my Heart’s blood is red
it makes me know Fire
tho your body’s an ocean
the flames grow higher

I once dated someone who I very quickly fell madly in love with. We met in the summer, which in Chinese medicine is the season of Fire and of the Heart, and the attraction was instant. The first time we kissed (in an elevator, on our first date) I nearly fainted. We laughed, and talked, and shared our dreams, and told each other stories, told each other all the worst things we’d ever done. The sex was incredible, so hot, so nourishing. Wherever he touched me I could feel Fire under my skin. He would hold me all night after falling asleep plotting to run away together. And then suddenly one day, after about a month of this, he announced that he didn’t want to get too attached to me, and that, in order to make sure that wouldn’t happen, he had spent the past week sleeping with all of the side pieces he had been fucking before we met. And it got worse. One of them was coming over later that evening, so could I leave? As I drove myself home, my playlist shuffled onto the Zebra Katz song 1 Bad Bitch, the lyrics of which go, ‘Eeny-meeny-miney-mo, too many bitches, one got to go,’ which grimly cheered me up. Like, a lot.

But needless to say, I was crushed, bewildered, outraged, and heartbroken. Of course I was. And how did I respond? Well, you reply, like any self-respecting woman of the 21st Century, you pampered yourself, put on a fabulous outfit, went and found someone else to sleep with, and moved the fuck on. Right? Yeah, no, I didn’t do that.

I shut my heart down long enough to delete his number. But then my heart overtook me, and thundered in my chest, and told me I had to see him. I told it no fucking way. I told it that no self-respecting woman of the 21st century etc. But it wouldn’t leave me alone. I ended up HACKING MY OWN PHONE to get his number back, and it all started again. We dated for a few more months, never again like it was at the beginning, each date marked by some new and specific cruelty or disrespect on his part. Until he moved away, and then I moved away, and thank you GOD, because thousands of miles was the only thing that could keep me away from him.

In short, I got obsessed. And believe me, I KNOW how disgusting his behavior was. I KNOW how furious I would be if someone ever dared to treat one of my friends like that. But I did it anyway. I got obsessed.

Has this ever happened to you? You date someone for a few weeks, months, and it’s all going beautifully, and then suddenly they disappear, or they do something really unkind, or just start acting like you’re not a priority anymore? Like you’re nothing special? And instead of walking away, you just want them even more? And you can’t figure out why? I mean, there are obviously plenty of Freudian reasons why, but this is the 21st Century, so we need to go back to the ancients if we want a useful answer. Well, I finally found one. Thank you, Chinese medicine. It’s all about Fire.

Fire energy belongs to the Heart, also called the Emperor because it calls All the Shots. It is love, it is passion, it is connection and communion with others. (“The Tongue is the sprout of the Heart.“) It also houses our Spirit, or shen, which commands our body’s every action. The Heart will always try to lead us towards what it wants, and what it wants will depend on whether it is in balance or not. A healthy Heart and healthy Fire energy knows its own power, but wants to use it in a humble way, to bring people together, to bring joy, connection, honour, and respect. An imbalanced Fire energy creates anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and can lead to a loss of motivation. And guess what else? Obsession.

Obsession is an imbalanced expression of Fire’s passion. When we come from balanced Fire energy and open our Hearts to another person, if they meet us on this level we get the positive outcomes of honour, respect, and love. If the other person does not meet us where we’re at, or worse, meets our healthy Fire with dishonour and disrespect, it throws our Fire energy out of balance, and we get the opposite result. OBSESSION. A Fire that can’t be quenched by anything except honour and respect, which we end up looking for in a place where it can never be found, and which is only fed by their absence.

There is also, in this theory, a key to unlock yourself from the personal prison of obsession, which is to consciously give yourself the honour and respect your Heart is craving. A really quick and easy way to do this is with simple, repeated affirmations. “I respect myself. I honour myself.” When you are stuck in a pattern of obsession, repeating these affirmations will get you through the most painful moments. And you can say these things to yourself whether you believe them or not. The words still have their resonance, and that resonance is cumulative, and it will build. If you can support them with actions, even better. Do things that make you feel good, reach out to your loved ones for support, dance, go for walks, put your face into roses.

It’s so important to treat our lovers respectfully, to honour them, and to engage in romantic adventures with the awareness of what it means to have a healthy Fire energy and a healthy Heart. Not just because it creates so much suffering when that doesn’t happen, but because of how positive and powerful it is when it does. A Heart sustained by honour is free, and its power is fierce, generous, and infectious. It lifts us up and it lifts others around us. And we NEED that, now more than we ever did, and we always did.



Next up if you wanna stay tuned: TANTRA AND SHAME

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