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.

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Five Element Fixes: Negative Thoughts

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog! 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 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 seem to have a lot of negative thoughts lately. What can I do?

Answer: Rub lemon oil behind both ears, then rub your hands together and inhale the fragrance slowly for at least one minute. Do this daily.

Why: Mental energy is deeply impacted (some might even say “governed”) by the Metal element. Because Metal energy can be so mental, that’s where we need to work if we have negative thoughts. For people with a lot of Metal energy – or people who tend to live in their heads a lot – it can be really important to keep Metal energy balanced.

Lemon oil works to balance the Metal element. When unbalanced, Metal energy can become critical, negative, inflexible, or controlling. When Metal energy is balanced, it vibrates at a higher frequency and is reasonable, logical, rational, and wise. There is a lot going on these days that stresses the Metal desire to have things done the right way, so using lemon oil daily will not only help with negative thoughts, it will help maintain the processes so important to Metal element people.

Stay safe and well,

Vicki

Five Element Fixes: Sugar Cravings

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog! 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 relationship 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. Today, we’re going to start with one of my favorites!

Question: What can I do for my sugar cravings? 

Answer: Drink Lemon Balm tea.

Why: Sugar cravings sit in the Earth element of the Five Elements model. That’s where our grounding sits, too. With all that’s going on these days, it’s easy to feel stressed and ungrounded. For people with a lot of Earth energy, a little bit of sugar can sometimes help. But remember, too much sugar is never a good thing! It’s bad for us physically and can also heighten our panic response.

Drinking lemon balm tea helps with sugar cravings because it works to balance the two primary meridian energies of the Earth element: Stomach and Spleen. When these energies are balanced, sugar cravings usually go away. There are many other ways to balance our Earth energies, but drinking lemon balm tea is a particularly pleasant and easy one. Plus, there’s an added bonus: The taste of lemon balm tea alone often satisfies a sweet tooth. Enjoy!

Stay safe and well,

Vicki

Managing the Stress Created by Coronavirus

Dear Readers: Thank you so much for your positive response to last week’s blog offering insights into how each of the elemental personalities might handle the isolation and confinement associated with the coronavirus pandemic. I am deeply grateful for your positive comments.

I’ve also heard from many of you that the stress associated with the coronavirus pandemic has been hard to manage. Certainly, it is stressful to worry whether you and your loved ones will manage to stay healthy as the virus spreads around the globe. It is stressful to wonder if there will be adequate healthcare should someone you love need it. And it is stressful to ponder how best to keep your household running and adequately supplied when faced with layoffs, shortages, and shelter in place orders.

There is no doubt that the concerns associated with COVID-19 have thrust most of us into a state of prolonged stress. When added to whatever stress we were experiencing in our individual lives prior to the pandemic, we are likely experiencing significant imbalance in our energies. But we have choices in how we address this stress, and the Five Elements model offers us informed options.

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He Needs an Assistant: Who Should He Hire?

Dear Vicki: I am writing about my father; we’ll call him Greg. He’s fantastic at making things happen, is the most amazing multi-tasker I know, and is actually a great father, just not very warm and fuzzy. He’s been in business, specifically marketing, for most of his career, and changed jobs two years ago to head up a national marketing and sales force for a large corporation. The reason I’m writing is that he’s had three administrative assistants during those two years. The third quit last week and now he’s complaining that he can’t find good help. I love him, but when he’s stressed, he can come across as bossy and insensitive. Is there anything I can say to him that will help him find and keep a good administrative assistant? Signed, A Caring Daughter

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Dear Caring Daughter: Your father is very lucky to have such a caring daughter. Good for you! And this is an interesting relationship question. Work relationships are just as important as our personal relationships, but are often more difficult.  That’s because at work, we’re usually more invested in our performance than our relationships.  But work relationships often make or break our performances, so let’s see what we can do to help you help your father.

If Greg’s business career has focused on marketing and sales, it’s highly likely that he is a primary Wood personality. Marketing requires focus, vision, and the ability to make things happen, while sales requires multitasking and an ability to put yourself out there in the name of a product, brand, organization, etc. This sounds pretty close to how you described your father.

Greg clearly has a lot of responsibility in his new job, which Wood people perceive as a reflection of their importance, so usually enjoy – until times get tough. When significant problems arise, the stressed Wood personality will usually take dramatic steps to keep things from getting further out of control because nothing takes a Wood person down faster than chaos. This clamping down makes them seem very controlling, or as you put it: “bossy and insensitive.” And as Greg’s history with assistants has shown, it can be very hard to work for a stressed, controlling Wood. So how do you help your father?

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