Qi, or Chi (pronounced "Chee") is the Chinese word for life energy.
According to Chinese Medicine, Qi is the animating power that flows through all living things. A living being is filled with it. Health implies that the Qi in our body is clear and flowing smoothly, like a stream, not blocked or stagnant.
It is also the life energy that one senses in nature. The earth itself is moving, transforming, breathing and alive with Qi.
Modern Scientists as ancient poets speak the same language when they call the Earth 'Gaia', a living being. When we appreciate the beauty of animals, fish, birds, flowers, trees, mountains, the deep ocean, the floating clouds, we are sensing their Qi and feeling an intuitive unity with them.
Human beings are part of nature and share Qi with the rest of the earth.
(Kenneth S. Cohen, The Way of Qigong)
The Chinese Language consists of pictures and ideograms, rather than letters. The character for the wood element represents a tree:
The vertical line is the backbone of the tree, the trunk and root. The line at the top represents the branches. The horizontal line is the earth, reminding us that much of the tree is below ground.
Like the stages of development from a seed to a fully grown tree, people also begin their life with an internal map or plan as to their capabilites and direction. They strive to become their own form of tree, encountering and overcoming obstacles, with flexibility, intuition and vision reaching for their fullest potential. Like the branches of a tree reaching for the clounds this creates our bridge between heaven and earth.