Elemental Creativity: Embodying the Elements Through Art, Movement, and Meditation, GGF 11/29 - 12/3 (Commuter Only)

Practice Center
Date / Time
Nov 29, 2023 / 4:00pm - Dec 3, 2023 / 1:00pm
Event Type
Workshops and Retreats

Wednesday, 4 pm – Sunday, 1 pm, in the Yurt

Experience how the Five Elements of East Asian Medicine manifest within and around you through art, movement, and meditation.

Play with your body wisdom, guided by the elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Deepen your understanding of the principles of mindfulness and apply them—through the lens of the Elements—to channel your creativity.

Align with your innate gifts to fulfill your highest potential, and have fun doing it!

All this in the remarkable natural beauty of Green Gulch Farm.

You’ll walk away with:

  • a deeper, more personal understanding of the Five Elements
  • a solid experience of mindfulness meditation in a Zen context
  • a collection of drawings, paintings, and ephemeral art that you created
  • a wealth of inspiration for your creative practice and techniques you can continue to practice at home

This is a welcoming introductory course particularly suited for newcomers to Chinese medicine, Zen Buddhism, and artmaking. That said, it will also offer experienced practitioners the opportunity to deepen their practice.

During our time together in the valley, we will explore the Five Elements:

  • WATER | Fear & wisdom | trace the breath with graphite & improvise color field painting
  • WOOD | Anger & compassion | trace sensations with colored pencils & draw with scissors
  • FIRE | Joy & propriety | channel emotion into gesture with crayons and markers
  • EARTH | Worry & trust | calm the mind with pattern-based mark-making with pens
  • METAL | Grief & equity | earth altars

We’ll begin with an overview of the Five Elements, then focus on one Element each session. With each Element, we will:

  • Move — practice yoga asana and intuitive movement to experience the phases by aligning body, breath, and Spirit.
  • Create — explore abstract drawing & art making, journaling, and other expressive arts to integrate our understanding.
  • Connect — identify the Five Elements within ourselves and in nature to welcome direct insights from the Elements in the natural splendor of Green Gulch.
  • Contemplate — practice Zazen and explore Soto Zen Buddhism's perspective on the themes presented by the Elements in daily Dharma talks and discussions

As the world shifts and shapes us, we can choose how we dance with our inherent gifts and challenges. Observe the Five Elements within and around you to honor your limits, embody your highest potential, and transform your creative blocks into portals for expression.

Retreat Schedule

Each day of the retreat will include:

  • Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • Movement practices (led by Jiling)
  • Contemplative art practices (led by Suiko)
  • An introduction to each East Asian Element (by Jiling)
  • A Dharma talk (by Fu)

Materials list: Please bring a multimedia sketch book and a journal and pen.

Material fee of $30 covers the cost of art supplies provided by the teachers and you are encouraged to bring additional supplies as you desire.

Fee Information

NOTE: The workshop fee does not include overnight accommodations.

  • General $361
  • Current SFZC Members $306

Before registering, please review the Health and Safety Requirements.


Or call 415-865-1899.

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