I think I must now be very much in the Metal phase of my life, and I am increasingly aware of time passing. With my love of the elements, I have reduced the seven stages of life Shakespeare tells us about in As You Like It to five, each represented by one of the elements, with Water, ever-ambiguous and mysterious, straddling both the end and the beginning of life to create an unbroken circle. In my picture of the elements forming life's cycle, Metal lurks there almost at its end, its autumn, and at my age, now in my mid-80's, I accept that this is the stage I am at.
I feel we are living through strange times, evoking yet another Shakespearian thought, for many of us feel, with Hamlet, that "the time is out of joint". Covid, global warming and Brexit are combining to make me assess my life anew - and this includes my approach to my five element practice and teaching. I am treating very few people now, first forced into this by Covid restrictions and then at last accepting that the time has come for me to concentrate whatever energy is left to me on what I consider the most valuable thing for me to do. It's important for me to know that whatever legacy I leave behind represents the best that I can offer those coming after me. To my surprise, lockdown has given me new teaching tools to use to do this which I never suspected were there. Things literally fell into my lap one day when I was trying to familiarize myself with my new i-Pad when it struck me that one way of occupying myself whilst I was prevented from carrying on my teaching in China would be to spend some time learning how to record myself teaching online. My blog of 6 June: Continuing teaching during lockdown describes how I learnt how to do this.
Not only has recording the 100 or more videos occupied my time usefully, but it has also given me the opportunity to think my thoughts through more thoroughly, and particularly work out new ways of helping students from a distance. With Guy and Mei I have now completed several series of video seminars, and we are about to embark on some new seminars, both online in China, and potentially in person in a chateau in the French Loire valley, once Covid travel restrictions permit this.
So in this most contemplative phase of my life, in the autumn of my days, I think I am fulfilling the needs of the Metal element within me to clear away the garbage and pass on as much of the true essence of my understanding of five element acupuncture as I can.