The Five Elements, Part 2
Over 2,000 years ago, scholars in China theorized that the universe was composed of five forces: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Today, if we dig deep within ourselves, we’ll find that we all have individual rhythms that reflect these elements. Understanding the Five Elements is key to maintaining physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional balance in our lives—and also important for understanding the people we love—and want to love.
As mentioned in Part 1, The Five Elements can not only affect your life, but they can also help therapists or energy healers make the most of your sessions. So it’s important to pinpoint the elements that define our personalities. Are you a Water? Are you part Wood and Water? Or are you a total Metal? Start with this self-inventory—and you’ll end with a deeper understanding of yourself.
THE FIVE RHYTHMS SELF-INVENTORY
Read and rate each of the statements for yourself on a scale of 0-5, where 0 is NEVER true and 5 is ALWAYS true. Then tally your scores for each element. While a high score does not necessarily mean you have found your dominant rhythm, these questions can help you weigh your relative resonance with the characteristics assigned to each rhythm.
I yearn for more meaning to this experience on earth.
I suspect people and their secrets, and do not want my secrets exposed.
I am very introspective and can pull deep into myself and cut off from the world.
Ideas, more than people, stir my soul.
Fear is the emotion that disables me the most.
I tend to believe that the world is a dangerous place and one needs to be careful.
It takes me a while to really trust someone.
I am very assertive and clear about where I stand.
I can marshal my intellect, and my vision can lead others. I am bold and decisive.
I am fiercely independent.
I enjoy organizing and structuring any situation.
I get muscle tightness or tension.
When someone is obviously being treated unfairly, I stand up for the oppressed.
Feeling panic is very familiar.
I am spontaneous, optimistic and energetic.
I am a very passionate person.
I laugh and/or giggle a lot.
I often get tongue-tied or mix up my words.
I love safe, heart-felt contact with others.
If my relationships are not stable, I am not stable.
I find myself in the middle a lot.
I am naturally compassionate and supportive.
I love spending time with my family, and am the hub of family or social networks.
Everyone confides their secrets and stories to me.
I would never humiliate anyone publicly.
Activities like cooking, gardening, homemaking, sewing, woodworking, and music-making are very important to me.
I have some problems in balancing the needs of others with my own.
I tend to be neat and orderly in my personal surroundings.
I put virtue and principles before fun.
I like tasks that require systemic, logical and analytical problem-solving. Integrity and excellence are extremely important to me.
I hunger for what seems to be an attainable spiritual connection.
I take pride in being efficient and methodical.
I appreciate it if I can do more and be better than others.
WATER ________ WOOD ________ FIRE ________ EARTH ________ METAL ________
Now that you know the elements you reflect, let’s take a closer look at what defines each one. If you’re defined by Water, please visit Part 1 of this series, where your element was explained in more detail.
Are you super organized, known for being a hard worker, and relentless when you’re on a mission? Did you want today’s solution yesterday? Do you out talk everyone? Then you must be a Wood. But you already knew that. You research everything—and you know everything because of it. Sound like you or someone you know? If it’s someone you know—don’t tell them they’re wrong. Woods like to be right. Instead, use stories to convey your message and never give a Wood too much praise.
Of course, like every element, Wood has a challenge—anger. A Wood will get mad at people. They will scream at injustice. Shake their heads at liars. And yell, yes, at dust bunnies. Give a Wood a mess and they’ll give you a mouthful. Their gift isn’t fortitude for nothing.
Wood is associated with the liver and gallbladder. Know the phrase, “That galls me”? Well, that’s a Wood for you. The liver is the Wood body’s harmonizing organ. Too much fear can damage it and affect the rest of the body as well.
Do people call you the life of the party? Well, hello, Fire. You’re happy, social, and fun-loving and you can easily spread your optimism-even in a pessimistic world. If you’re a Fire, then you’re so positive you have a hard time seeing the negative parts of your life. Exclamation points are made for Fires!!! Say something dark and a Fire will point you to the light instead.
But everything isn’t always rosy for Fires. They panic easily and can get off course and scattered. If you know a Fire, speak with them straight, but lace in positive words. Imbalanced Fires can be afflicted with insomnia, anxiety, and a feeling of internal chaos, which in extreme cases can affect the health of their heart—fires have huge hearts, after all.
While most elements have two associated organs, Fires have three. These include the heart, the pericardium, and the small intestine. Unresolved anxiety can affect all of these—and beyond, including the triple warmer, which is an energy system.
You’re not out to save just anything or anyone—you’re out to save the world. Your compassion is as far reaching as your defining element, the Earth. As an Earth, you are drawn to those in need and you can’t help but honor others and put them on pedestals. As someone who loves unconditionally, you bring peace to everyone you touch and are a natural caregiver. Loveable, loyal, friendly, and kind—an Earth is a man’s best friend.
But wait—there’s a lot to worry about. And as an Earth, you worry about everything. Governed by the stomach and spleen, Earths digest more than their portion of worrisome thoughts. Doing so can affect their entire wellbeing.
Have you ever noticed that when everyone else is panicking, you’re as calm as can be? Wisdom and grace under pressure—that’s the Metal way. You’re cool and collected; as a Metal, that’s to be expected. You love structure and schedules as much as you enjoy being in control. With high standards that continuously aren’t satisfied, your superiority can suffocate others.
Displeased, you’ll detach. You’ll ignore those you love and you’ll isolate yourself. You may stop speaking to others for days. The large intestine and the lungs are your dominant organs, and when you’re out of balance, you may experience shortness of breath or constipation. Breathe deeply. In. Out. In. Out. And return to the grace you’re known for.
Find your balance—no matter your element.
Take a deep breath (especially you, Metal) and enjoy the journey as you bring your mind, body, and spirit back in balance. Aren’t the Five Elements fascinating and revealing?
This video demonstrates energy exercises relevant to all five of the elements we have in ourselves. Do the one that is for your primary element or do them all. Have fun with them while getting your energies in balance.