Dear Vicki: I know these are difficult times for many people, but the chaos became personal for me last month when the art gallery where I’ve worked for 20 years was sold. The previous owner was a kind, gentle soul who ran a gallery that allowed the joy of discovering art to steal over his patrons in a quiet way. But he retired and the new owner, Mr. Cardon, is a bombastic man who thinks he needs to hit people over the head with ads, promotions, and events to increase attendance at the gallery. And honestly, maybe he’s right; I have no idea if the gallery was making money before or not. But for me, it was a sweet place to work, and now it’s not. The chaos Mr. Cardon creates on a daily basis terrifies me and makes me want to quit. What can I do? Oh, if it helps, I’m pretty sure I’m a Water/Earth. Signed: Terrified in Tennessee
Dear Terrified: It’s always difficult where there’s a change in leadership, whether at a personal or national level. We tend to appreciate reliability and steadiness, and by definition, change will disrupt this. Your situation at work is an excellent example. The previous owner was someone you enjoyed working with, someone who created an environment that pleased you and made you happy. As a Water/Earth, quiet and comfortable will be very important to you. Water carries full yin energy, an energy of withdrawal, peace, and silence. Earth is about comfort and long-term connections. You clearly found a perfect job at the gallery and it sounds like you had 20 years of happiness there. But now that’s changed.
The new owner, Mr. Cardon, sounds like a Wood. Remember that Woods like personal accomplishment. Quietness and sameness usually aren’t appreciated by Woods; they enjoy shaking things up to make their mark. The good news is that Woods are usually excellent planners, so there should be some degree of reasoning behind what Mr. Cardon is doing. The best you can hope for is that he is a balanced Wood who has a reasonable plan for the gallery. This would mean that the chaos you’re experiencing will eventually subside into a more stable routine of events that he deems effective. The worst-case scenario is that he isn’t a balanced Wood and life at the gallery will be forever changed while he owns it. Either way, you have options for making this time of transition easier for you.
First, remember that as a Water/Earth, you relate to Mr. Cardon on both the Control Cycle (Wood controls Earth) and the Nurturing Cycle (Water feeds Wood). Unfortunately, neither of these will be particularly pleasant for you right now. For your Earth, the disruptions to long-standing connections and stability that his new policies are creating have literally caused an earthquake in your world. The balance you were used is gone. However, your Earth can rise to the occasion and eventually settle into new patterns once you’re clear what they are. Earths are good that way – they like to help people and be of value. The bigger problem for you is going to be your Water.
For your Water, his barrage of activities has disrupted the peacefulness you cherished at the gallery. These activities also demanded more of you, and I think that’s where your primary Water is in trouble. On the Nurturing Cycle, it is your Water that feds his Wood, so this past month of “ads, promotions, and events” has depleted your Water. Think of what happens when a puddle of water is spread too thin. It evaporates. When a Water person is spread too thin, they can easily go into a state of deficient Water. And a clear indication that this has happened for you is your fear. Water is where hope and optimism sit. In the Water element, too little hope allows fear to creep in.
But there is hope, and that’s the first thing you need to embrace. The best way to do that is to build your Water back. Surround yourself with the color blue, wear lapis or aquamarine jewelry, put a portable fountain on your desk, drink ginseng tea, up your intake of salt a little (this can strengthen deficient Water), and increase the amount of water you drink. Once your Water is revitalized, things won’t look as hopeless as they do now.
Next, remember that Mr. Cardon’s Wood needs Water. He needs you! Try offering your Water in ways that work for you. Not jumping when he says jump, but making creative suggestions or offering imaginative ideas. Woods thrive on manifesting things, but often this is based on the ideas of others. See if you can create more of a team approach with him so that you have input into the direction the gallery takes. Hopefully, your new boss is the kind of Wood who will welcome creative input.
And if he isn’t, remember that the power of your full yin Water is in numbers. One drop of water isn’t much of a force, but a tidal wave certainly is. If there are other employees at the gallery, you might see if they feel the same way you do. If so, perhaps you can all speak to Mr. Cardon together. He should be receptive – one can’t run a gallery without employees. And if he isn’t receptive, if he really is that out of balance, then you might need to face the reality that it’s time for you to flow to a new job and leave him behind. Blessings to you!