A Brief Christmas Reminder: It’s Really About the Whole

The Five Elements model depicts a whole made up of five distinctive parts: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. In discussing the model, we usually focus on the unique attributes of each part and how they interact with each other. Water feeds Wood, Wood controls Earth, Earth feeds Metal, Fire melts Metal, etc.

But during this holiday season, I would like to remind us that at its core, the Five Elements model really illuminates how five unique parts contribute to the balance and survival of the whole. And that means any whole.

As we have said here many times, we all have all of the Five Elemental Personalities in our energetic make up and we constantly draw on them to help keep the whole that we are safe and balanced.

In turn, we are each part of other wholes, such as families, communities, cities, states, countries, and even a beautiful planet, and we bring our individual energies to that whole to help keep it safe and balanced. In truth, the Five Elements model is really about the health and well being of the whole, not the individual parts. And I think it is important to remember that.

This Christmas, may your Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal energies work together to support you as an individual and bring you joy and happiness.

And may each of us bring our individual and combined energies to each connection that we have to help heal the lives that have been torn apart this year and bring desperately needed love, peace, and joy to every corner of our planet.

Merry Christmas to All!

Love, Vicki

Hate Crimes: Who ARE These People?

Dear Readers: Last Saturday, 11 people were killed and two others critically injured during religious services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh when a lone gunman entered the building intending to “kill Jews.” As a result of his actions, he has been arrested and charged with federal hate crimes, which the FBI defines as crimes where the perpetrators act based on a specific bias against some aspect of the victim, such as race, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. In essence, they hate something about the victim vehemently enough to take violent action against them. But why? And who would do something like this?

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 who have asked if there might be some understanding to be found in the Five Elements model regarding how people can hate each other enough to turn violent, I would like to offer the following thoughts.

The Five Elements model provides us with the ability to categorize people into five basic personality groups based on key factors such as life focus, needs and priorities, vulnerabilities, etc. This same model contains not only personality information, but also key relationship dynamics between each of the five elemental personalities. And it’s this relationship information that’s important here because hate crimes are predicated on how one person (or group of people) relates to other people, specifically people who they dislike or have a bias against.

The five elemental personalities are defined by their differences across a variety of topics, but for those of you less familiar with them, their basic priorities can be summarized as follows:

  • Water personalities tend to focus on exploring inner wisdom and philosophy. Out of balance, they can become almost reclusive.
  • Wood personalities tend to focus on success and accomplishment in the physical world. Out of balance, they can become angry and abusive.
  • Fire personalities tend to focus on enjoying and celebrating life. Out of balance, they can become panicked and hysterical.
  • Earth personalities tend to focus on relationships with home, family, and friends. Out of balance, they can become codependent and timid.
  • Metal personalities tend to focus on acquiring and sharing wisdom. Out of balance, they can become erudite and dismissive.

In truth, any one of these elemental personalities could be capable of committing a crime if something they value was threatened. But an act as horrific as killing another human being would be hard for someone with a lot of Earth energy in their personality because Earths are usually caring, gentle people. Fire people would also be unlikely to commit hate crimes because their upbeat, gregarious personalities make them a friend to all. And Water personalities would be unlikely to resort to violence because they live most of life in their heads. The two elemental personalities most likely to take negative action against a fellow human would be Wood and Metal personalities, but for very different reasons.

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Can Love Bloom Again — 25 Years Later?

Dear Vicki: My husband and I divorced years ago. We never had children, which was fine with me since I spent almost every hour of the day building my medical practice. Apparently it wasn’t fine with Jim because he remarried within a year of our divorce and had two children with his new wife. We both stayed in Albany. Our paths rarely crossed, but in the little spare time I had, I did think of him a lot. Now, twenty-five years later, he is a widower and manages the restaurant he has owned for decades. I am retiring and wonder if there is any possibility that we might try again. I was an idiot to leave him, but now that I’m done working I think things could be better. I’m new to the Five Elements but suspect I’m a Metal and Jim is probably an Earth. Signed: Alone in Albany

 

Dear Alone: This is certainly an intriguing question. The Five Elements can help us understand each other and ourselves. They can explain why some connections are harmonious and others discordant. They can even predict what issues we might have when we interact with someone. But they can’t really explain love. Love is, well, sort of mystical and a connection of the soul. The Five Elements are part of our personality.

That said, it sounds like you might still love your ex-husband. If that’s the case, there’s no harm in reaching out to see where things might stand for Jim. You don’t mention how long ago his second wife passed, but that might make a difference in the reception you receive from him. Earths cherish long-term relationships and don’t let go of them easily. He might think it strange that you are contacting him now, or he might welcome a connection from the past. With Earths, it’s hard to say, so you’ll just have to take your chances. But before you do call Jim, it might help you to consider why your marriage to him failed in the first place and if things might really be different for you a second time around.

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Can Water Find Love Without Drowning?

Dear Vicki: I appreciate the Five Elements model and regularly read your blog even though I’m not good at relationships. I long for a deep connection with another human being, but most of my relationships end up disasters. As a Water, I sometimes find that the person I am dating completely overwhelms me. I feel like I am drowning in them, which scares me, and I have to leave. Other times, I think I am in love, but then become fearful that they will leave me. You have said here that Water people are loners, and I do need alone time, but what if I don’t want to be alone all the time anymore? Can I find love without losing myself? Signed Lonely in Lancaster

Dear Lonely: It is absolutely possible for Waters to have deep and lasting relationships without losing themselves. But a relationship for a Water will look different than a relationship for an Earth, Fire, Wood, or Metal. What’s most important is that you understand your own needs when in relationship. Then, when you’re considering a relationship with someone, make a good guess regarding their element and be sure you understand what they’re going to need, too. You’ve done a great job articulating some of what Waters face when in relationship. You do want profound connections and you do need time alone. If you are out of balance, you will become fearful. Without boundaries, in nature water will flow everywhere, which can feel like being lost. But there is every reason to believe that you, as a Water, can find love and happiness in a relationship. Let’s consider how.

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Why Does She Fall Out of Love in the Fall?

Dear Vicki: Jim and I started dating 16 months ago. I believe he is an Earth/Water and I love being a Fire – it really helps me be a good teacher. Summers with Jim have been a dream; my Fire flares up and I feel free, funny, and in love with everything. But when school starts, I throw myself into teaching and our relationship takes a 180-degree turn. When that happens, Jim tries even harder to make me happy, but I want to focus on teaching my kids, so feel like pushing him away. In the Fall, I don’t have the time or energy to keep us entertained and really don’t want to owe him for all the wonderful things he does for me while I’m teaching. I know he’s just trying to be nice, so I don’t really understand my intense, angry reaction towards him. Also, Jim is a great artist, but doesn’t seem to take his career seriously. He always has work, but is so laid back about things that sometimes I want to jump in and manage his career. I do love him and want it to work between us for a long time, but why do I stop loving him every Fall? Signed: Frustrated Fire

Dear Frustrated Fire: It is absolutely possible for you to have a long-term relationship with Jim, but you will need to be mindful of your energies and manage them well. As a Fire, you know that you love connecting and having fun with people, but your Fire energy doesn’t necessarily need for those connections to last very long. On the other hand, Jims primary Earth will want lasting, long-term relationships. The good news for you is that long-term relationships between a Fire and an Earth can feel happy and natural for both people. It’s a Nurturing Cycle relationship where Fire feeds Earth. In nature, an earthen hearth is the perfect structure to hold and support fire allowing it to burn stable and steady, something that fire doesn’t often do left to its own devices. As an Earth, Jim can provide this gentle structure for you and your Fire.

One of the reasons you feel so happy and in love during the summer is that summer is your season. During summer everyone is a little more Fire as we loosen the structure of work, take vacations, and devote more time to play. Life is fun! The two summers you’ve been with Jim, you have had a ready companion to hold your Fire. I suspect you have actually been able to be more of your Fiery self your two summers with Jim because he has held the space for you. That would make your summers with Jim seem very much like a dream. But summer can’t last forever, and I think part of the problem you’re having in your relationship is the advent of Fall and the energy it brings. Autumn is Metal time and it calls us to slow down and turn inside. For you as a teacher, it also asks you to get serious about your profession. To do this, I think you allow your secondary element to influence you more than you know, and I have little doubt that your secondary is Wood.

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