Wood Needs Holiday Help Processing Loss

Dear Vicki: My partner Jillie and I have been together for eight years and have lived together for the past five years. This summer, our house was damaged beyond repair in a storm, so we have moved into an apartment with the small amount of our household goods that were salvageable. The holidays are coming and I know it’s going to be a very different year, but my usual optimism is failing me. I used to love decorating and hosting family and friends, but this year I just want to ignore the whole season. Jillie is a Metal/Earth and has been clear she’d like to have some kind of festivities. I’m a Wood/Earth, so should want that, too, but I’m just not feeling it. All I feel is exhausted, not particularly supported by Jillie, and a complete lack of enthusiasm for the whole season. What can I do? Signed: Sad in the South

Dear Sad: I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s always difficult to move forward after a tragedy, and the holidays can be an especially challenging time to do this. The memories of what has been lost can haunt us like Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Past, making current holidays hard to imagine. This will be especially hard for you and Jillie because you both have a good amount of Earth, which is where home and family sit. What Jillie has going for is her Metal energy which makes it possible for her to detach from expectations regarding the holidays. Sadly, it isn’t going to be as easy for you. Expectations sit smack dab in Wood and I think it’s your Wood that’s a major factor in how you feel.

You and Jillie have faced a significant loss together and even though you both have a lot of Earth, how you process that loss and move forward will be very different. Jillie’s Earth is a secondary to her Metal and relates to it on the Nurturing Cycle. So even though she was probably just as devastated as you were by the loss, her Earth fed her Metal and made it easier for her to let go of things. This heightened Metal would also long for a traditional acknowledgement of the holiday season since traditions matter to Metals. You, on the other hand, also have Earth as your secondary, but your primary element is Wood. These two elements relate on the Controlling Cycle. In the face of the loss, your Wood probably rose up to manage the chaos and in the process took down some of your Earth energy. Less Earth energy for you means less connection to Earthy things like holidays.

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Tears of a Wood

Dear Five Faces: My close friend and business partner, Abby, has been acting very strange lately. We have a small public relations firm and she’s the organization and power behind it; I’m the enthusiasm and presentation side. I’m pretty sure I’m a Fire and she’s a Wood, and it’s worked out well. The problem is that our business is stalling because Abby hasn’t been very organized or powerful lately. She’s been low-key, reserved, and sort of stuck in the past. When I ask her what’s going on, she just shrugs. I know her only daughter recently moved out of state, but Abby made it through a tough divorce a few years ago, so I can’t imagine the move would be affecting her this way. What can I do? Signed, Losing Steam 

Dear Losing Steam: I think what’s happening to Abby is that she’s experiencing a temporary visit to the realm of Metal. When you describe Abby’s behavior as low-key, reserved, and stuck in the past, you are describing characteristics of an out of balance Metal. It’s completely possible that the grief Abby is feeling at losing her daughter’s presence on a day-to-day basis could easily put her into a Metal place. A divorce, especially if contentious, would bring out her Wood if she felt the need to fight for what was fair. But losing a daughter, even just to an out-of-state move, could well bring on grief.

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