Each element is subject to its own stresses. Mine relate to the functions of the Small Intestine within the Fire element. We know that its task is to protect the Heart, its close companion, by making sure that it only allows the pure through. This involves the never-ending work of screening everything coming to it before it allows it to pass. Physically, of course, this means its work in filtering out impurities in the blood, but at the deeper level, which acupuncture recognizes, it also filters all that relates to our thoughts and emotions.
Small Intestine must constantly ask itself, “Is this the right way to do this?”,
“Is this the right thing to do?”, “Is this how I should be feeling?” This is demanding work, and just as surely as
we can become too tired to walk another step, so my Small Intestine can grind
almost to a halt after a day of such constant activity. It is as though I succumb to decision
fatigue, lacking the strength to work out what I need to advise my Heart to
do. If I am not careful, this is when I
may start to do the most inappropriate things, say the most inappropriate
things, send off an intemperate email by mistake, or make a sudden decision
based on ill-founded reasons. With the
years, I have grown better at recognising the early signs of this tiredness,
and have learnt that I need to put all my thoughts on hold until my Small
Intestine has had time to recover. I
have also learnt never to press the Send button on a difficult email until I
have slept on it and woken to a refreshed Small Intestine, now able to resume
its tasks and thus more likely to make the right decisions.