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

Five Elements and the Election: Fear, Hate, and Healing

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 the hope that this understanding will help us begin healing. America is dangerously divided right now and needs to come together to move forward as a whole country. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out in his June 16, 1858 speech, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

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.

In the Five Elements model, fear sits in Water, which we all have at some level in our elemental wiring. Water deals with newness and untested ideas, and this election delivered that in spades: we were going to elect either the first female president or the first president with no government experience. The threat to our perceived safety this newness created did its job. Most people were stressed and often terrified during much of the election cycle.

Remember that stress can cause each of the elements to become dysfunctional versions of their normal selves. For Water under stress, their usual positive personality traits of hope, optimism, trust, and tenacity can morph into hopelessness, fear, distrust, and intolerance. Out of balance Water easily loses faith in the world and feels like no one cares. Their normal connection to something bigger than themself (like a country) or trust that all will be well can transform into the fear that they are being left out, fear that they won’t get what they need, or fear of losing something that they value or that defines them.

And because we all have Water in us, there was plenty of fear to go around during this particular campaign because the two candidates were miles apart on almost every single issue. Specific issues (insert your favorite from women’s rights to suitable temperament) made it easy for fear to flood the land. What happens when there is too much fear in any whole, like for example, an electorate? If the Five Elements model works well, Earth energy rises up to control the Water (Earth controls Water). This did happen, but instead of directing the Earth energy at the people afraid of being left out, rightly or wrongly the Earth energy that manifested seemed more directed at defending the “others” who were demonized as the reason that Water was losing its place in the whole.

Those familiar with the Five Elements model know that Earth not controlling Water leads to excess Water. Too much Water will eventually give rise to too much Wood (Water feeds Wood), which can manifest as anger and violence. We saw examples of this at various times during the campaign. But remember, for Waters – and we all have Water in us – the initial issue is usually fear and distrust. Sadly (and understandably), these exact conditions have changed little in the 48 hours since the election. We still have an abundance of fear (what will the president-elect do? Think? Steal from us? Etc.). But what is it that helps control the excess Water creating that fear? Right, it’s Earth. And what does Earth excel at? Compassion.

If you are on the losing side of this election, perhaps you can muster a bit of compassion for the fearful people who have lost something (jobs, lifestyles, pride in country, whatever) and who voted in droves for the winning candidate. If you are on the winning side of this election, perhaps you can muster a bit of compassion for those who are terrified that they are about to lose something (rights, freedoms, pride in country, whatever).

Honestly, it’s right there in the model. More Earth, more compassion, will help manage the turbulent Water energy creating the fear overload we are all feeling right now. And that could lead to healing, which would be a very good thing. I’m sure going to try.

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