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!



Her Sister Lost Her Optimism

Dear Vicki: My sister Cate used to be a pretty trusting, optimistic person. Growing up, she always looked on the bright side of things and tended to see the good in life. She was, and still is, a bit of a loner, too. It was always clear she preferred reading or weaving over loud parties, and that hasn’t changed. Cate also has a soft spot for cats and is always taking in strays. She has a home studio as a decorator and I think they keep her company. I love my sister but have noticed over the years that she seems more likely to assume the worst in a given situation, rather than the best. She doesn’t trust anyone or anything anymore (except her six cats) and appears really frightened about what’s going on in the world these days. Is there any way I can help her return to some version of her trusting, optimistic self? Signed, Worried Sister

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 Dear Worried Sister: It’s understandable that you want to help Cate return to a happier state of being and there are definite ways you can do that. But first I want to suggest that, if you think it’s warranted, you encourage Cate to seek professional help. You will know if that’s necessary, so enough said, but it’s important to remember.

For now, let’s start by taking a look at Cate’s likely elemental personality. From your description, it’s pretty clear that Cate is a primary Water personality. Water people definitely tend to be loners with a keen awareness of their inner resources. This means that, when balanced, they usually trust that they can handle whatever life brings. Water people also view life through the filter of depth, so deep, profound issues (like world peace) matter a lot to them.

The fact that Cate has six cats and they are her only connections right now suggests that her secondary elemental personality is Earth. It is very likely that having six cats to take care of may have caused her to build her Earth energy to such a degree that it is negatively affecting the Water part of her personality. In the Five Elements model, Water and Earth relate on the Controlling Cycle, with Earth controlling Water. If the Earth part of her personality is over-energized from cat duty, it could have decreased the Water part of her personality to the point that she has lost the optimism and trust that comes with a balance Water personality.

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