After age 35, a woman enters into the Queen or Imperial phase of life, according to ancient Chinese medicine texts written about self-empowerment in 600 CE.
She transitions away from the Maiden or Princess phase, where she was concerned with what the world thought of her, how she looked to everyone around her, what others wanted her to do, and procreation.
During this transformation, the Heart, also known as the Emperor or Empress in Chinese medicine, heats up and loses communication with the cooling water aspect of the Kidneys.
This can lead to irregular periods, mood swings, and fertility issues; a collection of symptoms also known as perimenopause.
I believe the Heart heating up is the body’s way of speaking up to be heard.
It’s asking the woman, what do YOU want?
How do YOU feel?
What is YOUR expression of your authentic self in the world, regardless of other’s opinions and expectations?
Literally and figuratively, what does your heart want?
I recently listened to an interview on Dear Sugar Radio with singer/songwriter India Arie, who talked about how to become your own guide.
After describing her eye-opening experience of a mental breakdown, where she felt that her personality and soul split in two, she reminded listeners of the often forgotten detail that the Phoenix who rose from the ashes actually set fire to its own nest.
“The Phoenix set fire to itself. You set fire to your own nest–it’s how you find empowerment. You give birth to a new you.” ~India Arie
She felt that her crisis came as a result of not listening to the signals her body was sending her for years in the form of ulcers and skin eruptions (both are considered symptoms of fire in Chinese medicine), and that she ultimately had no choice but to explode, then take the time to go deep within herself and ask her heart and soul what it wanted and rebuild her life on her own terms.
India’s story exemplifies what can happen when we ignore our body’s whispers and it has to scream to get our attention.
Her story also illustrates the common journey among women of being invited into her own power and strength, her own definition of femininity, as she enters into the Imperial phase of life.
It doesn’t have to be this dramatic for every woman, but it’s common for women to experience an emotional upheaval during this time of life, mirroring the erratic Heart fire, where she grapples with big questions such as; how can I become more of my authentic self, what will it mean if I do or don’t have a baby, how do I live my life and stay true to myself if I already had a baby, how do I want to contribute to the world, etc.
Honestly answering these questions and embracing this self-evolution is the key to restoring communication between the Heart and Kidneys, resulting in even emotions, balanced hormones, a stronger sense of self, and even increased fertility.
In the Daoist Five Element model, Fire and Water are vertically in line with each other, whereas Wood, Earth, and Metal relate horizontally.
According to ancient Daoist Chinese medicine texts, the way to restore communication between the Heart (Fire element) and Kidneys (Water element) during the Imperial phase of life is to “live vertically.”
Horizontal living feels like being pulled in two different directions at once–backwards and forwards, in the past and in the future, wanting things to be different then they are.
The energy of Wood is longing, reaching for the future. The pathologic energy of Earth is a knotted spiral, going in circles, worrying, obsessing. Metal energy is caught in the past, in grief, in regret.
In contrast, living a vertical life embodies upright communication between Water and Fire, Spirit (Shen) and Essence (Jing), Heaven and Earth; the present moment, spiritual uprightness.
Living vertically means accepting where you are right now and knowing that you are exactly where you need to be, that there are no mistakes.
To me, restoring communication between the Heart and Kidneys, between Fire and Water, in order to restore harmony in the mind, body, and soul means finding your own expression of authentic femininity.
Not the world’s interpretation of what it means to be a woman, but yours.
“I feel now the time has come for women…to speak out of their feminine wisdom and strength. The feminine–what is it? I don’t think we can define it. But we can experience it and out of that experience try to express it via symbols and images, art forms through which we can be in the mystery of that experience and yet somehow articulate it too…One of the challenges women have today is not only to be open to the experience of the feminine but also to try to express it in their own way.” ~ Linda Schierse Leonard, The Wounded Woman
If you find yourself in the midst of emotional upheaval, navigating the Imperial phase of life, accept your Heart’s invitation to reunite with your innate power and redefine your authentic femininity.
Set fire to your own nest.
For the first time ever, I am offering all three of my online programs simultaneously, so you can choose which phase of life you’re in and get the knowledge and support you need.
Choose between Fertile Woman if you are trying to conceive, Pregnant Woman if you are pregnant and want to do all you can to ensure a healthy baby, body, and delivery, or Wonder Woman if you would like to release weight and balance your hormones, whether or not you’ve had a baby.
Registration for all three programs opens October 12th at 9am MT and your program will start October 24th.
Click on your program and join the waiting list to be the first in line when registration opens.
Photo: Lisa Rundall Photography
Outfit styling: Hiris & Co
Daoist Five Element diagram from fiveringswellness.blogspot.com