Path of 4 elements

General Aim

To connect individually to the four basic elements of nature and to the emotions resulting from them.

Learning goals

– inducing the ability to calm down and to be quiet
– connecting with deeper emotions
– noticing the order and wisdom of nature

Short description/background/Introduction/Tips for the trainer

The exercise can be implemented in several ways. However, it is important to take some conditions into account:
1. Participants should walk through each station alone
2. Before the trail, the facilitator can explain the exercise, asking everyone to sit in a circle, listening to soothing music, possibly supplemented with an art activity (painting, coloring, drawing).
3. Participants start individually on the path from the big circle and they return there.
4. While one person is at the station, the other members of the group can receive a short thought-provoking, inspiring text every few minutes in addition to the music.
5. When the participants return to the group, the facilitator can ask them to write a short sentence or poem about the experience they had.
The success of the exercise depends on the openness of the participants, so the trainer must strive to create this safe space for the group.

Target

14-80

Suggested group

maximum 15 people

Materials

– seeds, little flower pot (or old cups/mugs)
– bowl (with water), paper flower
– Paper, pens, colours
– candles
– paper pinwheels, pencils.

Duration

1 hour (it depends on the group size
approx. 2 minutes/ 1 station (the trainer must send the participants to the station every 2 minutes)

Procedure/steps

The path of the four elements is composed as follows: the group members start from a common circle, the exercise begins with tuning in and introduction. The order of departure can be decided by the group members themselves. The first person can start immediately after the introduction, the next one after 2 minutes (and so on for all members). Selected relaxing music is played during the exercise.
Station 1: The earth element: at this station, participants find seeds to plant in small flower pots. Meanwhile, they think of a new thing that is beginning in their lives, which needs to be cared for and planted in good soil so that it can bear fruit. They observe their surroundings and direct their attention to the presence of the earth element, where they see it, how they perceive it.
Station 2: The element of water: at this station, participants find a template of paper flowers to place in a large bowl of water. They write on a paper a word which represents something they are grateful for. Then, they put the paper in the bowl. At the same time, they think about an aspect of their lives that can be considered a gift, something that brings them joy and positive feelings. They observe their surroundings and direct their attention to the presence of the water element, where they see it, how it is perceived.
Station 3: The element of fire: at this station, participants will find candlesticks, which symbolize the element of fire. They light a candle for themselves as they reflect on what is the thing in their life that most fires and motivates them, that sets their life in motion, that fills them with pride. On a sticky note they write the biggest thing or problem they were proud to solve. They burn the paper and watch the problem fade away. They observe their surroundings and direct their attention to the presence of the fire element, where they see it and how it is perceived.
Station 4: The element of air: at this station, participants will find papers to make pinwheels that symbolize the element of air. They make their own pinwheels, while thinking about what is the thing in their life that floats in front of their eyes as a goal, which can be forward-looking and uplifting for them. They write a word on each of the 4 branches of the pinwheel. The four words represent 4 important goals. Then, they assemble the paper pinwheel and blow it after taking a deep breath, blowing into it their desire for the written goals. They observe their surroundings and direct their attention to the presence of the air element, where they see it, how they perceive it.
After the course, the participants return to the circle, where they write a poem about their experiences, or relax and process their experiences independently.

Evaluation/Final debriefing

At the end of the path, the following questions may be asked of the group during the evaluation time.
– what are your feelings now?
– what did you get from this experience?
– which element is closest to you?
– which element do you want to improve your relationship with?