Your Chinese Element and the Art of Knowing How to Be
One way to naturally address fertility issues caused by imbalances—and, really, to address imbalances more generally—is to think of yourself (mind, body, soul) in terms the five distinct elements that form the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. These are: water, wood, metal, fire, and earth.
The unique properties of each of the five elements are reflected in everything from our personality and color preferences to our illnesses and impediments to growth. One of the things I talk about in the My Natural Fertility E Course is that most of us have one or two elements that dominate us. A balanced individual will have all five elements present within them and different circumstances will bring out their different properties.
A lot of my practice as an acupuncturist involves listening closely to my clients in order to hear which treatments they respond to better and more authentically so they can more easily move toward health and growth. We are all a unique labyrinth of emotions, perceptions, histories and stories. Some of what we try to change about ourselves, or what pushes our buttons about other people, is really our five elements speaking to us. After all, you can’t force a loving and caretaking earth to be more of a methodical metal type, and you certainly can’t make the free-flowing creative water element to take on the stoic get-‘er-done characteristics of wood.
When it comes to my own personal growth, for example, I knew I responded well to motivational talks but struggled at the whole idea of “letting go.” Well, turns out my true soul element is metal and the whole challenge of metal is letting go—something I can only do when I am in balance. When looking to develop myself, I found myself struggling between the rigidity of all-or-nothing approaches like: “should I just put my head down and eat crap and work my butt off, or should I meditate on a bench not worrying about the direction of my life/career/relationship and just trust it will always work out?” My practice was to find the balance within me, in order to truly let go.
If you’re struggling with fertility issues, looking for natural approaches to fertility or just curious to learn more about how your own system works, see if you see yourself in one or two of the elements below:
The profound flow of the Water Element
The starting element is water, associated with the season of winter and organs of kidney and urinary bladder energy. Water people have incredible resources and oftentimes test how far they can go by nearing burnout.
Thanks to their creative side, great works and innovative ideas often come from water types. They don’t mind clutter and may dress in more flowing clothes that are loose to their bodies.
The kidney energy houses the “will” in Chinese medicine, so the self-will of water types has immeasurable depth. On the other hand, if they are out of balance or ill adapted, fear or paralysis can take over—just as when water freezes it turns to ice! That’s why both the virtue of and the challenge for water types is to overcome fear.
They need solo time to rebuild and take care of themselves. You may see them cocooning in bed with a book or becoming a standing puddle on the couch reading, writing or doing some creative activity like sewing or crossword puzzles.
The serious work of the Wood Element
The goal-oriented and strong element of wood follows water. Wood energy is associated with the bubbling up energy of the spring. As spring energy leaps forth from the inward, still energy of the water from the winter, many people naturally feel more energetic and find themselves craving more salads and fresh water.
Wood types finish what they start and thrive when they are setting and achieving marked goals and progress. Because the weakness of wood characteristics is a tendency toward irritability, their virtue and challenge may be to cultivate patience.
Every business needs a wood element on the team or else nothing would get done! We love when they strive to complete their to-do lists but hope they aren’t married to those lists, either. Wood types rebuild their strength through vigorous exercise, completing projects and finding ways to control life’s marauding chaos. Things like clean eating and meditation to help them cultivate forgiveness for themselves and others.
The captivating heat of the Fire Element
Fire people are fun, charismatic and living in the moment. They may seem to have a different relationship with time all together. These types have tangible warmth that draws people in and would seem to have been born with the effortless gift of gab.
Passionate and loving people, they often do best in life when they have a consistent partner to explore the depths of their heart. In fact, when fire people are off balance, their love life can affect them more than it might affect others. They rebuild through loving connections like talking with their intimate partners and doing ‘fun’ and spontaneous activities. The color of the fire energy is red and the season is summer.
Laughing and watching funny movies is a way that all of us can invoke our fire energy. Practicing surrender, optimism, playing more and keeping it simple are all ways fires can stay in balance.
The nourishing comfort of the Earth Element
Earth people are the caretakers. They are the eternal mothering energy and, for men, the provider energy. You can find them in the kitchen making and eating food with loved ones. Earth people like to plan meals, snacks and take care of all things related to “nourishment.”
Because of their desire to help others, they are natural mothers of animals, kids, neighbors and people that they work with. Accordingly when earth people are off balance they have a tendency to worry too much and have issues around codependence. The season of earth signifies the transition between the seasons. That’s why their life will often be the most nourishing to THEM when they learn about boundaries, that is, knowing where they stop and other people or things start.
Earths rebuild by sitting around the kitchen table having meals with loved ones, finding ways to nurture others and avoiding sweets (which they most likely crave). Warm food and meals that are easy to digest will aid in keeping their earth energy balanced. Learning to say “no” and taking walks on the earth itself will help to balance their own earth systems.
The secure strength of the Metal Element
Metal people tend toward perfectionism and hold themselves to high standards. If off balance they will secretly hold you to those standards as well! They are precise, discerning and great at implementing systems.
I picture a metal sword cutting through obstacles when I think of metals. Because of their nature, they can “cut off” things the things—whether people, food, or something else—that no longer serve them. You can usually find a metal person giving up something. Your friend that is on a juice fast, gave up coffee or is taking a social media fast is activating their metal element.
The metal element is associated with royalty, so they can have austere and serious aspects to themselves, oftentimes becoming judgmental when off balance (though they will never judge anyone as much as they judge themselves).
Grief is the hardest emotion for metal types to process, making them more susceptible to immune or autoimmune issues than other elements. Fall is the season represented with metal (think of the leaves falling off) and white is the color. Metals rebuild through breathing, daily spiritual practices and eating white foods (pear or radish—no carbs!) to balance their metal energy.
If you’re exploring natural fertility, knowing the five Chinese elements most present in your mind and body, you can learn the best ways to help yourself thrive and flow, what things impede our optimal nature and how to go about correcting any imbalances. Knowing about the five elements can also help your relationships because you will understand more about the people around you. (One thing I emphasize in my E Course about natural fertility, is the importance of understanding how the quality of your relationships affect your hormones and inner balance.)
Do you see yourself in one or more of these elements? How can we become more accepting through recognizing the different elements in all of us?
- S Prev