Into the Mountains


In Honor Of | Over the past four years I have been studying the five elements. It is a simple, effortless way of finding metaphor in our world. Traveling with air, water, earth, fire, and essence has offered a meandering stream of possibilities. Nature has become a comforting friend, ever compassionate and understanding, as I deconstruct the complex issues we face as humans; getting lost in the awe that we are.

On the cover of the Fauna & Flora decks I have placed five symbols from the bygone study of alchemy. These symbols represent the five elements mentioned above and the way I have chosen to sort the animals and plants. Each animal offers a singular metaphor, but collectively, provides a repository of opportunities the reader can access to get inspired, do their work, and take action.

In addition to being used in the decks, these elemental symbols serve as the outline for my book, Finding Essentia. There are five primary sections:

1) The Hearth – otherwise referred to as ether, represents our essence, our soul, our home base
2) Air – this element offers an opportunity to hear and encourages us to release what drags us down
3) Water – water seeks to cleanse, provides a sea of opportunity, and inspires us to see life as art
4) Soil – the earth grounds us and nourishes our soul in an effort to support new growth
5) Sun  – and fire speaks of our truth; offers energy to ignite and share strength with others

By writing Finding Essentia in this way, these sections help me convey the lessons that have been shared with me by the countless individuals that have touched my heart. When my last patient died, I promised her I would not let her story end with her. She struggled in silence, yet I hear her voice in so many of our collective challenges.

This week, in her honor, I am heading to the mountains, 7000 feet up, to connect with nature, set my intentions, and dig in. I hope to emerge on the other side with the Flora deck done and a completed first draft of Finding Essentia. My goal is to share with you the courage of everyday life. To tell the stories - not of superheroes or triumphant accomplishments - but how everyday people, just like you and me, wake up and repeat. These are our stories. From each other and with each other, we can traverse the predictable plains of life and ask ourselves: Are we living to die or dying to live?

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