Dear Vicki: I enjoy your blog and know it’s supposed to be about relationships with other people, but I’m wondering if we can use knowledge of the five elements to help get along better with ourselves. At times I actually feel like two different people. I work in a deadline-driven industry, so I’m usually focused on addressing the tasks at hand for the day. It matters to me to be seen as someone who can make things happen and succeed. But every now and then when I notice someone who needs help, I want to reach out and connect with them, but the voice in my head tells me I have too much to do and should mind my own business. The end result is that I pass by the opportunity to express the compassion I feel, and it makes me sad. Is there something I can do to change this? Signed, Too Efficient
Dear Too Efficient: Your question is a beautiful illustration of the fact that our personal elements can and do become out of balance in relationship to each other. As I’ve said before, we each have all five elements in our personality make-up, it’s just that one or two are the most prominent, so create the personality we manifest to the world. And even thought our primary element determines how we see things, it shouldn’t interfere with our ability to express the totality of who we are. When that happens, it can indicate that something is out of balance in the way our personal five elements are relating and interacting with each other.
In your case, it sounds like you have a primary Wood personality; Wood people do want to be seen as someone who can make things happen and succeed. This is very important to them. Earth people, on the other hand, love to connect with and help people, so it’s likely you have Earth as your secondary element. And the fact that you are unable to express your Earth energies the way you’d like to suggests that you are manifesting too little Earth. That is often referred to as deficient Earth.
There could be many reasons for this, but given that you have a primary Wood personality which relates to your secondary Earth via the Controlling Cycle in the model, I think it’s safe to say that your Wood is over-controlling your Earth at an emotional level. Your letter didn’t mention if you’ve been more angry or impatient than usual lately, but these would be additional clues that you have too much Wood energy at the moment and it’s affecting your ability to express your Earth.
Similar to a relationship with another person, being aware of the internal problem is the first step toward solving it. If you are feeling more angry or impatient lately, work on relaxing and letting go of the stress. The goal is to keep yourself functioning as a successful Wood person, but as flexible “willowy” wood rather than overly rigid or fixed wood. Remember, out of balance Wood people will always focus on the urgent over the important. A perceived deadline can seem urgent in the moment, but long-term, helping others is almost always more important. Wood people usually need to stay alert to avoid slipping into this pattern.
For your current problem, in addition to de-stressing, you can try many of the ways we have mentioned previously in this blog to help balance Wood energy. These include using peppermint or lavender essential oils, drinking dandelion or milk thistle teas, placing more green plants in your environment, wearing more white (a color that helps decrease Wood energy), and drinking lots of lemon water (sour tastes like lemon help to balance Wood energy).
Finally, part of your issue is the need to create harmony between your Wood and Earth personalities. A quick way to do this is to hold specific places on your face that balance the emotional energies of these two elements. By holding both Wood and Earth points at the same time, you not only balance them individually, you also harmonize them to each other. The points you want to hold are: 1) the outside corners of each eye, and 2) right below the center of each eye near the top of the check bone. Gently touch all four places at once (two points around each eye) using your fingers, and hold them for two or three minutes. You may find this most comfortable to do by resting your elbows on a table or desk.
Do this exercise twice a day for a few weeks – as well as trying the suggestions above for managing Wood energy – and I suspect you will find that you are better able to express your Earth and Wood personalities together in a beautifully balanced way. Blessings to you!