What Phase of Life are you in?

| January 20, 2018 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

What Phase of Life are you in?

Except from Become the Architect of Your Body, Mind and Soul by Lara Alexiou

The phases of life are part of my favorite thing about the Taoist Five Element Theory. The first phase is the Wood phase, from the age of birth to eight years. Like springtime, our lives share the same characteristics of the season, new growth and discovery. The Fire phase begins at age eight through thirty-two years. Typically the Fire phase is a very exciting time. Life is filled with heat and passion, and we possess a ton of energy and excitement for trying new things. The transition from the Fire phase of life to the Earth phase is age thirty-three. Many people experience big life changes at this transition time. These transitions may occur a couple of years earlier or a few years later, but we will notice that between the ages of thirty-two and thirty-five we probably made or will make choices that moved us into a whole new phase of our lives: marriage or new relationship, divorce or breakup, new baby, new job, recovery from addiction, a move or a new city, going back to school or completing a degree. 

I remember feeling restless when I hit my late twenties. I was not exactly sure what I wanted in my life, but I did know I wanted to create something more lasting than the existence I had. Within the next several years, I moved to a new city, opened a business, and ended a major relationship. This all occurred at my transition into the Earth phase. 

And it was all perfectly timed. The Earth phase is a time for doing the work, for putting down roots. We are more settled and ready to live our lives by making some lasting changes and choices. Before getting married, my husband and I knew we were both in the Earth phase of our lives. We were ready to build a life in one place, set down our roots, and see what we could create together. 

In the Earth phase we follow through. I still like to travel and try new things because now I know who I am and what I am creating. A steady Earth phase is what allows me to enjoy many great opportunities stress free. I can leave town because I have a home to come back to. I can take a sabbatical each summer because I have a strong business and a great staff to support the business. A clear vision of what I want keeps me motivated through the tough times. Knowing the next phase that lies ahead also keeps me going. What we do in the Earth phase greatly affects the next phase of our lives, the Metal phase. 

Age fifty-eight ushers in the Metal time of life, the harvest time. What the Earth phase builds, the Metal phase reaps. Relationships, family, property, business, schooling, knowledge, financial security or insecurity at this stage depend on what we build in the Earth phase. 

Good health at this phase can also be a reflection of how we treated our bodies in the previous phase. During the Fire phase, we recover easier from intense training and from injuries, but with every passing year, the consequences of our behavior—and I do not just mean in our health—are more difficult to overcome later in life. 

I am not yet into my Metal phase, but I have seen emotional regret, heath issues, financial instability, and stress all manifest more deeply in this phase for individuals who did not take time to build, to dig in, and to do their work during the Earth phase. It is never too late to make peace or start caring more for our personal health, but the earlier you do it the better!

 The final phase is the Water phase, which comes in at age eighty-three. This is the phase many do not reach. It is the phase of transformation and when we give it all back. We give our knowledge, wisdom, love, even our material goods and finances back. I remember when some of my older family members were downsizing their living situations in this phase. Some invited the family over to their homes and asked us what we wanted. It was ours! They did not need those things anymore and wished for us to enjoy them. Others put together boxes of items which different family members might like. Sometimes the distribution happened after death through a will. 

But again, we are not just talking of material things here. The grand matriarchs and patriarchs of the family have many stories to tell. They remember the old family picnics; they can name the people in the old photos. They have wisdom to share from a long life, from hard times and good times. 

The more we embrace each phase for the energy it offers us, the stronger the next phase will be. When the Fire phase is strong and exciting, filled with new experiences, we are ready and excited for the Earth phase. We do not carry feelings of loss or regret into the next phase with us. I traveled the country and lived out of a suitcase in my Fire phase when I was on tour for a year as an actor and recent college grad. I had plenty of energy, no money, and a great time. I did not have any responsibilities that required substantial amounts of money. I was not in the right phase for house payments or car payments. It was a time for exploration and new experiences, all of which I had plenty. But I would not have wanted that phase to last forever.

Now that I have more financial and personal responsibilities, I am glad of all the things I did when I had the opportunity. When my Earth phase rolled around, I welcomed it. I was happy for a solid intimate relationship. I enjoyed owning a business that I could expand and in a career that I loved rather than merely having a job to pay the bills. I look around every day at our beautiful home and sometimes I even say out loud, “I’m so happy we live here and don’t have to think about moving any time soon.” Every choice carries a different feeling with it now. In my Fire phase I had several different jobs that paid the bills, and I lived in many different dwellings. My Earth phase brought a desire for something more stable, plus a willingness to put in the time, effort, and energy for the rewards. 

I notice that most people go awry at this last part I mentioned, that is the “willingness to put in the time, effort, and energy for the rewards.” I see this often, both inside and outside of the yoga room. A lot of students want the results of practice: a quiet mind, less stress, more flexibility, less pain, a supple spine. But they are not willing to put in the time and the effort this demands. This requires stepping up to the challenges of the Earth phase. We do not get to our harvest without the work. There are no shortcuts. We must put in the time to reap the rewards. People want to skip from the exciting Wood phase, where everything is new and the Fire phase where everything is full of passion and excitement, right to the Metal phase of enjoying the bounty. But it just does not work like that. Giving and receiving are the same channel. We cannot take without giving first. There is nothing to enjoy without doing our part.

I hope you can start to see these different phases and how they are reflected in your own life. Seeing the patterns of energy helps you make good decisions and maximize your choices and your life! 

And if you feel behind, do not worry about anything you did not do. The time is now. Start now, here, today, with what you have and where you are. Waste no energy on what you might have done if you had known. Now you know! You are not too late. You are right on time. The Universe is one hundred percent behind you.

Lara Alexiou is the author of Become the Architect of your Body, Mind and Soul and owner of Steamtown Yoga. She has been helping people transform their lives through the Eastern Healing Arts for nearly two decades. For more information and to read Alexiou’s yoga and wellness blog, visit her online at https://www.steamtownyoga.com/books and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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