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Rekindling Joy

Occupational Therapist Chronic Pain and Mental Health, O’Connor (Fremantle area)

Rekindling joy when one’s fire has gone out : Depression

Depression sits at the opposite end of joy but both resonate within the element of fire.

It may seem odd to write about depression at this time of year when tidings of joy, peace and love are in abundance. But the festive season can bring with it the darkness of depression.

According to Five Element Acupressure, the emotion of fire is joy. When our fire element is in balance we feel contentment, happiness, love and are socially confident. Like a fire we naturally draw people toward us, enjoying the feeling of heartfelt connection. But when out of balance, we can become hyperexcited, compulsive and unpredictable (like a fire out of control) or depressed, flat and inert (like a fire gone out and turned to ash).

“True joy arises when we are open to all of our experience.” John Kirkwood

What is the point of life?

In seeking meaning to our existence we form dreams and goals; we have a desire to change ourselves and our life circumstances. With this we naturally form attachment to an outcome. So when we do not achieve or realize the intentions we have set – we experience loss.

This dichotomy of gain and loss creates tension.

Non-attachment to an outcome then becomes the first point of life, but also poses an oxymoron in how to live with purpose – as it is in living to our fullest potential that gives us value and worth.

Loss is experienced from the moment we are born. every aspect of life is also about loss. This is the great integrity at play with it’s opposing but interdependent energies that animate and enliven our existence.

We have loss of roles, objects and health. We experience loss of trust, hope, dignity and agency. We have loss of friends and loved ones by death or separation.

Despite loss, happiness can shine through.

Lighting the Inner Spark

Life has a way reminding us of the duality within. But these moments of happiness can only occur when there is relation to another. A connection to a person, an object, nature, an experience or faith.

It is in this connection that we find meaning. And this connection is formed from the spark of fire within us.

That spark may be a gesture of kindness, a gentle movement towards enlightening the soul. The spark may be a softening or a slight letting go on the grip that holds one in the depths of depression.

A mindful breath out, a soft touch on the forearm, an inkling of relaxation or the sensation of sand in the toes. No matter how small these acts of connection to ‘other’ may seem, they are enough to spark the kindling of your inner fire.

Only by reaching out – does it make it possible to find an other. Whatever that ‘other’ is for you.

From this spark you can takes small steps toward connecting, having meaningful experiences and knowing your purpose for living.

Occupational Therapy, Naturopathy and Acupressure for Depression

There are many challenges people face when depressed. One of the most important things for me is to regain meaning and purpose in life. Some of the ways we do this is through

Occupational Therapy

  • embracing the power of occupation

  • building self awareness and/or self acceptance

  • managing mood and combatting the inner critic

Five element acupressure

  • building Essence

  • learning how to apply self acupressure

  • working with psycho-emotional and spiritual meridian pathways


  • nourishing the body with healthy eating

  • herbal medicines for depression

  • tapping into natural healing mechanisms in the environment (sunshine, exercise and breathing are all very evidenced based therapies)

Finally rekindling joy is about tapping into the spirit of fire or Shen. Shen can be seen in a persons eye’s, it is the inner radiance, the connection that shines from within and speaks of there uniqueness It is the collective energy of a persons thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions and cognition. In this sense the heart and mind cannot be separated and so it is often called the heartmind.

. A persons shen is what makes them like no other.

It only takes a spark to rekindle the fire within.

Written by Sasha Wray
Principal Occupational Therapist, Naturopath and Five Element Acupressure Practitioner
Chronic Pain and Mental Heath Occupational Therapist, O’Connor (Fremantle area)

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