Dear Vicki: My partner Jillie and I have been together for eight years and have lived together for the past five years. This summer, our house was damaged beyond repair in a storm, so we have moved into an apartment with the small amount of our household goods that were salvageable. The holidays are coming and I know it’s going to be a very different year, but my usual optimism is failing me. I used to love decorating and hosting family and friends, but this year I just want to ignore the whole season. Jillie is a Metal/Earth and has been clear she’d like to have some kind of festivities. I’m a Wood/Earth, so should want that, too, but I’m just not feeling it. All I feel is exhausted, not particularly supported by Jillie, and a complete lack of enthusiasm for the whole season. What can I do? Signed: Sad in the South
Dear Sad: I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s always difficult to move forward after a tragedy, and the holidays can be an especially challenging time to do this. The memories of what has been lost can haunt us like Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Past, making current holidays hard to imagine. This will be especially hard for you and Jillie because you both have a good amount of Earth, which is where home and family sit. What Jillie has going for is her Metal energy which makes it possible for her to detach from expectations regarding the holidays. Sadly, it isn’t going to be as easy for you. Expectations sit smack dab in Wood and I think it’s your Wood that’s a major factor in how you feel.
You and Jillie have faced a significant loss together and even though you both have a lot of Earth, how you process that loss and move forward will be very different. Jillie’s Earth is a secondary to her Metal and relates to it on the Nurturing Cycle. So even though she was probably just as devastated as you were by the loss, her Earth fed her Metal and made it easier for her to let go of things. This heightened Metal would also long for a traditional acknowledgement of the holiday season since traditions matter to Metals. You, on the other hand, also have Earth as your secondary, but your primary element is Wood. These two elements relate on the Controlling Cycle. In the face of the loss, your Wood probably rose up to manage the chaos and in the process took down some of your Earth energy. Less Earth energy for you means less connection to Earthy things like holidays.
Also, if you had excess Wood energy in the aftermath of the storm, it is very possible that Jillie’s Metal felt a need to help control that for you since Metal and Wood relate on the Controlling Cycle. If a Metal spends time with too much Wood, it’s a natural and automatic response to step up and prune the Wood. What this means is that, as the holidays approach, you probably have both depleted Earth and Wood energy. This would account for your lack of interest in the holidays and the motive power to make them happen. The good news is that with less Wood energy, your Earth energy will build back in, but there’s no guarantee that will happen as quickly as you might want. At least not without help.
The fact that you and Jillie have been together for eight years suggests that you have mastered the Controlling Cycle dance between your Metal and Wood element, most likely by staying in your Earth elements with each other. Given all that you have been through and the energy dynamics at play, both of you will probably benefit greatly from a focus on building your Earth energy back up. You can start by spending time attending to your new home. You don’t have to do a lot of decorating if you don’t have the energy – remember it’s not about expectations – but do create as cozy a place for yourselves as you can. This feeds Earth. Reach out to family and friends. They probably would love to help but aren’t sure exactly what you need. These close connections also feed Earth. If necessary, you can gift each other with tiger’s eye or citrine jewelry to wear, which also helps balance Earth. And if the weather allows, take walks together and do other enjoyable activities outside. Time in nature really helps Earth energy, too.
However you can, please make sure that you and Jillie spend quiet, nurturing time together. You are probably both still healing from the shock of the loss and this type of healing takes time. If you and Jillie can let go of the past and expectations around the future, a new version of the holidays will likely emerge on its own this year. And who knows? You may find that you create new “traditions” that will mean so much you will want to carry them forward into the coming years. Many blessings to you both!