The Power of Power

Dear Readers:

Power has been a hot topic in our world lately. Who has it? Who abuses it? Can it transfer? Does it go away? Is it good? Is it bad? And really, what does it mean? A quick answer to that last question can be found in Webster’s dictionary where, as a noun, the definitions of power include (but are not limited to):

  • The ability to act or produce an effect
  • The possession of control, authority, or influence over others
  • Physical might

It won’t surprise you to know that in the world of the Five Elements personalities, I view power somewhat differently. To me, an elemental personality’s power is the core of what they contribute to the various “wholes” of which they are a part. That whole can be a family, a workplace, a community, a country, or even just the whole of their expression as a person. Further, I believe that within each power sits a gift that each specific elemental personality automatically offers when needed. 

To honor the ongoing discussion of power these days, I would like to review my perception of the powers and gifts each elemental personality possesses. And remember, since we all have all of the elemental personalities in our energetic make-up, technically we all have access to each of these powers and gifts every day. That, in itself, should help you feel powerful!

Continue reading

Resolving to Change

Dear Readers,

Welcome to 2021! Here in the United States, it’s certainly starting out with a bang (not necessarily in a good way). It’s been said that it’s hard to change what you don’t know needs changing, so I look at the start of 2021 as offering a pretty clear message that some change might be a good thing. But how does one go about ushering in change? Honestly, I think we begin with ourselves. And when we do, that change will not only reflect out to the collective, it can also guide us in ways that allow us to support the collective if further changes are needed. 

But what do we change? At a personal level, I believe we are the only ones who truly know what we may want (or need) to change about ourselves and our circumstances. There are a variety of ways we can ascertain what we might want to change, and for those of you who know me, it won’t surprise you to hear that I think a great tool to do this is the Five Elements model. The ancient Chinese used the Five Elements model to break down any singular whole into five pieces that could be studied and understood as aspects of the whole. But the brilliance of the model they created is that it works for any whole: a country, a year of seasons, a lifetime, and yes, an individual person. 

This last point is true because we all have all five of the elemental personalities in our energetic make-up. That means that if we want to take the time to review this past year from a perspective of what worked for us (and what didn’t), the Five Elements model can be useful tool.  Basically, we would be exploring which elemental expressions of ourselves we think we nailed this past year, and what aspects we’d like to improve on or resolve to change. Does that mean I’m recommending New Year’s resolutions? Maybe. In truth, New Year’s resolutions are just a fancy way of formalizing desired changes for the coming year. And each of the elemental personalities can and does connect with the idea of a fresh start in their own unique way. But whether you resolve to change in a formal way or not, the idea that each of us can help the world by improving ourselves is important. 

Continue reading

Wood Unhinged

Dear Readers,

For years, this blog has used the Five Elements model from Chinese medicine to discuss the five basic elemental personalities: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. We’ve covered issues like the strengths and weaknesses of each elemental personality, as well as the important understanding of how they relate to each other. At times, we’ve even dipped into how they relate to themselves. However, one issue we have never covered is what happens to an elemental personality when some form of mental illness is present. Recent events suggest this might be a reasonable time to cover this topic, especially as it relates to the primary Wood personality.

Wood people focus on the future and are excellent planners. Their greatest strength is that they can envision their goals and plot exactly what it takes to accomplish them. They firmly believe that if they try hard enough, they can manifest anything. Powerful and decisive, the primary Wood personality counts on their ability to get things done in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and will use their abundant energy to remove obstacles that block the way. It is the nature of their personality to be strong, direct, and assertive (hopefully in a kind way). 

If action and accomplishment are the greatest strengths of Wood people, their greatest weakness is a potentially dysfunctional – and often explosive – response to lack of movement toward accomplishing what they want. When things aren’t happening fast enough, or at all, Wood personalities have nowhere to focus their formidable energy. They’ll push and exhaust themselves in the name of the goal and ultimately lose their ability to be flexible and adaptable. In the process they can become impatient, angry, and often quite mean. However, since self-preservation (and saving face) is very important for a Wood person, they are usually able to pull themselves back from the point of no return, dust themselves off, and try again (often with a different approach).

That said, a mentally unstable Wood personality will frequently become so obsessed with what matters to them (things like success, status, being important, and winning) that they lose the ability to self-moderate their behavior. Whatever their primary goal is at the moment takes on an almost mythic “life or death” urgency such that they will stop at very little to get what they want. The concept that the ends can justify the means is a Wood energy idea, and an unbalanced Wood will see nothing wrong in doing whatever they believe needs to be done to accomplish their goal. 

Continue reading

A Five Elements Blessing for the New Year

Dear Readers: Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support of this blog. I deeply appreciate your letters and comments (and shares), as well as the opportunity to explore with you the wisdom embodied in the Five Elements model. This deceptively simple model not only provides a window into the workings of the universe, it also helps us better understand ourselves, the people in our lives, and our relationships. 

As we say a ready goodbye to 2020, I once again offer you The Five Elements Blessing. As I have mentioned in this blog many times, while we may each reflect a dominant elemental personality, we do have all five of the elements in our makeup. That means that the gifts of each element are ours to access as we need. May we honor these gifts equally in ourselves and others during 2021. 

The Five Elements Blessing

I wish you the hope and optimism of Water:

May you always embody trust.

I wish you the success and productivity of Wood:

May your accomplishments foster peace.

I wish you the joy and celebration of Fire:

May you be a source of inspiration to others.

I wish you the caring and connection of Earth:

May you offer compassion to those in need.

I wish you the knowledge and understanding of Metal:

May you provide wisdom to us all.

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2021 a year of healing at every level, solid relationships, and everlasting kindness.


A Brief Christmas Reminder: It’s Really About the Whole

The Five Elements model depicts a whole made up of five distinctive parts: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. In discussing the model, we usually focus on the unique attributes of each part and how they interact with each other. Water feeds Wood, Wood controls Earth, Earth feeds Metal, Fire melts Metal, etc.

But during this holiday season, I would like to remind us that at its core, the Five Elements model really illuminates how five unique parts contribute to the balance and survival of the whole. And that means any whole.

As we have said here many times, we all have all of the Five Elemental Personalities in our energetic make up and we constantly draw on them to help keep the whole that we are safe and balanced.

In turn, we are each part of other wholes, such as families, communities, cities, states, countries, and even a beautiful planet, and we bring our individual energies to that whole to help keep it safe and balanced. In truth, the Five Elements model is really about the health and well being of the whole, not the individual parts. And I think it is important to remember that.

This Christmas, may your Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal energies work together to support you as an individual and bring you joy and happiness.

And may each of us bring our individual and combined energies to each connection that we have to help heal the lives that have been torn apart this year and bring desperately needed love, peace, and joy to every corner of our planet.

Merry Christmas to All!

Love, Vicki