Just as Meyers-Briggs has helped businesses everywhere build teamwork among their employees, and the 2,000-year-old Enneagram system has provided a model for understanding human personalities, the Five Elements helps people empower themselves and engage with others in a way that is immediate, practical, potent, and lasting.The Five Elements begins with five simple but profound theories about, not only the personalities and rhythms of people, but also the architecture and vibration of buildings, the culture and heritage of countries, the demeanor and personalities of animals, and even the political climates and attitudes of certain eras. The system of the Five Elements began with the development of acupuncture; a healing practice that grew out of a 4,000-5,000 year-old Asian medical system. In “The Inner Cannon,” a 2,000-year-old medical text, Chinese physicians and scholars theorized that the universe is composed of forces that included Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal—the five elements. They proposed that human behavior, emotions, and health are also influenced by these elements. If we understand these elements, we can use them to stay in balance physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally—or to return to balance after unhealthy living, illness, stress, or other disturbances.
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The cafes in Paris are filled with them. The urban coffee houses in America are magnets for them. The hookah lounges in the Middle East are packed with them. Waters everywhere love lounging with good friends and waxing eloquently about all that is right and wrong with the world. The deeper the conversations, the better. They are your most alluring poets, your wisest writers, your most hypnotizing musicians, and your sagest philosophers.
Water people dive deep into the depths of life. They get hypnotized by complex musical scores and they blissfully lose themselves in the arts. Waters are the people at gallery openings who stand in front of one painting for hours, talking about its lines, its colors, its use of angles and curves. They are the ones who walk slowly through the rain, soaking up the smell of the wet pavement, and listening to the droplets on the ground. Waters take their time. The word “hurry” is not in their vocabulary and this plays out in the way they speak, walk, act, react and live. Theirs is a slower rhythm as they take in everything around them.
There is a child-like playfulness with the Water person. They enjoy cuddling and being coddled. Waters like convenience and expect to be served. Doing things themselves and following through with ideas is not their strong suit. Their ideas are unique and inspiring, but putting those ideas into action is quite difficult for a Water. They can get lost in life and overwhelmed by the details. They yearn for someone else to manage the details for them.
Life can looked warped to a Water who tends to live deep within themselves where they feel secluded and alone. Imagine diving into a swimming pool, then opening your eyes
under water to look up. You can see the sides of the pool and even the people and activities going on up above the water. But, everything is distorted. This is how life can look to a Water when they go deep within themselves. With their unending thoughts, they can be prone to depression. When they are depressed, everything can become exaggerated and look like a very different reality than the reality that others see.
Wood people often get the fuzzy end of the lollipop because they are often misunderstood as harsh, or intimidating. They are actually funny and kind but they wield a lot of power and they are often honest to a fault.
Woods are fearless. They are like the sudden expansive growth of spring after a long, slow winter, and like the power of tree roots that push through solid concrete. Woods lead with a determination and will that surpasses all limits. At the same time, Wood people see the bigger picture, find solutions, seek out the best in things, and make changes. They are strong, sturdy, stable, fearless, logical, reasonable, bold, independent, and unapologetic. They are also very fair-minded, and nothing upsets them more than injustices. This makes them powerful.
Woods are doers. They turn ideas into action. Woods exude confidence and don’t let much stand in their way. If they can imagine it, it can be done. They know what they want, are decisive, make things happen, and push themselves to the limit. They enjoy debates and arguments and are not easily swayed by other’s opinions. Once they make up their minds, there is little that can convince them that someone else’s opinion is right. Woods know they are right, which acts as fuel for their strong drive, but doesn’t always bode well for their personal relationships. Just as every element is led by a dominant emotion, Woods are often lead by anger. There is a subconscious simmering of anger that surges up fast for Woods, especially when they witness unfair situations or mistreatment of people.
If Woods can learn how to slow down, mellow out and gain compassion for others, they can experience resilient health and well-being, as well as enjoy productive careers and satisfying relationships. It helps Woods to have an upbeat partner who frequently gives them a pat on the back or a high-five. A quick acknowledgement lets Woods know that their hard work is acknowledged by the people they want to please the most.
Is there a person at your work or among your friends who seems to always be happy, joyful or excited all the time? You know the one: They walk into a room with a huge smile, almost dancing as they walk. There is an uplifting, lively rhythm to their existence and they seem to not get stuck in the muck that slows down the rest of us. Life is a party and living it is a ball!
Fires have the natural ability to pull other elements out of stubbornness, darkness, depression, boredom, and worry into the land of the living. Their energy, laughter and high spirits are contagious. They laugh easily and seem to be bubbling over with excitement even if others don’t see anything about which to get excited. Just about every day is an incredible experience for them.
Pleasure, fun and anything that feels good is what Fires are drawn to. However, Fires often abandon people or events that lack excitement, passion, romance and fun. They are loyal and dedicated until something doesn’t feel good and then they move on to the next pleasurable experience. This may mean that they end up being serial monogamists. Also, it can seem like a Fire person loves everybody and that their love for you isn’t so special or sincere. They can appear to be everybody’s best friend. Perpetually in motion, Fires are
constantly chasing the next shiny object. When faced with displeasure from others, a Fire’s joy can turn to panic.
There has never been a more perfect Earth person than Melanie, Scarlett O’Hara’s sister-in-law from the movie, “Gone with the Wind.” Melanie saw only good in people and she did only the most thoughtful deeds for others. She had no ulterior motives and didn’t play games. She simply had the most tender, caring, understanding, giving heart of gold. In the movie, when she takes her wedding ring off her hand to give to the war effort, even though her husband may never return from battle, she does it with truth, honesty, love and generosity in her heart. Earths are the angels of compassion and caring.
Earth people almost always have children, but if they don’t they will pour their love into caring for animals or teaching children. They will also pour their love into their relationships. If you know an Earth person you have probably received some homemade bread, a pie, some chicken soup or a hand-stitched quilt from them. Their nurturing nature comes from deep within the heart and shows itself through generosity. They quilt, sew, garden, cook or paint, all so they can give hand-made gifts to others. They want to make you feel comfortable, safe, and to know you are loved. They want to give to the whole world. Deep inside, they are hoping for love in return.
When Earth people don’t get love in return, they can question their entire existence, falling into co-dependent cycles that never seem to end. For Earth people, the past is comfortable and change can be excruciating. They hold onto the past with all their might.
Earths don’t want anyone to feel bad or dislike them so they are careful not to rock the boat. Uncomfortable with change and risk, they tend to walk on eggs, say what they think people want to hear and enable others and all of their destructive behaviors.
The Metal way is a reverent way. The Metal person is a master at meeting life where it is at and rising above it. They are above the fray of its up’s and down’s and never get too ruffled.
Metals are spiritual seekers often looking to the next guru or toward the next mind-body-spirit connection. If the most spiritually elevated gurus are in India, that is where a Metal will go. There is no argument, no debate: they will quietly go to where they find one-on-one connections with others who seem to also be on their path of higher consciousness.
Because the Metal person is often seeking a higher path of spiritual existence, if you don’t fit into their vision of the divine, then they will probably politely end their relationship with you. Again, there is not arguing or struggle. The Metal will say “farewell,” and move on to something and someone at the level that they require. It can feel cold and detached, but for the Metal it is a path of the highest respect for themselves and their journey.