Ask Vicki: Relationship Advice Using the Five Elements

Thankful for Gratitude and Each Other

Dear Readers:  One week from today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. And while the exact origin of the holiday may be unclear, the intent of the day still rings true: there is always something to be grateful for in our lives. Whether it’s that we have stayed healthy during a pandemic, had the support of friends and family during difficult times, experienced success in whatever way we define it, or even just made it through another year, gratitude is a state of mind that’s a universal part of the human experience. And my regular readers won’t be surprised to know that I believe gratitude is also deeply embedded in the Five Elements model. After all, a model that claims to be no less than a definitive explanation of the workings of the entire universe will have to contain gratitude. And it does.

In the Five Elements model (shown below), each element owes its existence and ability to function in a balanced manner to the other four elements. And in a very profound way, when one element receives help from another, the receiving element pays it forward by doing the same for the element that follows it on the Nurturing Cycle (the big circle) of the model. If the Water element is running low, the Metal element sends energy to Water via the Nurturing Cycle. And Water will do the same for Wood, just as Wood will send energy to Fire, Fire will send it to Earth, and Earth will feed it back to Metal. It’s a never-ending flow of giving that’s a key hallmark of the Five Elements model.

The other hallmark of the model is the ability of each element to ensure that no element overdoes it. If the Wood element has too much energy, the Metal element will reach across the model via the Controlling Cycle (the big star) and decrease the excess. This guarantees Wood’s survival and in gratitude for that service, Wood will do the same for Earth, just as Earth will decrease excess for Water, Water will decrease Fire, and Fire will return the initial favor back to Metal. And while our “more is better” culture usually sees a decrease in something as bad, balance is crucial for survival. Both increase and decrease matter. But does that translate to people? I can answer that with an unequivocal, “Yes!” Let’s take a look.

People with a primary Water personality need information to develop their big ideas, and synthesized information coming from Metal people (who feed them via the big circle) fits the bill perfectly. Their gratitude to Metal people is expressed when Water people use that input, thereby acknowledging its importance. Believing what they do is important makes Metal people happy. Another way Water expresses gratitude to Metal is by reaching across the big star and managing Fire energy to keep it from melting Metal.

People with a primary Wood personality love creating and manifesting on a grand scale, and the big ideas coming from Water people (who feed them via the big circle) are often perfect. Their gratitude to Water people is expressed when Wood people make the idea manifest, thereby acknowledging its value. Seeing their ideas come to life honors Water people. Another way Wood expresses gratitude to Water is by reaching across the big star and managing Earth energy to keep it from damning up Water and stopping its flow. 

People with a primary Fire personality love reasons to celebrate, and they often get celebration-worthy accomplishments from Wood people (who feed them via the big circle). Their gratitude to Wood people is expressed with a party, a ceremony, or anything that recognizes the importance of what Wood has done. Recognition for their success is important to Wood. Another way Fire expresses gratitude to Wood is by reaching across the big star and managing Metal energy to keep it from over-pruning Wood.

People with a primary Earth personality need to connect with others and they often get opportunities to do this at celebrations thrown by Fire people (who feed them via the big circle). Their gratitude to Fire people is expressed by attending the party (usually bringing food) and having a great time. People having fun is important to Fire. Another way Earth expresses gratitude to Fire is by reaching across the big star and preventing Water energy from dousing their flames.

People with a primary Metal personality need to be free of encumbrances so they can focus on their work, and they often receive support in this from Earth people (who feed them via the big circle). Odd as it may sound, their gratitude to Earth people is expressed by allowing them to take care of them. Earth people love to be needed and help others. Another way Metal expresses gratitude to Earth is by reaching across the big star and pruning Wood to prevent it from holding back Earth.

And so it is that the cycles of gratitude and thanksgiving go on and on in the beauty and perfection of the Five Elements model. May gratitude bless us all and last forever.