User Manual

Developing Character

The qualities of metal within us represent our drive, strength, determination, persistence and power. Metal is the strength of our character. It is our drive to succeed, “the fire in our belly.” Lungs and large intestine are the organs of metal.

Metal is flexible and can maintain incredible strength of form. The talents we forge into the makeup of our character can display the strength and malleability of the finest metals. With the right amount of heat—the balance of unconditional love and firm boundaries—our metal becomes malleable. Our talents and our particular genius can be shaped into tools that are useful to our self and society.

We develop the positive qualities of metal by becoming someone who trusts life and respects those who might think differently than we do, someone who makes wise choices, someone others look up to. We do what we say we will do. We are true to our word. We know we are an integral and necessary part of our community, our world. One positive step at a time, then another, leads us to becoming this person in our community.

Breathing out strong strengthens our metal. Breathing in is autonomic. It happens whether we are conscious of it or not. When we breathe out shallowly, we breathe in shallowly. When we breathe out strong, we breathe in equally as strong, waking us to the present moment. Spiritual awareness is simply mindfulness.

We are a spirit who lives in a body, but our body has its own animal spirit. Breathing out strong can make our animal spirit as powerful as a grizzly bear. Breathing shallowly or chest breathing can make our spirit as timid as a mouse. Moment by moment, how much air we breathe determines how powerful our spirit is.

Each time you notice yourself breathing shallowly—take a cleansing breath—a fast deep breath, which interrupts the unconscious pattern. As you resume breathing out strong, you wake up from a low-grade spell, like feeling inadequate, worried, anxious or any number of unconscious ways of coping.

When you make a habit of breathing out strong, you normally catch yourself breathing shallowly about twenty times a day. How you handle the situation replaces it with a more empowered one. This habit about doubles your self-esteem every year while creating a stable foundation for living powerfully on this Earth.

Habits Develop our Character

Each of the seven habits empowers us when we are maximumly injured. They empower us when we want to compete at the highest levels. Each habit wakes us to the present moment where all potential and all possibility are accessible to us, where we create the world our heart desires.

We can’t just go from being a chest breather, like I was, to breathing like a truly empowered person instantly. Habits take time to develop. The more we practice a habit, the better our entire health and well-being becomes. As years go by, once unobtainable ideals and goals become accessible. Mastery develops simply committing to a habit, then putting one foot in front of the other and not quitting on ourselves.

Habits make us who we are. Most people's habits are unconscious, causing their vitality to decline every year. Breathing out strong allows us to experience ever-higher levels of vitality as we age. Age empowers us. We live our life more powerfully every year until we breathe our last breath. One moment, one step at a time we become the promise of ourselves.

At each stage it becomes easier and more enjoyable to breathe out strong. Commit to a habit of breathing twice as good every year as the year before. That is a doable goal. When you make breathing out strong your lifetime habit, every year your life will be more yours. You find yourself being more authentic, more courageous just by breathing enough life force to stand up to all the situations you face.

Look at the people you most admire. Notice how disciplined they are. Notice their habits. Committing to good habits shapes you into becoming the best version of yourself.

The Mechanics of Forgiveness

The second habit that heals, purifies and strengthens your metal element is to forgive, especially your father (metal) and other father figures in your life. Forgiveness is simply feeling the painful feelings that separate you from loving others.

The practice forgiveness lets go of old painful traumas. All that weight lifts off you. Old aches fade away. Your inner light increases its radiance and shines more brightly. Your metal starts holding its form better. You find yourself standing taller during trials and difficulties.

The archetypes of Father (metal) and Mother (earth) form about 60 percent of our internal makeup. The biggest portion of our worldview is occupied with these two archetypes. Holding onto painful memories about our parents and siblings is a major cause of pain and dysfunction.

Ultimately, we must forgive everyone and everything that causes us emotional pain. The more we clear out the old pain, the more room we have for inspiration. The brighter our light shines. The more we can forgive, the easier it is to achieve our spirit’s higher ideals. Pursuing our heart’s desires guides us to create and live the life of our dreams.

The Ability to Grieve - The Season of Autumn 

The element of metal is associated with the season of autumn. This is the season when the energy of growth slows dramatically. As we progress into Autumn, the air becomes heavy with mist and rain. Leaves die and fall to the ground.

Death and dying—a natural part of the cycle of life—returns essential nutrients and metals to the soil to nourish vigorous growth the following spring. The death and the dying of what no longer serves us replenishes the soil, creating a nurturing environment where new dreams and aspirations can grow.

Our lung system is the part of our consciousness that grants us the power of grief. It is normal to grieve when someone or something is lost to us. And it's normal to feel grief when summer is gone. But if we don’t allow ourselves to feel grief, we cannot move beyond it. Then, any new loss hits us like a punch in the gut.

With each new loss that we do not allow ourselves to actually feel/experience, life leaves us feeling more traumatized. Instead of living life head-on, much of our time is spent focusing on the rear-view mirror, thinking “if only,” wishing things were the way they used to be. If we cannot let go of the past, there is no room for inspiration, no space to create a future or even contemplate one.

Everything has seasons of change. Everything! Let’s take relationships as an example:

  • Springtime is when a relationship is growing vigorously. We are spending a lot of time together, growing, learning and sharing a wealth of experiences. It feels like this time of growth will never end, or even slow down.
  • But then we get to the summertime of a relationship, the energy does slow down slightly, becoming softer, blossoming outward. Summertime is a loving time when our shared experiences flower into all sorts of exquisite experiences.
  • The time of Earth is called Indian summer. The last twenty days of each season is the time of harvest. Both of you are usually so busy, there is less time together, unless you are harvesting something together. Even then, the focus tends more toward the harvest than on each other.
  • As relationships or situations enter the season of Autumn, even less of your friend’s energies are available to you. Their focus is more on their own stuff instead of you. There is a melancholy in the air. Leaves are falling. Summer is gone. One experiences loss. When a relationship enters the autumn phase in your life it is time to contemplate its value to you: “What inspired me about this relationship? Do we both share in the bounty of this relationship, or does take more energy than it returns? Is this relationship something I really want to invest the time and energy it takes to make it survive the test of time?” This is a good time to look at any expectations that you or the other person must be a certain way.
  • Winter is a time when the least amount of energy is available to the relationship. Each person’s focus tends toward introspection or being cozy and comfortable. Often others have less time for you, or you them.

It is important to say “yes” to each phase of life as it is happening. There are things that need to die so the cycle of renewal can bring new life and nourish vigorous growth to the relationship in the following spring. If we cannot embrace the winter of a relationship, the springtime cannot come forth.

Excerpted from Body Intelligence, A New Paradigm by John L. Mayfield, D.C.
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