How to Tell, More or Less

Last week one of my readers asked an excellent question: once you understand which Phase you fit into, how do you know whether you’re overabundant or depleted?

Since this is clearly an important distinction, I’m going to take some time out this week to address the issue.  Like the initial Five-Phase categories, it may take a little time, honesty and self-observation to accurately assess yourself.

First and foremost, being “overabundant” or “depleted” doesn’t necessarily just mean feeling energetic or tired- it means that, within your basic constitution, when you’re feeling basically healthy, you identify with your Phase because that Phase is naturally more overabundant or more depleted than the other phases.  We all have all of the Five Phases naturally- and each of these phases may be naturally overabundant or depleted- but for each of us, if we were as healthy as we could be, there would be one Phase that stood out, so to speak, because there was either significantly more or significantly less of this Phase than the others.

Using the examples below and looking back at my favorite Five-Phase Intro article can help you assess whether you are more relatively depleted or overabundant for your primary Phase.  Because we each have all five Phases, you may also be overabundant or depleted in other Phases, especially the Phases that control or are controlled by your phase (the control cycle is also listed in the Intro article).  So let’s dive right in!

Take an Earth person, for a start.  While all Earth types will have some similar primary drives and issues- needing to be needed and a tendency to be worrywarts, for instance- these will manifest in different ways for the overabundant versus the depleted Earth person.

To tell whether you’re an overabundant or depleted Earth person, look at the primary functions of Earth: it is stable, links people together, and provides sustenance.  When you have a problem in these areas, is it because there is too much or too little of these functions?  Do you have so much Earth energy that you find yourself trying to create stability, provide sustenance and strong bonds for everyone around you, whether or not they need or appreciate it?  Or do you find it difficult and worrisome to establish these things even for yourself?

Maybe you’re a Wood type person.  Wood is about expansion, growth and pressure.  Do you find it difficult to function without many projects and lots of responsibility, or to contain your enthusiasm?  Or is it a challenge to gather and organize yourself so that you can actually accomplish anything?

Let’s consider Metal: the strengths of Metal are its ability to provide definition, refinement and clarity.  As a Metal person, do you take this to the extreme with judgments, condemnations or congratulations of yourself and others, whether or not such valuations are appropriate?  Or do you find it difficult to see clarity, beauty or order and then act appropriately upon these insights?

How about Fire: Fire is about connection, enjoyment and activity.  Do you spend so much time connecting with others, rushing around to the next fun thing that you fail to connect with yourself, take time for stillness and build a stable foundation for the future?  Or do you yearn for connection with others and joy in life but find yourself unable to find these things?

Lastly, let’s consider Water.  Water is deep, resourceful and insightful.  Given free reign, do you have a tendency to rely only upon yourself, an overwhelming drive to delve into projects and seek your own truth, even when this could cause alienation or pain for yourself or others?  Or do you feel unable to gather your own resources or find meaning and purpose in life?

Look over the paragraph above that relates to your Phase, and read through the Intro Article and Blog again.  It is most important to determine this for your dominant Phase, as this is the Phase that probably needs the most balancing.

Enjoy, and I hope this helps!

Posted in Chinese Medicine, Elements Acupuncture News, Five Phase Theory.