Cancelling the Holidays During a Pandemic

Dear Vicki: I live in a state experiencing high Covid-19 numbers and we’ve all been told we should cancel Thanksgiving, and maybe even Christmas. I’m devastated! No family gatherings? No grandchildren? No best friends? Not even any neighbors? Just me and my husband? Why bother with a turkey or baking pies? I’m so depressed; we probably won’t have anything at like the normal holiday season I look forward to every year. Even my husband, who often complains about all he has to accomplish as part of “doing the holidays” seems a bit frustrated by the changes. Do you have any suggestions on how to cope with all this? Signed: Feeling Empty

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Dear Feeling Empty: During these difficult times, we find ourselves moving into uncharted territory: How does one “do the holidays” during a once-in-a-century pandemic? The short answer is that one does the holidays differently. And what that looks like will depend on the situations we find ourselves in. Do we have children living at home? Local family or friends with whom we’ve created a “pandemic bubble?” Weather that allows for outdoor events? How we approach these holidays also depends on our elemental personality, so let’s start there.

Given how upset you seem about not having “normal” holidays, I suspect that you are a primary Earth personality. Family and food, people gathered together, special traditions, etc. are of paramount importance to Earth people. This gives life meaning for them. But the holidays are not just for Earth people. Each of the other elemental personalities will have aspects of the holidays that matter to them, too. And remember that we all have all of the elemental personalities in our energetic wiring, so even though you are a primary Earth personality, you may find that some of what matters to, say, a Water personality might matter to you, as well. So, let’s look at what’s important to each of the elemental personalities during the holiday season and see how you might be able to incorporate aspects of each during a pandemic. I think you might be surprised.

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Missing Time with Friends and Family?

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog: Five Element Fixes. Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are all relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment. The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here. 

Question: Thanksgiving is coming and because of Covid, I’ve decided it’s best if I don’t travel home to be with my elderly parents this year. It’s the right thing to do, but my heart literally aches over this. Is there anything that will help?

Answer: This is a question many of us will have to face as the holidays approach: Do we or don’t we travel to spend time with those we love? The answers will be different for each of us, but the overall issue of missing the important people in our lives is going to be the same. The loss of time with people we love does create an ache in our heart, even if the choice to stay away is the right one. 

When heartache has settled upon us, fluorite (a beautiful multi-colored crystal) can be very helpful. Try wearing a fluorite crystal around your neck on a chain or leather cord so that the stone rests near your heart. Wear it as much as possible and it can help lessen the feeling of heartache.

Why: The vibration of the mineral fluorite has been known as an excellent support for the Fire element. The heart organ and its related emotions sit in Fire, so anything that balances Fire energy will also help balance heart energy. And in general, when our Fire energy is balanced, not only will heartache lessen, it’s also much easier not to panic or become scattered. Plus, fluorite is a beautiful stone!

Stay safe and well.

Blessings,

Vicki

Five Elements and Elections: Fear, Hate, and Healing

Dear Readers: Four years ago, I posted a blog following what seemed to be a particularly contentious and divisive election in 2016 America. Sadly, it appears that little has changed in America over the past four years and the election held here earlier this week is on its way to becoming even more divisive than the previous one. 

In my 2016 post, I explored the role the Five Elements played in that election with the hope that a greater understanding of the dynamics at play would help heal the country. That remains the impetus and hope behind re-sharing that (annotated) 2016 post today. Blessings to all, Vicki

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From 2016:

Dear Readers,

We held a presidential election in America earlier this week and the results left some people astounded and shocked. It was perceived by many as a contest between love and hate, acceptance and fear, inclusivity and exclusion. How we each processed these apparent polarities depended a great deal on which candidate we supported. In the end, the country was split almost exactly down the middle: the electoral vote went to one candidate and the popular vote to the other. In America, the electoral vote decides the election.

It’s not my intent here to discuss who should have won, or who did win. Rather, I’d like to explore the role the Five Elements played in this election in hopes that this understanding will help us begin to heal. America is dangerously divided right now and must come together to move forward. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out in his June 16, 1858 speech, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Hopefully, a little understand will help the healing.

A dominant theme in this election was fear. Fear of people not like us, fear of what either candidate might do if elected, fear of lost rights, fear of staying stuck, fear of elitism, fear of exclusion; you name it, we feared it. Even those aspects of the campaign that emphasized working together carried an underlying fear of what would happen if we just couldn’t work together. Truly, this was an election fraught with fear.

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Is Fear Creeping In?

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog: Five Element Fixes. Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are all relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment.

The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here. 

Question: I don’t think of myself as a cowardly person, but I’ve felt afraid of a lot of things lately. Some of it could be justified, but mostly I feel like I’m just being silly. What can I do to manage my fear?

Answer: First of all, fear can be a good thing. It’s often an early warning that something needs our attention. When you find yourself feeling fearful, stop and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Is there a reason to be afraid? If so, can you do something about it? 

If there doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for your fear, or it relates to a situation over which you have no control, then try the following simple exercise to help manage fear. Sit in a quiet location and take a slow deep breath. On the exhale, softly make the sound “whooooooo” (like an owl). Repeat this several times as your energy balances and the fear melts away. You can use this as often as needed

Why: Fear sits in the Water element and usually indicates an imbalance in energy. The soft “whoooooo” sound repeated several times helps to the balance energy in the Water element. When our Water energy is balanced, it’s much easier to address life from a place of trust, rather than fear. 

Interestingly, courage and optimism sit in the Water element, too, as does hope. The times we feel discouraged or pessimistic can also indicate that our Water energy is out of balance. The exercise described here (I like to think of it as the Owl Exercise), can also help for these issues.

Stay safe and well!

Blessings,

Vicki

Do Headaches Get You Down?

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog: Five Element Fixes. Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are all relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment.

The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here. 

Question: I’ve always had a tendency to get headaches when stressed. Not surprisingly, I’m pretty stressed these days so am having more headaches. I’ve even found myself rather short-tempered when things take too long to happen or don’t turn out the way I want them to. Any tips on managing the headaches?

Answer: When headaches flair up, try the following: Rub a menthol-based balm on your temples, then sit quietly for several minutes taking slow, steady breaths until you feel yourself relax.

Why: Menthol helps balance the Wood element, and out of balance Wood energy is often a significant cause of headaches. That’s because one of the major channels of energy running through the head (the Gallbladder meridian) is governed by the Wood element. So when this energy is out of balance or gets stuck, it can create headaches (and temper tantrums). And by the way, anger and frustration are also symptoms of an imbalance in the Wood element.

Not only does menthol help balance Wood energy, its scent can act as a vasodilator, relaxing and opening blood vessels (especially in the head). This, in turn, facilitates blood flow which helps decrease headaches and create an enhanced sense of calm.

It’s also important to note that the need for accomplishment sits in the Wood element. The lack of accomplishment (or an inability to do certain things) can also create an imbalance in Wood energy. That means it might be a good idea these days to be reasonable regarding your expectations for yourself, and others. And of course, it goes without saying that if your headaches become severe, you should seek medical attention.

Stay safe and well,

Vicki