Becoming More Intuitive

Dear Readers: We have exciting news! Ask Vicki is moving to a new home! Beginning next week this blog will be hosted on my Vicki Matthews website. We’re really excited about the opportunities this will offer, but it does mean that those of you who are used to receiving an email every time I post here will no longer receive those emails. However, if you follow my Dr. Vicki Matthews Facebook Page, you’ll find a link there every time a new Ask Vicki post goes up. Thanks so much for your support over the years. It means the world!

And now, here’s another Five Elements Fix to help us better relate to ourselves and our environment.

Recently, I received the following question:

So much catches me by surprise these days, I often wish that I had some sense of what was coming. My grandmother used to call it her “knowing.” My mother calls it a “hunch.” I think it’s the ability to use what might be called “intuition,” but I’m not sure how one does that. Is there a way to become more intuitive?

Answer: The short answer is yes! We all get hunches. It could be something as simple as walking down the coffee and tea aisle at the store and grabbing an extra pound of coffee “just in case,” then returning home to discover that your husband just used the last you had on hand. Or it could be a sudden decision on your way home from work to take a different route than you usually take, only to find out that there was an accident on your normal route. Or even a strong sense that you need to call a friend and check in on her, and when you do, she’s having a bad day.

All of these are examples of what can be called intuition, and there are many ways to build it, including just listening to yourself more often. However, one of my favorite ways to build intuition is to wear a fluorite crystal against your skin daily for at least two weeks. Pendants on chains or bracelets are usually the easiest way to do this. The important part is for the stone to make direct contact with your skin. An added plus is that fluorite is a lovely rainbow-colored stone that’s as beautiful as it is helpful!

Why: Intuition comes in many forms, but the ability to be very unstructured with our thoughts and thus “wander” into different kinds of knowing sits in the Fire element. Fire is the least structured of the Five Elements. In nature, fire can leap across roads or even entire fields. Energetically, Fire energy allows us to leap briefly into places unknown and return with thoughts, ideas, or hunches. Too much Fire can create anxiety or panic, too little leaves us scattered or dull. Fluorite helps balance Fire energy, thus keeps us more open to our intuitive flashes when they come.

Fortunately, fluorite is usually easily available. But if you can’t find any that you like, try placing the palm of one hand gently on the back of your head directly behind your eyes. Place the palm of your other hand gently on your forehead. Hold this position for several minutes, breathing comfortably. This will also balance Fire energy.

After a few weeks of wearing your fluorite (or placing your hands on your head in the suggested position), you should find your intuition increasing. Of course, you’ll also need to start listening to yourself, and that may be the hardest challenge of all!

Stay safe and well,


How Can Disagreement Get Out of Hand?

Dear Readers,

During the course of human evolution, time and again people have taken sides against each other for any number of reasons. Property lines. Religious beliefs. Election options. You name it. Disagreeing seems to be a natural – and therefore fairly common – aspect of human behavior. Thankfully, most disagreements can be settled with a little logic or reason, perhaps some legal intervention, and hopefully a healthy dose of kindness. 

But what’s gone wrong when reason fails us and our disagreements turn violent? Have we suddenly become “uncivilized?” Have we temporarily lost our minds? Are our actions based on a specific bias such as nationality, race, religion, or even sports team allegiance? Who could hate someone enough to take harmful action against them? And is this the kind of thing that leads to wars, which some might argue are just nationalized hatred?

The answers to these questions are as complex as humanity itself. One can spend a lifetime trying to understand the human personality. But for those of you who have asked if the Five Elements model might offer a degree of understanding regarding how people can hate each other enough to cause harm, I would like to offer the following thoughts.

Continue reading

What Does It Mean to “Get Along?”

Dear Readers:

Recently, I’ve had several questions regarding why people seem to disagree about almost everything under the sun these days. And I have to admit, whether we’re talking about something as simple as weather preferences or as serious as politics, there does seem to be a distinct inability to agree on things lately. As one woman put it: “It seems like everyone doesn’t agree with me on everything. Why can’t we all just get along?”

It’s a good question: Why can’t we all get along? I do think there’s a reasonable answer to that question. And of course, I believe the Five Elements model will help us understand where the difficulties lie and, more importantly, how to help us all get along better. But before we start, let’s take a moment to define what it means to get along. At its core, getting along can mean something as simple as not fighting. Said in a positive way, that means peaceful coexistence. But technically, we could peacefully coexist with others if we just don’t interact with anyone. I go exist in my corner, you go exist in yours. Technically, we will be peacefully coexisting, but never connecting. There’s clearly more to it than that.

I think the real trick to getting along has to do with peacefully coexisting while interacting with each other. So, getting along might mean interacting in a positive, mutually beneficial way. Or even interacting in a way that benefits any whole of which we are all a part. This implies we all have an important part to play in the health and/or success of whatever whole we are discussing. A good example might be a choir. Some people sing soprano, others alto, others tenor, and even others sing bass. Sometimes we sing loudly, sometimes softly, and sometimes some parts don’t sing at all. But always, by design and agreement (and the way the music was written), the actions of each part are each taken for the greater good of the music itself. 

Continue reading

Managing Prolonged Isolation

Dear Readers: It’s been almost a year since we were told it might be wise to avoid crowds. Most humans tend to be social creatures and the isolation we’ve experienced (admittedly to varying degrees) over the past year has certainly impacted us. Last March, as prelude to the upcoming isolation, I posted a blog about how each of us (based on out elemental personalities) might handle it. Recently, someone suggested it might be helpful to re-post that blog to remind us, a year down the road, of ways we might help manage the continued isolation we are experiencing, especially for our children.

As I stated in that post, how we manage isolation depends on our elemental personalities and the elemental personalities of whoever is isolating with us. Each of the five elemental personalities handles isolation and confinement differently. With a basic understanding of what does and doesn’t work for each elemental personality, I believe it is possible to create scenarios where we not only make it through these difficult times, but cherish some of the precious moments made possible by prolonged time alone or with a select few in a “bubble” of safety. Most importantly, we need to look at ways to help each of us stay emotionally and mentally healthy as our social interactions remain limited. 

And because this discussion is based on the five Elemental Personalities, if you aren’t particularly familiar with them, here’s a quick overview of each:

The Water element corresponds to winter, when most of the activity is below the surface. People with Water as their primary elemental personality are like that. Almost nonchalant outside, inside Water people are a flurry of thoughts, ideas, and creativity. Unlimited potential, hope, and trust sit in the Water element, which gives us a sense of how Water people approach the world when they are balanced. Under stress, the Water personality can become hopeless, empty, narcissistic, or intolerant.

Continue reading

Trouble Finding the Right Words?

Dear Readers: Welcome to an intermittent 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 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: With all that’s been going on in the U.S. I often find myself at a loss for words when talking with people. Part of me would just like to float away to an island and be by myself, yet when friends express ideas that I don’t agree with, I want to share my thoughts but just can’t seem to find the right words. Any suggestions?

Answer: There certainly is a lot going on in our country right now. And much of it involves topics that can be quite controversial. That said, I applaud your desire to want to speak up and be heard. 

Frequently, not being able to find the right words can indicate an imbalance in the Water part of our personality. Your desire to “float away to an island” by yourself also speaks to a possible issue with Water energy. 

Whether you are a primary Water personality or are just having trouble with the Water part of your personality (remember, we have all five of the elemental personalities in our energetic make-up), a great way to help balance Water energy is to wear an aquamarine stone against your skin 24/7 for at least one month. Pendants on chains or bracelets are usually the easiest way to do this. The important part is for the stone to make direct contact with your skin.

Why: The Water element governs imagination and creativity, especially in writing and speaking. While a passion for working with words is often attributed to the Metal elemental personality, creativity using words sits with the Water elemental personality. And that can mean both written words and spoken words. So, when people have problems expressing themselves in words (finding the right words or being at a loss for words), it usually indicates an issue with the Water part of their personality. And aquamarine is excellent at building and/or balancing Water energy. 

Fortunately, aquamarine isn’t an expensive stone, especially if you can find it in the raw, unfaceted state. It’s actually an exceptionally beautiful stone in that form, too. But if you can’t find an aquamarine, wearing blue clothing daily or spending time near water will do the same thing. Basically, more Water energy will mean more creativity, including finding and using the words you want. Blessings to you!

Stay safe and well,