Resolving to Change

Dear Readers,


Welcome to 2021! Here in the United States, it’s certainly starting out with a bang (not necessarily in a good way). It’s been said that it’s hard to change what you don’t know needs changing, so I look at the start of 2021 as offering a pretty clear message that some change might be a good thing. But how does one go about ushering in change? Honestly, I think we begin with ourselves. And when we do, that change will not only reflect out to the collective, it can also guide us in ways that allow us to support the collective if further changes are needed. 

But what do we change? At a personal level, I believe we are the only ones who truly know what we may want (or need) to change about ourselves and our circumstances. There are a variety of ways we can ascertain what we might want to change, and for those of you who know me, it won’t surprise you to hear that I think a great tool to do this is the Five Elements model. The ancient Chinese used the Five Elements model to break down any singular whole into five pieces that could be studied and understood as aspects of the whole. But the brilliance of the model they created is that it works for any whole: a country, a year of seasons, a lifetime, and yes, an individual person. 

This last point is true because we all have all five of the elemental personalities in our energetic make-up. That means that if we want to take the time to review this past year from a perspective of what worked for us (and what didn’t), the Five Elements model can be useful tool.  Basically, we would be exploring which elemental expressions of ourselves we think we nailed this past year, and what aspects we’d like to improve on or resolve to change. Does that mean I’m recommending New Year’s resolutions? Maybe. In truth, New Year’s resolutions are just a fancy way of formalizing desired changes for the coming year. And each of the elemental personalities can and does connect with the idea of a fresh start in their own unique way. But whether you resolve to change in a formal way or not, the idea that each of us can help the world by improving ourselves is important. 

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Resolutions, Ceremony, and the Five Elements

Dear Vicki: I love New Years resolutions! Committing to what I want to accomplish next year makes me happy. Unfortunately, my husband hates the idea! Every year it’s impossible to get him excited about sharing thoughts for the coming year. And when he does finally agree, it’s like the Grinch is here to stay. I’m dreading January this year because I know it will just be one more fight about resolutions. Of course, I could make them alone, but we’ve been together a long time and so much of what happens in my life involves him. How do I get him excited about New Year’s resolutions? Signed: Resolutions for Me

Dear Resolutions: You don’t mention what elements you and your husband are, but based on your letter, I can make an educated guess. Because you enjoy coming up with resolutions for the New Year, I suspect that you are most likely a Wood. The arena of focus for Wood is the future, and there is nothing more future-oriented than resolutions. Honestly, they’re really nothing more than glorified plans for change, and Woods are excellent planners.

The fact that your husband hates resolutions (rather than just finding them boring, pointless, or silly) suggests that he has a lot of Metal. The arena of focus for Metals is the past; they excel at synthesizing the events that occur over the course of a cycle, be that a month, a season, a lifetime, or longer. Metals are brilliant at looking backward and bringing wisdom forward. But it’s often difficult for them to project themselves into the future; they just don’t think that way.

Our culture definitely focuses on New Years resolutions. But the fact that so many people embrace the practice of making resolutions doesn’t suggest that we’re a world of Woods. Rather, I think it suggests that each element can and does have a connection to the idea of a fresh start. We just need to understand that connection. Let’s take a closer look at how each element might respond to the idea of New Years resolutions, and then we’ll consider how you might encourage your husband to embrace them.

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