Sunday, June 24, 2012

Walking in the street: a lesson in the elements

I have learnt something more about the Fire element and about myself this week.  It seems that I need to interact with everybody I pass in the street, as though apparently trying to set up a fleeting relationship with those walking towards me.  I can even find myself on the tip of talking to them (about the weather, or the state of the pavement, or whatever), and have to hold myself back.  I am amazed at just how much effort I seem to be expending on these tiny, second-long interactions.  What I am doing is trying to look into people's eyes, if they will let me, in an attempt to evoke a response from them.  And because I have been observing myself closely as I pass people, I am also observing them as they pass me.  I have been passed by those who, like me, look me straight in the eye, by people who don’t seem to notice I am there, but obviously must because they don’t bump into me, by people completely absorbed in their own thoughts, by people careful to let me pass and by people simply brushing me aside.

Since Fire is the only element which needs to set up relationships wherever it finds itself, this has been the easiest element for me to carry out my mini-diagnoses on.  The other elements are more difficult to detect in those few seconds of our encounter, but I have discovered all kinds of pointers in the way they notice or don’t seem to notice me.  So here are just a few rules-of-thumb (what an odd expression that is!*) when next you are out in the street:

Fire looks into your eyes
Wood hurries to get past you
Earth is absorbed in their own thoughts
Metal looks through you
Water may glance at you but also all around you (as usual Water is the most difficult to pin down in this as in everything else it does)

Of course, all of us can do all these things, whatever our element, but these tiny pointers can be surprisingly useful in helping us understand the elements a little better.

Finally, none of the above holds true for those walking and talking on their mobile phones, in which case the Metal element will reveal itself in all of us whatever our element.  We hold a metal object, the phone, and listen to words coming to us from the far-distant ether and send our own words back out there into distant space.  No doubt in doing this we will all take on that Metal look of appearing to look through everybody we pass!

(*Just looked this up in Wikipedia:  “The term is thought to originate with wood workers who used the width of their thumbs (i.e., inches) rather than rulers for measuring things, cementing its modern use as an imprecise yet reliable and convenient standard”)


  1. Dont accept this at all, Fire is just as likely to avoid eye contact.

  2. Yes,possibly, but in my view only after first trying to make eye contact and having it rejected!