Welcome to my podcast website!
May 10, 2023

Mothering the Elements with Heather Rarden

Mothering the Elements with Heather Rarden

Today, I'm with Heather Rarden, and we're talking about mothering the elements - particularly the Earth element. As a Healing Arts Practitioner who works with multiple modalities, Heather brings breadth and depth into the conversation on ways for you to mother the Earth element so that you (and your family) experience more balance in life.

In this episode, Heather helps you return home by rebalancing your energetic field with the Earth element. Because when you feel tethered, you have grounded vitality to maneuver life more easily.

And if you loved Heather and this discussion, join her "Mothering Your Elements - Dip Your Toe into a Week of Self Care" workshop from May 20-26th. You'll meet daily for 30 minutes Live on Zoom and use AcuAroma Therapy and Guided Meditation with the Element of the Day. At the end of the week, you will have been introduced to each of the five elements in Classical Chinese Medicine plus two Central Channels. In addition, you will have an essential oil and an acupressure point to turn to when you want to feel more harmony with that element. This introductory week is a beautiful way to bring in a self-care practice that can help balance the flow of Qi throughout your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Recordings are available for all who register. Message her on Instagram @discoveringhara or on FaceBook @Discovering Hara.

And as a small gift, Heather offers you three book recommendations. 

  • "Wood Becomes Water: Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life" by Gail Reichstein. Heather says this book provides an overview of the elements, meridian information, and helpful point locations.
  • "Staying Healthy With the Seasons" by Elson M. Haas, MD. Heather notes this is an excellent resource for living through the seasonal year in an elemental way.
  • "Elements of Emotion" by Desiree de Lunae, L.Ac. Heather claims this is a beautiful resource for high-level 5 Element info and Essential Oils that are helpful for each Meridian/Channel.


Much gratitude to

Heather Rarden and our lifelong friendship that’s blooming in new ways this season. Her love for nature and being 1000% genuine radiates through her work and generous guidance.

The QBR Team (quickbusinessresolutions.com) for providing endless support (and tireless edits) to bring you this podcast.

Clementine Moss designed and recorded the music for Soulful Soundbites. Follow her and experience her magic at @clemthegreat.

Erica Smigielski, creator, producer, and writer, continues to place energetic ‘milk bottles’ through each episode to help those who seek or need a ray of light.

👀 Remember, you can *see* us in a video episode in my free SparkPath Community

Episodes drop every other week, so subscribe or follow and you won't miss one.

And while you're there, leave a rating, write a review, or message me about your favorite episode.


Note! The transcript is unedited.

So Heather, I'm so happy you agreed to come on my podcast and talk about your little project you're brewing of, mothering your elements. And I, when you shared this with me the other day, I'm like, wait, we have to come back and talk about this.

And so so here we are. And I thought I would ask to start. How you arrived here. Like just give us kind of a, how you stepped into this work and how this idea of mothering your elements was birthed. Okay. Birthed. Very nice. Well, thank you for inviting me to talk about this too. I think the way that I arrived to this point, I, being in tech before and then leaving that and having the three kids that I have now, and I got pretty like flailing, lost in, in what was important to me and how to kind of write my ship and how to get balanced again.

And eventually I came across stuff with Chinese medicine, which can get very, very intensive and deep. But also it's really applicable from a, from an easy to start in comp, like something that made sense to me.

Way of doing self-care. And it was sort of a tethering of my flailing around. I was sort of able to tether it to the natural cycles of the earth. And we have seasons, no matter how we're feeling about them, no matter if we're ready for them or not, they keep coming around and they change.

Yeah. But they're, they're still those four seasons of the year. And then there's, in Chinese medicine, each season it corresponds to an element and there are five elements. And so there's, with the Four Seasons, there's this extra element of earth element, which is sort of its pivotal point within each season.

And when I started learning a little bit about Chinese medicine, I could see the correlation to being a mother is a very, like, I think we're gonna talk about earth element today, but being a mother and a caretaker is very earthy. It's like this earthy time phase of life, and it's everything we do when we're in that phase.

And fathering is the same thing. It's caretaking and thinking of others and putting others first. In a lot of ways, it's this phase of life that is so dominant that that's what I was in with all my little kids and it. My digestion went crazy. And that is an earth element, it's part of our body that does that digestion.

So I, when I started learning about Chinese medicine in this high level way, it made a lot of sense for me to tether my emotions and what was going on in my life to what, what nature cycles had to offer. And then fi figure out how to help balance myself based off of watching how nature does it. And so how I came to this point, after a lot of different training, I, I would really love to help other people find ways to connect back into their bodies and into nature.

Since we're all part of the natural world. So it really, it's like physics and energy. It all has a cyclical nature to it, and there's a harmony in that. So I thought maybe I could offer some, offerings on mothering your elements since there's five different elements, which all have different correlations in our emotions, in our body and foods and everything else, that I could give people a little taster on those five different elements.

That's how I got to this point. I love this and it's so much as, I mean, I've known you. Forever. So thanks for the people that are just meeting you of giving us sort of the backdrop of how you arrived here. But ever since I've known you, I've always felt that you've been very naturally pun intended, I suppose, attuned to the seasons and to nature, and that's always just.

You know, radiated from you. So it's just really exciting to see you stepping into this work and helping others be able to, learn from nature as a way to help them tether themselves to something that feels stable and to maneuver the craziness of life and parenting. So, yeah. , so I know we also talked about, the elements and the earth element.

And being a Virgo, I could talk about the earth element all day long. I love the earth, the earthiness. And so it seemed so so timely because as you said, it's that fifth element, which seems to be what holds a lot of the other elements. And so, Where's a good place for someone to start That's kind of new to bringing the elements into their world and especially ones that will help them ground themselves. So the earth element is the, is the perfect element to start with. Cuz we, well just all to to start, all of us have all five elements.

It's also considered five phases because it really is a cyclical nature of growing. And then aging and then eventually dying. And then there's this rebirth of growing age. If you look at the cycles of nature spring, if spring into summer, into fall, into winter, and it's this like birth and growth and harvesting, and then the dropping of the leaves and getting down to the roots and then going inward and nurturing those roots for the wintertime when it's dark and then you start over again.

And The commonality or the glue with all of those seasons is this earth element, which in some books in Chinese medicine, it shows the earth element is the center of the elemental wheel. In others it doesn't have it as the center because it's also given a season. Considered late summer. So you have summer, which is a fire season.

It's hot and it's bright and it's very young. It has all this energy to it. And then the late summer is when you are starting to do all of that harvesting and you're reaping in all of the stuff that's happened. And it goes into the fall for sure. But it's this like, I think it's a two week period of time that's given its own season of late summer.

So that's when you see in the five element theory that if you ever see that diagram, it has these five circles and they all point to, it's in the cyclical nature. And then other ones show earth right in the middle because there's also a truism with all of the, the way Chinese philosophy talks about it.

That about a week and a half before a seasonal change and a week and a half after the seasonal change. That's the earthy time. And if you think of earth as being your grounding or your centering, it's like your touchstone. You know? Even though stone is more of a metal, but it's like your touchstone or your centering, your grounding moment, it's a also a pivot moment. Where you're about to take action, but you're grounding yourself back before you pivot to the next thing. So it's called a transition phase or a pivot phase. And I think all of us have all of those elements in our lives and in our bodies.

And an earth element is something we can all relate to, I think pretty well because when we get too spacey up here, we need to ground ourselves and that's very earthy.  I think it's interesting cause when you think of the earth as a planet, it's, you know, referred to as Mother Earth and you know, 

there is a maternal quality to the earth element. And you know, through the work I've done, I've learned in creating with the great mother, often that connection can take form an earth. Being, or an earth animal so I think it's so interesting that there's that mo maternal aspect with the earth element. And in addition to that, and, and you think of that when you wanna try to ground yourself and you're in between situations or you're transitioning. Like a little kid, you kind of go hold onto your mom's hand in order to, you know, take that step or to go on your first day of school.

And so there's something just, I find so beautiful about that relationship. Yeah. The maternal. Yeah, it is very, it's one that sustains us and it nurtures us and it nourishes and it takes care of, so it's the one that tucks you in at night. It's that feeling of comfort and of stability and of harmony, and I think that's why in Chinese element theory, it is the transition or the pivot period between these elements because you're going from one season.

Of its own energy and chaos and greatness and downfalls to the next one. And in the middle of it you have this cozy up and, and ground yourself moment cuz you're about to shift gears. You know? So that's what the earth element gives us. It's also in our bodies, it's our digestion and our ways of, in our minds, it's also our ways of digesting information.

So it's, it's this. Pivot. It's this transition period of going from one energy to another and you're digesting in the middle of it, you know? So it makes a lot of sense to me that we're all in these, sometimes we are in a go, go, go mood and other times we are in a like, I just need to like take stock. I need to like see what's going on.

I need to get my bearings. And that's the earth element. It could be a time of day, it could be the season, it could just be your life phase. But and we go through all of the elemental cycles every day as well. So it's, I love the element theory because it breaks down into something that makes a lot of sense so that when we have bad digestion, we can look at earth foods that help our digestion ease up the stress that it's undergoing to right itself. Again, you know, so that we can go back to the spicy food or whatever, but you might need to have a break, a break from it in like a digestive easing time to pivot. So tell me more about that, cuz that's really helpful.

I'm thinking of listeners that may be able to hold what we're saying, but they're like, help me understand how can I bring some of that groundedness in? So if I need help with my digestion, what would be some earth foods or if I, what are some activities I could do to feel that grounded support?

I'm sure a lot of us have heard of grounding where you take your shoes off and you walk on grass, and that is a very earth way of grounding your energy cuz it brings your energy into the earth and you, and you're also taking the energy from the earth into your body. So that's one grounding way of doing this.

The foods, it's it, you know, you can make things really complicated or you can make them really easy. And that's all. The other thing I love about Chinese medicine, because it has both and the easy part is the color of the earth element is yellow. So most foods that are yellow pulp. The earth element, they nourish your stomach and your spleen, which are the two organs in your body associated, and the meridian pathways, the energetic channels that are associated with the earth element.

So you have stomach and spleen, which are digestive, you know, they're organs that do the digesting and the simulating of the, of the solids in the, you know, they start that process. And Earth loves sweet. But too much sweet damages the earth. So it's like when you're craving some sweet stuff, if you're looking for whole food, sweet cravings, you could do like bananas or something that are yellow, but squash is a really good earth food.

Like summer squash or the delicata squash or something that's yellow. I find sometimes I'm craving curry dishes. And I was like, what is it about curry dishes? And I think really it's my, it helps my digestion personally. It's a, I don't always crave them, but sometimes I'm like, I gotta have it. And I'm like, maybe there's something off with my earth element.

Maybe it needs to be nourished and I just listen to my body, tell me that, and then I eat it and it's so good. And curry is yellow. Tends to be, you know, yellow curry. But even other curries can turn yellow. , so you can kind of break it down in easy ways like that. But things that are easy for your digestion are very good.

Earthy foods, soups and stews are really good for your earth element because they're, the soups are already cooking foods down so they're easier to digest. And again, that makes your earth element happy because it doesn't have to work so hard and it can nourish itself and be in harmony at the same time.

Love this. And you mentioned,  when you have an imbalance and you find that that might be one you crave free more times than any other time. Can you share a little bit about when someone may sense there could be an imbalance and like the, the earth element, what would they experience? 

 I think an easy one is when you're not able to feel in your body there's ways you can pat yourself and get into your body, but but that's a sign that you need to get grounded and that can, that's usually an earth element calling.

Like it's saying, please support me right now. But also an emotion that happens with the earth element is worry. And what do mothers do a lot. We worry about everything because there's so much we're in charge of and we're like, oh, and FA fathers do too. This applies to mothers and fathers. It's just caretaking.

It's caring for, but It's that worry. Worry is natural, but when you worry all the time, your earth element needs a little support. When worry turns into obsession, it, it needs a lot of support or a lot more support. So that's a good sign. If you're worrying a lot about a lot of stuff, your earth element's probably off.

That is great. I have found two. And tell me if this aligns with what you know to be true is. When I get in that mode of I just need to get shit done, and I get in this like really wanting to get things off my list of things to do, and it could even just be like dishes or laundry or running errands or grocery shopping.

And then at work it could be I have to get this email out and I have to do this recording or, and, and I get in that mode. I realize like, I need to slow down. I need to get back. In my body and it for me, that feels like when I have an imbalance in my earth element, does that feel right or am I mixing that with something else?

I think that's exactly right. And I think a lot of, when we were remodeling our house, there were so many decisions to make and I was having, you know, decision fatigue, which we have a lot of, but I was also dreaming of sorting things. It's like Tetris, you know when you play that too much and you start dreaming of blocks and you're trying to.

That's a small intestine. Imbalance cuz small intestine is about choosing, making lots of decisions and that takes away from the earth elements. So when we're doing a lot of those decision makings and checking off our list and trying to accomplish, we're that's a fiery that we're on fire, you know, and we're like, I'm, I'm on fire.

I've gotta get all this stuff done. But then that takes our energy out because fire, the fire element is very young. And earth is, is yin and yang. So it's a nice, it's a harmonious balance, but when we're really young, then we need to embody ourselves and get back to our balanced yin yang instead of, so will you grab your energy back and ground it back into your body?

So yeah, I think that's a great example. Oh, yay. Well, it's kind of by accident or a little bit instinctual. What about You know, I'm thinking for kids and, you know, helping them approach transitions. Is it as obvious as, you know, our daughters are, you know, getting close to graduation and entering into the summer.

So would this be a good time to introduce some like, You know, soups for dinner or you know, maybe a little too soon. But as we get closer to that transition time when like what they know their normal is is going to change and shift, is that a good time to bring it into their lives? Yeah, I think so. I think it's when you mentioned before like toddlers, you know, holding a hand and you know, it's like that they say the umbilical cord is, is getting longer and then the, the kid is like keeps, as a toddler speaking they're running away and then they look back to make sure you're still there.

I think we do that our whole lives long and so our teenage kids are. They might be feeling fine about all the craziness and the transitions, but at some point they're gonna be like, can I just have like a movie night? And like sit down and snuggle? And that's, that's earth, that's, that's re embodying the energy and grounding it and, and finding stability.

Amids the chaos. So sometimes we're good in the chaos and it, and it brings us lots of joy, excitement, and then other times we're like, okay, I need to just. I need just to have a movie night or like a, a soup night at home with some just down home cooking food. You know, something that brings you comfort.

And a lot of us comfort food tends to be sweet foods, and that's the flavor of the earth element. Americans tend to overs sweet things, so then our earth element tends to be really outta whack. And I think that's why we have a lot of obsessions about things and worries. So a lot of our foods have a lot of sugar in them and we tend to want to.

Treat ourselves, or if that's how I am, if I'm stressed and having a hard time, I'm like, let me go get a scone and have like a nice treat. And that's fine. But as a practice, it'll throw off our spleen energy, which is part of that earth element, and it'll give it too much sweet. And then our earth element will go a little crazy in a different way, like obsession and over worrying and not being able to sleep because that, that throws off all the, cuz everything is tied to the other.

So it's like a. It shifts all of our elements in a different way. So we wanna come back and treat that, treat that earth element well and nourish it. And that's why sometimes those sweet vegetables carrots are really good. Earth, vegetable, raw, but cooked carrot, if you're really craving something sweet, you could, you know, put a, in a soup, and it's surprising how sweet those are and how the The earth, the splain and stomach love that, and they, they get nourished by that cause because that's naturally sweet instead of the extra sweet stuff, you know? Right, right. But yeah, I think it's a good time when, when kids are finding that they need a little home time or mom time or couch time or something that is their earth element, asking for some grounding and support.

Okay, the, I am just taking in everything that you've said about the earth element, that's even new to me. And this is like my world. This is like my, my happy place as being, you know, in that earth space. So where could people, Find, you know, more about how to work with our elements, and I think you had said you're forming some sort of workshop, like how could they learn about the other elements and how to weave that into their lives.

There's like a hundred thousand books that they could pick up. But yeah, my, I don't have a website yet, but my Instagram is discovering Hara. No underscores. Just one long word. Discovering hara, and the hara is the Japanese word for your lower Dante, which is your wombs space. It's like where you ground, it's your stomach area.

It's, it's a place where your kids' tummies hurt when they're worried. Or, you know, they eaten something. But a lot of times when we're scared or worried, our tummys hurt. So that's your, that's your center of your being, of your physical being and your emotional being is in your lower Dante or your horror.

So that's where I came up with that. Name a million years ago and I'm finally using it, but discovering Hara on Instagram and it's two words discovering space Hara on Facebook right now. So I'll include it in the show notes too. Okay. So people can go there for my future stuff. But there's so many great books and I'm gonna develop a list of some good starting books for people.

To go to, just to learn some basics about the elements because it really is about self-care and syncing back up with nature in order to take care of ourselves so that we can be who we're meant to be and be, act, feel good in our bodies and in our minds and in our spirits. It's, it's all of those things.

But I didn't mention essential oils and I wanted to give you guys one to use. Because essential oils is a really great way to take you to ground you quickly. And I know a lot of acupuncturists who say that using an essential oil on an acupressure point or an acupuncture point without the needle, just using the oil there can be more potent than using or just as potent or more, more potent, depending on who you're talking to as using the needle.

So, I love having the option of essential oils because it, it really puts self-care in our own hands without having to go out and look for some somebody to do that for us. But I wanted to if, do you mind if I share when, yes. It's very easy because I don't have to point out any points, but. There's a lot of, like, if you think of an essential oil that's grounding, which is more root based, so a lot of them will apply.

And I'm just gonna name a few and I'm gonna tell you what my favorite is at the this moment, but it, it shifts depending on how I'm feeling because I, I'm getting to know essential oils better so it shifts. But nutmeg you could cook with us too, but nutmeg, cardamon. Those essential oils are beautiful for putting right on your womb space, like underneath your belly button where you hold your stomach.

You could just put a drop of one of those oils in, or my favorite right now is Vever, which is a root plant. And it is, it's very grounding, it's very rooty. And you put a drop in your hand and you don't need to dilute it. But if you're putting it in multiple different oils, in multiple places in your body, it's good to dilute. But literally one drop on your palm and you can just put it, rub your hands together, you can smell it, and then you can put it right on your skin, underneath your belly button and hold that space and a little extra.

Tip is if you can, if your shoulder will allow and you take your other hand that you just rubbed with that one drop and put it in the same spot on your lower back, your sacrum, then you're sort of cradling your womb space and you're giving your body that centering nourishing care that it might need emotionally or physically.

The card. Mom and nutmeg are really good for helping with digestion. So those are, those can do a double whammy, but, and the vet ever is super good for grounding, so it brings your energy down and right into that center of yourself. And that's another nice practice just to do. If you're feeling worried a lot, you could hold yourself, cradle your womb space like that just for a little bit and.

Hopefully that's helpful. Yes, I love that. And by the way this is why you should follow Heather on her Instagram because these little tidbits I love when you post those and I've like find myself digging through my oils and having my daughters do. The different techniques that you've offered. So good.

Keep sharing those cuz they are so good. And I I'd like to end my episode by asking a question is what would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to really trust in what my body is telling me to do and follow. Our hands tend to go where our body needs them. And a lot of us don't recognize that. So I feel like I would tell my younger self like, pay attention to what your body is telling you, which is very broad and generic.

That's why I'm trying to think how to better say it. But when we try to remember something, we tend to go like this. And we're holding these two points right here are help with memory. It's like our, our body tends to gravitate towards the energetic helper. That it will help balance it out, balance on e or unstick energy that's stuck in there.

So I think I would just tell my younger self to explore this quicker and earlier in life, but to trust, to trust the body and listen to it and help it, help everything get balanced. Cuz it's all, it's all meant to be as it is. And, and the, the sooner you can find balance, the more peaceful, the more peace you can feel.

Yeah, I love this and I asked this question and just for context is I hope that someday our daughters will find some interest in listening to my podcast and get to the very end to hear these nuggets for them. Nice. And yeah. Yeah. So that's really why I asked that question, which might seem. Out of left field.

And I, and your response is so powerful cuz as you know, Teens look externally for resources and information. To know that their body holds so much wisdom that is perfect for them is just so important for them to hear. So thank you for sharing that and thank you for being here. Thank you so much for asking me.

So fun.

Heather RardenProfile Photo

Heather Rarden

Certified Massage Therapist / Healing Arts Practitioner / Five Element Lifestylist

Heather is a certified Massage Therapist, Energy Bodyworker, Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, and AcuAroma Therapist. She offers a variety of healing modalities to help clients come back home to themselves in Body, Mind, and Spirit so that they can live a vibrant life of harmony and vitality. Mostly, she hopes to awaken the inner wisdom that is the light of life within each of us, so we can feel good these days and offer our own gifts to others with ease. When Heather is not dreaming of all that might be possible, she is mothering her three boys, running the dog, reading a book next to the fire, or endlessly talking with her husband.