March 18, 2021 Our Relationship with the World Around Us
Dear Readers: For those of you who regularly read this blog, I think it’s pretty clear that I believe how we relate to each other is one of the most important aspects in our lives. It impacts our happiness, our contentment, our productivity, our joy, and probably even our lifespan. But equally as important, and occasionally maybe even more important, is how we relate to what’s going on around us. Specifically, we need to consider the ways in which our external environment impacts us. And that can be a pretty big question.
Our “environment” can mean the climate that we live in, the people who surround us, the color of the walls in the room where we’re working, sleeping, or eating, events in society at large, you name it. And just like the energy between two people will impact how they feel about themselves and each other, the energy interaction between you and your environment will impact not only how you feel, but how well you think, play, and even love.
We’ve all had the feeling of walking into a room and thinking, “Wow, I could spend a lot of time here!” Or maybe we think, “Wow, get me out of here!” Likewise, some of us feel completely at home in the mountains, whereas others would happily spend the rest of their lives sitting on a beach. A lot goes into how we feel about different environments and how different environments impact us. But for me, one of the most important aspects is how the energies of our elemental personalities relate to the energies of that environment.
Today’s blog is the first in a four-part series devoted to understanding how each elemental personality will likely relate to different external environments and, more importantly, what can be done if you find yourself stuck in a not very compatible match. We will focus on how different weather, climates, decorating schemes, populations, geographical locations, etc. relate to each of the five elemental personalities based on the Five Element model. Specifically, are these environments impacting us via a Nurturing Cycle or a Controlling Cycle connection?
The four areas we are going to cover in this series include how we are impacted by: a) the overall climate environment and geography where we live, b) our home environment, c) our work environment, and d) temporary environments like stores, friends’ houses, etc.
And while many of us have our access to work locations, stores, restaurants, and other entertainment venues somewhat limited these days, Covid 19 restrictions are being lifting in many areas and it won’t be long before life will return to some (new) version of normal. That means this is an excellent time to consider how the different external environments in your life impact you and what, if anything, you might want to change going forward.
Today we are going to cover outdoor climate environments which may be one of the few places we all still have access to during these Covid times. Settle in; it’s going to be a fun four-week exploration of how different environments impact us and what we can do to optimize the good parts and mitigate against the not-so-good parts. We’re going to start with the climates in which we find ourselves.
Our Climate Environments
At present, climate scientists split the Earth into approximately five main types of climates. They are:
1. Tropical: In this hot and humid zone, the average temperatures are greater than 64°F (18°C) year-round and there is more than 59 inches of precipitation each year. Geographically, these conditions are mostly around the equator of our planet but can be found in other areas depending on topography.
2. Dry: These climate zones are dry because moisture is rapidly evaporated from the air and there is very little precipitation. Geographically, this is found mostly in two bands, one just north and one just south of the equator but can be found in other areas depending on topography. They are generally hot, desert areas.
3. Temperate: In this zone, there are typically warm and humid summers with thunderstorms and mild winters. Geographically, this is found mostly in two bands, one just north and one just south of the Dry zone, but can be found in other areas depending on topography.
4. Continental: These regions have warm to cool summers and very cold winters. In the winter, this zone can experience snowstorms, strong winds, and very cold temperatures—sometimes falling below -22°F (-30°C). Geographically, this is found mostly in two bands, one just north and one just south of the Temperate zone but can be found in other areas, especially mountainous regions.
5. Polar: In the polar climate zones, it’s extremely cold. Even in summer, the temperatures here never go higher than 50°F (10°C). Geographically, these are found in two regions: one around the North Pole and one around the South Pole of our planet. It can also be found in several major mountain ranges.
Each of these five climate environments can generally be associated with one or more of the Five Elements, as follows:
1. Tropical climate: These are the hot areas of our planet with large amounts of moisture. Given the heat, and the almost constant energy of summer, these areas are associated with the Fire element. However, because of the presence of water, and thus abundant plant life, the Water and Wood elements can also have a strong influence here.
2. Dry climate: These are the hot desert areas of our planet that lack moisture. The constant heat will usually be associated with the season of summer and thus the Fire element.
3. Temperate climate: These are the areas that have the typical four seasons with mild summers and winters that aren’t too cold. These areas are usually governed by their seasonal association with specific elements and by geographical features like mountains (Metal), lakes (Water), etc.
4. Continental climate: These areas have very cold winters and warm to cool summers. There is less vegetation, so these are generally considered Water regions given the tie to winter.
5. Polar climate: These are the coldest areas of our planet where there is almost always snow and ice. This constant state of winter gives it a strong Water element influence.
Geographic and Seasonal Influences
Each of the Five Elements is associated with some aspect of the geography of our planet as well as a climate/season. These associations can (and usually do) have an impact on us and can be summarized below:
1. Water: It will be no big surprise that the Water element is associated with water. This means oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. As mentioned, seasonally, Water represents winter, a time when most activity occurs below the surface.
2. Wood: Traditionally, Wood is associated with forests. But as the only element represented by something that grows, Wood is also often associated with areas full of any kind of vegetation. Seasonally, Wood represents spring, the time when vegetation manifests the strongest.
3. Fire: Fire is associated with the heat of summer, the season it represents. Geographically, Fire equates to deserts and other hot areas like the tropics.
4. Earth: Earth is unique among the elements in many ways. It doesn’t represent a season. Rather, it represents the transition times between seasons (solstices) and the seasonal balance times (equinoxes). And geographically, our whole planet is made of earth. But Earth energy is strongest whenever we are connecting to the earth and the nature it supports, whether in a garden, at a garden nursery, or even just walking through a park.
5. Metal: Seasonally, Metal represents autumn, the time of harvest and the pulling back of energy from the outer world. Geographically, Metal is associated with mountains due to their structure and the fact that many metals are mined from mountains.
What this Means for Each of Us
Buried in all this information is how the climate and geography will affect us based on our primary elemental personality. At this point, it can be as simple or complex as we want to make it. For now, we’ll start with simple: Where you live can and will affect the balance of your primary elemental personality. And when that happens, knowing where to go for a visit can help you restore your balance. Here’s how it works:
For primary Water People: If you live geographically near water or in a climate that is continental or polar (cold, long winters), you may develop an excess of Water energy. When this happens, it can be important to take trips to areas that are hot to help use up your excess Water energy (Water rushes to put out Fire on the Controlling Cycle). And if by some chance you currently live in a hot area now, you may find that your Water energy is already deficient. That’s when it’s time to visit a climate that is continental or polar (Water climates) for a good skiing trip and fun in the snow. Or go hang out at the ocean or a lake. These will also build back your Water energy.
For primary Wood People: If you live geographically near forests or in an area that supports a long growing season like the temperate climate, you may develop an excess of Wood energy. When this happens, it can be important to take trips to areas that are hot to help use up your excess Wood energy (Wood feeds Fire on the Nurturing Cycle). You can also visit a mountainous area because the Metal energy there will deplete your Wood energy (Metal controls Wood via the Controlling Cycle). And if by some chance you currently live in either a mountainous or hot area now, you may find that your Wood energy is already depleted. That’s when it’s time for a trip to the forest or an area experiencing abundant vegetation. That will help build back your Wood energy.
For primary Fire People: If you live geographically in a climate that is tropical or dry (basically hot), you may develop an excess of Fire energy. When this happens, it can be important to take trips to areas that are continental or polar (basically cold) to help use up your excess Fire energy (the Water energy of winter puts out Fire). And if by some chance you currently live in a cold area now, you may find that your Fire energy is already deficient. That’s when it’s time to visit a climate that is tropical or dry for some fun in the sun. That will help build back your Fire energy.
For primary Earth People: If you live geographically in a climate that is temperate (abundant and long growing season) and take advantage of the weather to garden a lot, you may develop an excess of Earth energy. When this happens, it can be important to take trips to areas that are either continental/polar or dry (basically, where nothing grows) to give your Earth energy a rest. And if by some chance you currently live in an area like that now (where nothing grows), you may find that you Earth energy is often deficient. That’s when it’s time to visit a climate that is temperate and soak up the energy of growing plants and blooming nature. That will build back your Earth energy.
For primary Metal People: If you live geographically in the mountains or in a climate that is continental (frequent in mountainous areas), you may develop an excess of Metal energy. When this happens, it can be important to take trips to areas that are hot to help deplete your excess Metal energy (the summer energy of Fire controls Metal). And if you happen to live in a hot area already, you may find that your Metal energy is often deficient (or at least has lost its structure). That’s when it’s time to take a hike in the mountains or visit a climate that is continental for the abundant mountain scenery. That will help build back your Metal energy in no time.
Well, this has been long. But the important piece in all of it is to be aware that where we live can and will impact the expression of our elemental personalities. Knowing this is just another tool for helping to stay balanced, healthy, and happy. More next week!
Blessings to all!