Dear Five Faces: My close friend and business partner, Abby, has been acting very strange lately. We have a small public relations firm and she’s the organization and power behind it; I’m the enthusiasm and presentation side. I’m pretty sure I’m a Fire and she’s a Wood, and it’s worked out well. The problem is that our business is stalling because Abby hasn’t been very organized or powerful lately. She’s been low-key, reserved, and sort of stuck in the past. When I ask her what’s going on, she just shrugs. I know her only daughter recently moved out of state, but Abby made it through a tough divorce a few years ago, so I can’t imagine the move would be affecting her this way. What can I do? Signed, Losing Steam
Dear Losing Steam: I think what’s happening to Abby is that she’s experiencing a temporary visit to the realm of Metal. When you describe Abby’s behavior as low-key, reserved, and stuck in the past, you are describing characteristics of an out of balance Metal. It’s completely possible that the grief Abby is feeling at losing her daughter’s presence on a day-to-day basis could easily put her into a Metal place. A divorce, especially if contentious, would bring out her Wood if she felt the need to fight for what was fair. But losing a daughter, even just to an out-of-state move, could well bring on grief.
There are several ways you can help Abby. First, you might help her process the loss she’s feeling by being available to her as her friend. You can ask her how she feels about the daughter’s move and how soon she’s planning to go visit. Woods look to the future, while Metals look to the past. You can help Abby move out of this Metal place and back into her Wood by encouraging her to plan a trip to see her daughter, which will emphasize what Abby can look forward to, not what she has loss.
Another way to help Abby get back into her Wood is to bring on your Fire. Abby could be stuck in a self-limiting loop where her temporary Metal is controlling her primary Wood. If this is the case, until her Metal eases up, it will be hard for her to find her Wood. But as a Fire, you can melt that Metal a bit and help loosen its grip on her Wood. Invite her out for activities that you know she finds fun. Help her laugh. Encourage her on projects where you know she’s passionate. All of this will help tone down the Metal place she’s in and rev up her Wood. But take it easy on the Fire – remember that Fire burns Wood for fuel!
Finally, if it’s possible for you to offer Abby a philosophic perspective on her daughter’s move without sounding dismissive, that will help, too. Water is very philosophic, and it feeds Wood. Art and creativity, as well as inspiration, also sit in Water, so anything you can do that’s Watery will help encourage Abby’s Wood. But again, be careful not to overdo it with the Water. Too much Water rots Wood.
Bottom line, if you approach Abby as a loving friend, it is very likely that you will be able to help ease her Metal grief and dry the tears of her Wood. Good luck!