeding the birds counts here as well. You are most likely acting as a nourishing agent as you volunteer somewhere in your community, or contribute money toward some cause that you feel good about supporting.
Create a mystical moment/renew a personal connection. Water conveys life’s whyness, which helps us feel life’s mystery and its Oneness in a personal way. We are meant to have moments of deep connection to the world around us to help feel these things. Some of these moments come as we forge a momentary connection to other people, to Nature, to the cosmos, and even to our ancestors. Try to find moments of time to connect to your lineage of ancestors who prayed, celebrated, ate, sang and spoke of life’s mysteries in their particular Water-impassioned ways. Feel the way your most distant ancestors may have felt life. One of the most troubling parts of our modern era is that people have lost the ability to know that they can and should have moments of these and other mystical connections.
A mystical moment can be had by just lighting a candle, perhaps on the Sabbath, as one’s ancestors might have done. It can come with saying prayers while engaged with one’s rosary beads. It can come as you breathe in that blue-sky energy at dusk. Always remember that what creates a mystical moment is you. It is created as you choose to feel something occurring beyond the here and now of this physical plane. It is created as you feel a spiritual reality in this physical world.
Another way to get a check in this part of your scorecard is to make a deep connection with another person. It could be with your partner, with someone at work or at the gym, a neighbor or someone you happen to meet on your walk. I recommend calling someone from your past every so often, or just email them a warm sweet note. Water is the force that promotes our connections to the past. There is something in us strengthened as we renew those deeper watery connections to special old friends, relatives, or even to traditions that take you back to your younger self.
Have a green drink/herbal tea. We are fortunate to have technology today that dehydrates the juices of healthy plants and creates powders out of them. The ones that I use with my patients (and have on my site) include sprouts of a variety of plants. Sprouts have a lot of healthy, positive energy that comes as life is germinating. Other plant parts in these green drinks may include spirulina and sea vegetables, juiced kale, spinach and fruit extracts filled with life’s vibrant biochemistries. I recommend using green drinks frequently, even every day. They are no more expensive per serving than a good cup of coffee, but they are filled with so much goodness.
The other more traditional way of drinking nutrient-laden fluids is through tea. As soon as humankind was able to cook with water over a fire, the human heritage of tea began. Herbs – which are what makes a tea, tea – should be thought of as part of a food spectrum. They don’t contain much in the way of the proteins, fats, starches and sugars found in most of our foods, and they often contain a different array of ingredients than greens and root vegetables give us. Herb teas generally have some bitterness, or certain essential oils playing out in their biochemistries that are able to influence the body’s inner wholeness and health. Herbs hold within their biochemistries more of Nature’s primitive forces. We need these primitive forces to help us stay strong and healthy. You can see what I recommend at 4 Element Lifestyle.
Engage a passion/have some fun. We are all meant to be passionate about something. What is your passion? Passions are Water element processes that prod us to connect with something deeply, generally as we feel a deeper need. There are so many things we can be passionate about; that’s what makes humankind and our human condition so interesting. It could be playing guitar, doing some art, scrapbooking, gardening, or writing; it could involve sports, skateboarding, or driving a racecar.
Our passions are what make us each unique; they give us our idiosyncrasies as we feel the need to do something in a big, fully-immersive way, which is ultimately what our passion frequently leads us to do. As we engage a passion, we are generally having fun. Fun is a Water functionality in the sense that Water relates to the pleasure and frolicking aspect of living.
There are perhaps three levels of fun – the frivolous “girls just wanna have fun”/guys hanging out drinking kind; a higher kind of fun where perhaps you’re enjoying the company of close friends and family; and then a third kind of fun relating to meaningful activities you might do by yourself or with a close or intimate person. Sex would be included here as passion, fun, somatic pleasure and awareness all come together. On the other hand, maybe what you need is to call a friend to go out for a drink, feel the warmth and camaraderie of a dinner party, or pull back and enjoy a hike through the woods by yourself or others.
Breathe 12 or more slow breaths. Obviously breathing is an Air activity. It brings the power of one of Air’s main invigorating components, oxygen, into the body. While we breathe unconsciously most of the time, we can consciously change how we breathe. When you slow your breath down, you will find yourself calmer and more collected, able to let go of those waves of worry and concerns that you felt just moments before. There is probably no easier way to calm oneself down than by breathing slowly.
When we breathe fast and shallow, we tend to stimulate the sympathetic “fight or flight” adrenaline-driven nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system, stimulated by slow breathing, can be thought of as yin to our fast-paced sympathetic system’s yang. I have found that this stress-busting part of our nervous system gets especially activated when we count our breaths.
Divide each Air element inhale into odd and even counts – inhaling into the right side of your body on odd counts, and into your left side on the even counts. The exhale doesn’t have to be quite as slow. Notice the change in your consciousness! You don’t have to do all 12 recommended counted breaths at the same time; do some of these breaths scattered throughout your day.
5-30+ minutes of a vigorous sports activity/gym workout. Air is the force that pushes you to be physically active with your muscles. Keep in mind that muscles express the Air element’s power in our lives; muscles move us through space – Nature’s air. Sports are the time-honored way of getting Air’s principle of self-empowerment invigorated by our muscular system. Running and brisk walking are good here as well.
One of the great innovations of our modern times is the abundance of gyms, YMCAs and sports clubs present in our towns and cities. All help us get more robust with chi, which comes through our expenditure of muscular effort. If you do not naturally participate in some physical activity, you should consider taking advantage of these gyms. You could insert a few short bursts of jumping jacks, push-ups, or some other heart-pounding activity into your daily routine for this checkmark, or even just dancing fast.
Do 4 Element Yoga or another slow, mindfully-done motions. The muscularity that Air seeks can also be less vigorous and more mindfully accompanied. Make time in your day to move your body in a higher level of mental awareness. The power of any kind of yoga or martial arts is that they bring mindfulness to our physical activities. They combine yang Air’s muscle-driven, chi-generating power with yin Air’s intellectual and awareness-giving powers. Mindfulness often involves a coming together of this yin and yang of Air.
Because we are often mentally stressed by today’s all too common deskwork, we benefit from somaticizing our mind – connecting our consciousness to our physical body. This does much to create a higher level of mindfulness. This is what slow yoga maneuvers can accomplish. It would be great to do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day; 4 Element Yoga is often done in three or so 5- to 10-minute segments scattered during the course of a day.
Read something intellectually stimulating (5-30 minutes). As we just noted, yin Air is about using intellect. One of the best ways to stimulate it is to read about interesting things, especially to learn something new. It is up to you to figure out what interests you, what facet of life you feel intrigued enough to learn more about. There are so many places you can grow your intellect and gain the positive buoyancy that comes as you do.
Young people are meant to be positive and buoyant in their outlook because they are in the process of learning ever-new information about how this world of ours works. Unfortunately, it does take energy and effort to learn, which makes the education of our youth something that takes effort on all sides. For many young people, education is failing because this Air is not being throttled enough in them.
Part of a four-element-inspired lifestyle is to feel the uplift of learning new things. Though you could apply your mind to learning about foolish, lowbrow parts of the human condition, Air directs everyone toward higher-level pursuits. Find your own knowledge-based, growth-oriented things you want to understand more. And it doesn’t have to be all reading. There are plenty of intellect-expanding things on TV and videosas well.
Wrote, thought, discussed. We are all meant to think up smart, elegant insights. I recommend writing these ideas or thoughts down. You’ll find that as you write them down, your mind will expand upon them. As many writers will attest, there appears to be a part of the human brain that learns more as it writes. As you write or type away, you’ll wonder how you knew this or that and where it came from within your brain.
Along these lines, you might try keeping a journal. Journaling is a time-honored way of building your intellectual caliber. You will find yourself getting smarter and more thoughtful as you write on a daily or weekly basis. On a different front, discuss important newsy things with friends, colleagues, and co-workers. The more you use this part of your mind, the more the positive energies of Air will be exercised into you, making you smarter and more upbeat. Your ability to live an interesting life increases as your thinking self, your intellect, becomes more active in your life.
Sharpening a skill. While reading something intelligent is good for the mind and spirit, developing a skill is good for even more. Many of the skills you develop will relate to your professional life, your vocation. Skills are best thought of as what we offer toward being helpful to others, whether in our vocations or in our overall lives. This getting better at something is resonant with Air’s upward-directed lift. Buoyancy, intelligence and self-empowerment increase as we develop our skills.
We are all meant to feel we are honing a skill. In the same way that it is up to you to find interesting material to read and learn from, it is up to you to find a piece of reality that interests you.
We are all meant to learn how to get better at those things we have a passion to understand; perhaps even sensing that the level of life where our skill-set is operating somehow mirrors something important in the larger whole of the cosmos. In the same way that it is up to you to find interesting material to read and learn from, it is up to you to find a piece of reality that interests you.
Felt life’s upward lift/resisted the pull of the low. Air is the positive force of Creation that pulls us all upwards. It is Air that helps us to resist doing low, base actions that we might not feel good about later. It is with the power of Air that we are able to sacrifice immediate gratifications like a candy bar, or the low-level temptations from someone who is a bad influence on us. In other words, while there is a place in our life for having our moments of immediate gratification – which Water pushes us toward experiencing – we are meant to feel the upward reins of Air probably more so in the long haul. This comes in part because Air connects us to the future, which we want to be good.
So in the same way that Water connects us to the past (blood lines, included), Air is the force that challenges us to think about our future. This prompts us to act in ways now to gain a better future. Air contains within itself the principle of hope based on the potential that the future will be better. We all know that this future has a greater chance of being better when we resist certain immediate gratifications.
Besides giving yourself a check for resisting a low-lying temptation, or an over-indulgence in something that your higher self knows is not good for you, you can also give yourself a check for rebounding from a psychologically low moment. The Air force of our lives helps us to rebound upwardly, not to get stuck in a downward trajectory. For certain people, it comes somewhat naturally; for others, it takes a very conscious and active upward reach. When Air is strong in you, you are able to let go of the low and congesting crud that will tend to drag you down. Applying muscular or intellectual effort as discussed above will help you to grab onto Air’s up-energy.
Walk with gusto (head looking forward, arms moving). While walking has the potential for a good heel strike for tapping into Earth energy, walking also has potential for invigorating the Air energies of our body. This would come by adding muscularity through using your shoulder and arm muscles more. Try bringing each arm back more as its side’s heel strikes. The muscular oomph of that back-and-up arm motion gives you the opportunity to feel the self-empowerment and buoyancy of Air. Look at how most people walk: uninspired, shoulders hunched forward. You can do better than that! Be aware that you can actually get two 4E Scorecard checks by walking: one for heel striking, and now another for adding extra oomph, and even another for being outside.
Pray/meditate 10-20 minutes. Fire is about the spiritual dimension of our lives. There are a variety of traditional ways to engage this part of us. Praying is one of them. It helps all people to center themselves on something higher than their own self. While some prayer might be a beseeching of grace upon our own self, other prayers are about trying to draw the positive power of Life, God, and our positive human spirit into this world.
Meditation is another spiritual experience that has the power to bring us upward. Just as there are a variety of different types of praying, there are different kinds of meditations. I recommend that it be done for 10-20 minutes, at least in the beginning so you can immerse yourself into it. Still, short 5-minute moments of meditation are better than nothing. It is often useful to direct your closed eyes either upward or into the center of your heart.
One of the keys to meditation is focusing the mind on either breathing or repeating a mantra, or a group of words, that work to invoke the sacred in you. There are a wide variety of books on meditation. A four-element-inspired lifestyle has an especially valued place within it for meditation. Find a way to meditate regularly. You will feel a difference; you will grow, and you will gain insights that seem to come out of nowhere!
Project a goal/ideal forwardly. Shining from the sun, Fire radiates forward as it is created. We do well to emulate that forward-directed motion in our lives by projecting our goals in this forward, future-oriented direction, which the z-axis of Fire takes us. This is part of the idea envisioning success. The more you can visually project what you want, the more the energies of Creation will fill in the spaces between the present and that projection into the future.
Ideals and goals can be starting points; it is up to us to bring them into reality. We should all have goals and ideals that we project forwardly into the world around us for our own purposes as well as for the greater good. Turn on the future-directed Fire power of your mind; that is how success is often born. Fire-focused pursuits are not easy to do in general – they are, as you know, of the highest order.
Join with others in some idealistic way. Fire is about being idealistic, and even more so, it is about joining with others to bring a positive “we are all One” spiritual ideal into physical manifestation. We are meant to join with others, investing even a portion of our own financial resources toward some idealistic, visionary goal. And it is appropriate to bring this up: how we spend our money and financial resources affects the world around us. A portion of your financial resources should regularly go toward idealistic, even visionary organizations that speak to you. The more you have these financial resources, the more it becomes your responsibility to ensure that spiritually-strong idealistic causes are energized.
There are local civic organizations, as well as larger national and global ones that may inspire your heart and spirit. There are church and other religious organizations, even political ones that might fit the bill for you. I recommend finding an organization or two that are not so much divisive as unifying in some very positive, idealistic way. One of mine is NaturalAmerica.org. It may very well speak to you, with its work of renewing America’s natural sensibilities from our youth on up, through a focus on Nature’s four elements.
The point to be stressed here is that while good action on an individual level will ripple into the world and stir good energies into the whole – for important overarching positive changes to occur, people need to join together, and feel unified and drawn upward by an ideal. A four-element-inspired person joins and supports organizations that speak to their own particular higher ideals. Always remember, the best is brought out in this world as we each find ways to draw the unifying we-are-all-one Fire energies into the world around ourselves.
Do something creative/courageous. An important Fire need within all of us is the need to be creative. It’s up to you to find your own creative spark, the fire that ignites your particular inner drive. Just as the Creator/Spirit of Life fashioned the cosmos, we are meant to fashion something creatively. Our lives are not as whole if we do not have a place to express creativity. While we assert ourselves into the world in our creative ways, we are optimally contributing to the world’s beauty in some measure.
Perhaps you find creativity in creating video or music-making, or painting, writing poetry. Ceramics, wood-working, and gardening are all creative activities – there are so many. You might find yourself doing something creative at work related to how you organize your files, or the words and pictures in a document.
The highest levels of creativity often depend upon being courageous. It takes courage to assert oneself in the world, especially when a creative act often goes against the status quo. In many ways, creativity comes as you see an imbalance or something stale or negative that you want to make better. It takes personal courage to surmount the forces that will sometimes push back against your creative, positive intentions. If your moment of creativity doesn’t pan out, try to creatively balance things even more elegantly next time, learning now how to do it better then.
Express heart/kindness. Fire contributes much to building heart. Heart, in this context, refers to the motivating force behind doing something kind that brings joy and beauty forward in the world. When we are kind, we permit ourselves to feel something a little deeper than normal and to act upon it.
The fiery ideal of Oneness is often brought to the surface by Heart and kindness. We are often kind because we feel the Oneness of a moment, and we find ourselves motivated to make that moment a more beautiful, hearty, creative, loving one as we engage others who are sharing this moment with us.
Feel grateful/thank someone. There is something beneficial that comes to each and every one of us when we acknowledge the blessings we have and thank Creation, or our version of a Creator. Mystical moments often have a grateful component to them – you are grateful to creation to be able to feel that awe of a beautiful moment in your life. It may be that the more we appreciate such thankfulness in a conscious way, the more we become a vehicle for the universe to bring forward more of that positivity. And too, perhaps Creation/the Creator gains something from being appreciated, from being acknowledged. In a sense, why should the power of Creation be generous to you if you do not appreciate it?
It just might be that the Fire of Creation and ourselves benefits from the positive feedback that thankfulness gives. This is why it is important to thank people around you. It takes energy, effort, and force of will for people to do good, kind, or courageous things. It is always worthwhile to reinforce their positive, good-natured actions. You’ll find your own life becomes richer when you express appreciation and connect with the world and the people in your life in your own thankful ways.
Enjoy a spiritually unifying moment. From a four element perspective, Fire is an expression of the principle of spiritual unity, Oneness. Optimally, we would find a way to feel it every day. While this might happen as you meditate or pray, it is meant to happen at other times. It can happen when you feel Nature’s Fire, the sun shining on you, especially on a cool day. It can happen as you enjoy a special moment that comes out from your heart – sometimes out of nowhere, sometimes inspired by the music you’re listening to, the people around you, the place you’re immersed in.
We need these spiritually unifying moments because we become demoralized and droll – ultimately less happy – without them. Our human need to experience them from time to time is sometimes seen in the solidarity that comes at culturally epic times. It speaks perhaps to the pan-ultimate moral of the story: it is up to each of us to find a way to ensure that we have moments of Spiritual Unity every once in a while. As with others on your scorecard, you might find that you can put a check in this box as well as another one or even two for a single activity you did.
Reflect on an accomplishment. There is something about reflecting upon what we have done that is very valuable; sadly, this is missing in many of our lives. This activity, like others in this section, has both a Fire and an Earth component. We’ve seen that when Fire and Earth are drawn together, we often call it Heart. The accomplishment aspect of the activity infers that Earth was successfully drawn into the equation. Fire comes into the action by that moment of reflection, which draws us closer to our spiritual self. Reflection nourishes our spirit. It’s the way we can feel our spirit’s positive Fire energy, often within our heart.
Our own hearts are often strengthened when we reflect upon the day we just had, the useful things we did, the people we engaged. This is part of the power behind the Sabbath, a time of reflection before we go out and try to do more. This reflection, optimally, makes it easier to feel good about life, the world, and people around you. It can also help you to feel better about yourself. This reflective, or Sabbath moment, is a yin Fire moment wherein we are able to collect our own spirit around something that will nourish us. Many are missing this in their lives because they feel too busy to take the time to do it. Journaling is a time-honored way of accomplishing this. This scorecard is meant to be helpful in its own way as well.
In closing, your 4 Element Scorecard can play a great role in helping you develop an inspired, interesting, fun and productive life. Even just referring to it every once in a while can be useful. Developing one’s weekly routine is often at the heart of building and maintaining a happy, healthy life. I hope this scorecard will help you gain these things.
A PDF of the 4 Element Scorecard is below. You can download your own copy of it or click the link below and make a copy of the Yearly Scorecard Google Doc (You need a google account to make a copy of the scorecard). At the end of each day, or perhaps at the end of each week, tabulate these marks. We’ve made it easy for you, the Google doc will tabulate weekly and monthly scores automatically. You can see each element’s final score, as well as your total score. If you would prefer a paper copy a weekly scorecard is available below.
Click Here For Yearly Scorecard!
Download or print the weekly scorecard below!