Thursday, August 12, 2010

A thought about the Earth element

One of my Earth friends often asks me when talking about another person, “Do I need to worry about them?”, and she says this with a kind of weariness in her voice. I see this as a reflection of her own understanding of her role as supporter of others, the mother role, the person worrying about somebody else, but also, implicit within the weariness behind the words, is the feeling that this is a burden. It contains a question as to whether she has perhaps the right to shrug off this burden, as well as the question as to whether instead she ought to find the strength to bear it. And here I am given a role to play, which I see as elucidating further Earth’s need to be given as well as to give. For in her question to me is implied the wish, indeed the demand, that I be the one to take some of the burden, in effect to absolve her of the ultimate responsibility of taking on the burden of worry. By asking the question she has placed me, rather than herself, in the role of taking over the responsibility for providing the answer. Hidden within the question, too, is clearly the hope that I will reply, “No, you need not.”

Earth, then, can often experience others as potential burdens, as here in this example of my friend, with the fear always that they may not feel themselves to be up to the task of carrying the weight of what they are expected to offer others. This explains in part the plaintive note in an Earth’s voice, its singing, sighing quality carrying a demanding tone, a “gimme, gimme” tone, a kind of sucking inwards, as a baby bird sucks in food. This is how I regard one aspect of Earth’s need, and if we describe its emotion as “sympathy”, then perhaps in many instances we could add (in brackets) “for me, please”.

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