The Elixirs of a Good Life

We are the mirror as well as the face in it.

We are tasting the taste this minute

of eternity. We are pain

and what cures pain, both. We are

the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

Rumi – translated by Coleman Barks

At the beginning of 2012, I set several writing goals for myself, and one of them was to write a book called The Seven Elixirs of a Good Life.  It was originally meant to be a book to use in my workshops with clients. As the year has developed, it’s become clear to me that this book is something that I need to write for my two sons to share some of my deeper ideas about living well that I haven’t been able to express to them until now.

One of my primary goals is to share with them the idea that many of the elixirs we seek in our life, come from within us.  Like Rumi says, “we are pain and what cures pain both”.  I also want them to begin to understand how mystics from all religions and different times have a different approach to living a “good life”, and that the “mystical” approach has important practical applications for us today.

I have to admit, that an external event —  the beautiful spring weather in the Chicago area has been an elixir for me in the last week, and seems to be mellowing my energy in needed ways.

I have definitely felt that I was “tasting the taste of eternity” working in my garden, clearing all the old leaves to make room for my flowers and herbs.

Ideally we observe our energy on a daily basis, and learn to practice something Dr. Barbara De Angelis taught me a few years ago – energetic course correction.

Today, I’m sharing my way of looking at energetic course correction through the seven  elixirs that we all need to find both internally and externally and cultivate within ourselves in our heroic journey through life:

    1. Blossoming – finding the ability to evolve, and in some sense be reborn every day to the gift of a new day
    2. Cooling – knowing when to cool down and calm our passions and energies
    3. Warming – realizing when we have become too cool and need to warm up
    4. Attracting –  allowing experiences, people and gifts to come to us simply by being ourself
    5. Purifying – letting go
    6. Giving – sharing our life energy, talents and gifts
    7. Receiving – acknowledging all of the good that is coming into our lives from all around us
You may have your own list of elixirs.  You probably haven’t called them elixirs, maybe you call it checking in with yourself, being a witness to your own life, or staying grounded and centered.

This idea of elixirs has been “brewing” within me for a long time, partly inspired by my readings of the psychologist,Carl Jung in my twenties.  His ideas about how the alchemy of the unconscious shapes our experience as we go through what he called individuation still speak to me after many, many years of living.  I think he was on to something important in his focus on transformative internal processes.

I also wanted to include a sense of play with this new book.  My sons and I have been on many adventures together, and we’ve also seen and love action/adventure movies.  So, I’m still thinking about how to present this information in a way that my boys can appreciate.  I might have my kids collaborate with me on the development of the book since I have a feeling some of the terms may need to change, especially the idea of blossoming, which might seem too girly for them.

Ultimately, I’m hoping to teach my sons a different way of looking at the development of a good life that doesn’t depend upon external circumstances and materialism.

Often we are NOT taught in school or our families how to make energetic course corrections in our daily lives.  We have lots of linear and outer goals drilled into our heads from an early age.  We talk about good manners and being nice, but what I’m talking about is different.

How much are we taught how to manage our own energy in a way that is not only socially acceptable, but truly restores our spirit, health and happiness?

The ability to observe and manage their energy is one of the most important skills we can teach our children, and of course, ourselves.  I’m definitely on a journey to become more masterful in aligning my energy with “higher” energies.  So, in that sense the seven elixirs are truly lifetime ways of witnessing energy fluctuations.

How about you? Do you have a way that you course correct your energy during the day? How have you or might you teach others how to manage their own energy? I’d love to hear any ideas you might have about this topic.

Of course, the ability to see energetic processes in our characters and stories is a big help for writers too.   I’ll write a bit more about that tomorrow!

4 thoughts on “The Elixirs of a Good Life

  1. bobleckridge says:

    Hi Karen, thanks for the lovely post – I’m really appreciating it. I share your feelings about the Spring ( ).
    I’ve found two things useful for me in regulating energy flow in the day. First thing I discovered was that carbs at lunch time deplete me. When I dropped them out of that meal entirely, I found my energy in the afternoon improved dramatically. Don’t know if the same would work for anyone else but I do think it’s worth raising our awareness about the effects different foods have on our energy levels – I suspect different foods affect people differently!
    Secondly, I use Heartmath – see my summary –

    Enjoy the surge of Earth energy as Spring breaks through!!


    • Karen Wan says:

      Thanks Bob, I like both your ideas for managing your energy, and particularly your blog about Heartmath. I’ve been meaning to learn more about it, and you’ve provided an excellent introduction!

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