Dear Vicki: I am a primary Water, secondary Wood having relationship troubles the world. Everything feels so harsh out there and getting worse. Everywhere I go I encounter people who are aggressive, bullying, and/or controlling. It must be me attracting them, right? But why? The world is meant to be easy going, peaceful, loving, and full of people pulling together. That’s what all the elements want, isn’t it? But that sure isn’t happening. My Water would like to hide under the covers and never come out, but my Wood says that won’t get me anywhere. What is out of balance? Can I change the world around me? Signed: Mrs. Worn Down and Exhausted
Dear Mrs. Worn Down: I love your statement that the Five Elements model wants everyone to pull together and get along. That is wonderful, and true! But pulling together and getting along might not always look easy going, peaceful, and loving to everyone. It depends on the elemental filters through which we view the actions of others. In fact, what looks to you like aggression or bullying might be seen as an act of “tough love” to someone else. And what seems easy going and peaceful to you might seem controlling to someone else. It all depends on our elemental wiring and the wiring of the people with whom we relate. Remember that within the Five Elements model there are three possible kinds of relationships. We can relate via the Nurturing Cycle, via the Controlling Cycle, or with someone who is the same element as we are.
Nurturing Cycle relationships often do feel nurturing, as well as easy going, peaceful, and loving. On the other hand, Controlling Cycle relationships usually won’t feel that way, even thought there’s just as much love in these relationships. Controlling Cycle love often looks and feels more like tough love. As the name implies, these relationships can feel controlling, with some aggression and even bullying thrown in. What it feels like relating to someone who is the same primary element will depend on what element both people have as their primary. Relationships between two Earths will be very different from relationships between two Woods or two Fires. The kind of relationship we are in will affect how we perceive everything.
In general, actions that seem aggressive, controlling, or bullying are usually ascribed to out of balance Woods or Metals. It’s possible that you’re currently surrounded by more rules and regulations than your “go with the flow” Water likes. The constriction of too much structure can make a Water want to hide under the covers. But if your secondary Wood is strong, your Water should be used to structure. Wood is the second most structured element there is. The most structured is Metal. Metals love rules and regulations, and each of the other four elements has their own response to too much of this. But the element most affected by too much Metal structure is Wood because it’s Metal’s job to keep Wood in check via the Controlling Cycle. And there isn’t a Wood on the planet that likes being controlled.
Because of this, Woods are the ones most likely to see too much Metal energy as aggressive, controlling, and bullying. They are also likely to respond to this sense of being controlled by increasing their Wood to stand “against” the Metal actions controlling them, be that regulations, a demand for propriety, or even just a suggestion of the “right” way to do something that undermines the Wood desire for unimpeded movement. Standing against Metal for too long can definitely cause a Wood to feel worn down and exhausted, so you feeling this way is understandable. But usually, they talk themselves back into the fight.
To answer your last two questions, your Wood may well be out of balance, but I also think it’s your Earth. Desiring a world that is “easy going, peaceful, loving, and full of people pulling together” is very Earth. Usually, Earth energy sees the best in everyone, but I suspect that your Wood has over-controlled your Earth to the point that it’s not only unable to see the good in people, it’s also unable to feel compassion and charity for others. This is the perspective that I think you are missing these days, and it can be brought back by building your Earth. If you can, try getting out in nature more, but avoid cool dampness; this isn’t good for Earths. Time spent by a cheery fire is excellent for Earth because Fire feeds Earth. Wear tiger’s eye or citrine jewelry, making sure that the stone touches your skin. Drink lemon balm tea. Surround yourself with Earth’s colors (yellow, orange, brown). Finally, several times a day gently place your thumbs on your cheekbones directly below your eyes and rest your fingers across your forehead. Relax and hold this position for 2 to 5 minutes. This will bring Earth energy back to balance in no time.
Finally, you ask if you can you change the world. Yes, you can! We all can. And we must start by changing ourselves. Bless you for your desire to make this world a better place. May we all follow your lead.