Monday, October 14, 2019

Which element would tidy up his/her practitioner’s magazines?

Here’s another little lesson in following up even the tiniest clues to the elements, sent to me by Pierre from France.  I give his words in full, with a few small amendments to make for easier reading:

Just a few words concerning an interesting clue in order to help diagnose the elements.

I treat a male patient since 2 months. At the beginning I felt Water and
Metal a little bit. The others haven't aroused my attention.

After the two first treatments he felt better, but I can attribute this to 7
dragons and AE drain, not to Water treatment.

When I saw him last week, I found that he walked slightly too fast and with
a kind of forcefulness. Compared to my way of walking, I had doubts about
Water... And then when after the third treatment, he got up fast and strong
from the treatment couch, I realized that my intuition was good to change my idea
of his guardian element : indeed I moved from Water to Wood ( thank you for
your blog about bodily movement!) . After he left, I went into the waiting
room and all the magazines which were in a mess on the table before he came
in were now well arranged in ordered piles.

" What an interesting clue to help diagnose a Wood person! Structure of the piles of magazines!"
Here is my reply:

A very interesting observation, Pierre.

I think probably only Wood would tidy up the magazines. I (Inner Fire)
would definitely notice that they were all in a muddle, but would not like
to make the practitioner feel that I was judging him by tidying up! I don't
think that Earth would even have noticed (much too busy thinking about
his/her problems). I think Metal would have noticed, but would think it was
the practitioner's task to tidy up, not theirs.

What would you have done, as a Water person? Would you have noticed the
Pierre’s reply to me:

I have never arranged any piles of magazines in a practitioner's clinic. I notice that it is a mess, and I don't like mess. But I know that each thing is moving and unstable : so making an effort to tidy up the piles of magazines is wasting energy for nothing.  I prefer to leave the magazines in a mess.

In my own clinic, I tidy up sometimes the magazines in the waiting room, but always by sorting and throwing out a lot!   Like that, what is left does not seem too messy when it is!

It is by following up such very tiny clues that we begin to differentiate between the different elements.

As a postscript to this blog, I asked Guy Caplan (Metal) whether I was right about Metal not tidying up the magazines, and here’s his reply:

When I arrived at the Acupuncture Academy there were some Acu magazines and EJOM's on the table in the entrance hall.  I instinctively tidied them up into two piles and put them in order.  I don't know if this is a Metal trait or a bit of OCD!

So my observation of Metal is not quite right, is it?  And that’s how we learn that we can’t shut up any element into too tight a box, much as we would like to.   

 And then Guy followed this up by adding another insight into Water:

 When we had the Water group in front of the class, one interesting thing came up for many of them, about not wasting resources! Perhaps the fact of taking time with no goal for itself would be a waste of resources of time for energy for a Water CF?

Interesting how one small but perceptive observation by Pierre has led me, and now Guy, and I hope all those reading this blog, to do a lot of thinking.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Political mayhem and the Wood element

It’s nice if occasionally other writers do my work for me, as a journalist just did in an extract printed in a newspaper about Donald Trump last week.  So here is what this writer, his biographer, said about him: “I don’t think right or wrong are categories he thinks in.  The only category is, can he get away with it?  He loves fights.  That’s his comfort zone.  He likes people being angry and yelling at each other.  He gins that up any chance he gets… He’s comfortable when everyone else is uncomfortable, running and ducking for cover.  That’s how he got elected, pitting people against each other.  He’s into “bring it on” because he’s in his element.”

And I would add to that, “because he’s in his Wood element”!

I don’t think you can have a clearer description of the Wood element completely out of balance, with its enjoyment in stoking up the anger in others so clearly shown.  And I think Trump has a very shouting voice, and always talks with the finger stabbing at his audience, which we recognize as one of Wood’s signatures.

Whilst I’m thinking about the Wood element, it would be good to spend a little time wondering about which official out of the two Wood officials is the one that might most influence Donald Trump, the one I now like to call the guardian official.  Is it the Liver, the yin official, or is it the Gall Bladder, the yang official?  We know that the Liver’s function is to be responsible for making plans, and the Gall Bladder’s is to be responsible for putting these plans into effect.  I always like to think of the Liver as being the general sitting in his tent deciding on the campaign to be run, and the Gall Bladder the official in the field carrying out the general’s orders.  So which do we think most fits our impression of Donald Trump?  I feel that the Liver is more likely to be his weakest point.  It’s almost as though he represents the general sitting in his tent, sulking, as Ulysses did, whilst the army runs riot outside doing whatever it likes.  In other words, it seems as if his Gall Bladder is given no clear instructions on how to act by the Liver, which is why all those inappropriate tweets are sent off, significantly often during Wood’s time, in the middle of the night.

Enough said, I feel, about these somewhat unhappy excursions into the worlds of Inner Fire and Wood.  But how I wish both of the heads of state I have written about in these last two blogs would find their way to a five element practice room so that their poor, unbalanced elements could regain some equilibrium, and save their respective countries from much chaos and hardship.



Thursday, October 3, 2019

Political mayhem and the Small Intestine

To divert myself a little from the appalling political scene in this country, which mirrors what is happening in the US, I try to hone my five element skills by observing the leaders of the two countries in action on the world stage. I always add a proviso to my thoughts about the elements of famous people that since I don’t know them personally I have to base any tentative diagnosis on observing them at one remove on the TV screen.

The effect they have upon me is surprisingly similar.  They both make me very, very angry.  I am appalled at their behaviour and at their total lack of concern for anybody but themselves – an almost pathological level of selfishness which dumbfounds me.  But despite the obvious similarities between them I do not think they are the same element, and will try and explain why not.  I have blogged before that I think Donald Trump is of the Wood element, but, after observing the effect Boris Johnson has on those around him and on me watching on TV, I think his element is Fire.  Despite myself he makes me laugh, as he deliberately acts the clown.  If you watch the people around Donald Trump, on the other hand, all you can see is apprehension, the fear that an unbalanced Wood can arouse in those around it, with only a strained smile on the faces of his audience.  So I will concentrate in this blog on looking at how I think the Fire element shows itself in Boris Johnson, and dedicate another blog to updating my comments on Donald Trump.

When diagnosing the Fire Element we always have to remember the very real differences there are within this element between its two sides, the one I call Outer Fire, with its Heart Protector and Three Heater officials, and the other, Inner Fire, with its Small Intestine and Heart officials.  Having just held another happy day’s clinical seminar at which we discussed in detail just this question of how to distinguish between the two aspects of Fire, this has made me look more closely again at the kind of Fire which Boris Johnson appears to be showing.

I often gather significant pointers to how the different elements reveal themselves by reading newspaper comments.  Today, for example, I read that Boris Johnson has created an “atmosphere of feuding” within 10 Downing Street.  He is, the article says, “only listening to two voices now”, those of Dominic Cummings and of his partner, Carrie Symonds.  Would Outer Fire be so unconcerned about the atmosphere within its team that it would allow feuding between its members?  I can’t see that it would, for it is the task of its two officials to maintain a safe and comfortable atmosphere, physically through the balanced flow of warm blood round the body, and emotionally through their efforts to protect the actions of the Heart in their midst.  I see no sign that Boris Johnson is concerned with doing this.  Far from it.  He does not seem interested in ensuring the overall well-being of anybody apart from himself, and appears ever more preoccupied with pursuing his own ends without regard for others.  His team are said to be at loggerheads with one another, all but his inner circle of two having been banished to the periphery of decision-making.  And it is one of the characteristics of the Small Intestine that it has to make its mind up quickly in order to ensure that it does not endanger the Heart, its yin official, and quick decisions are more easily made by a few people rather than thrown open to a large group.  This again points to Inner Fire.  

Boris Johnson’s voice, too, reflects what I regard as the hesitancy all Inner Fire people show in speaking, as their minds work hard at sorting out the words to express the complex thoughts they are engaged in.  His speech is certainly not the articulate speech that distinguishes Outer Fire people, who think before they speak, and when they speak do so without hesitancy.  I have always believed that Inner Fire uses the very action of speaking as a way of sorting out its thoughts, as it searches for exactly the right expression to articulate these thoughts.  There is therefore always a kind of “stop and start” feeling about listening to Inner Fire people, as they try to gather their thoughts into exactly the right form to express what they want to say.  Boris Johnson often mumbles or sounds hesitant, interspersing this hesitancy with sudden bursts of bullying, when he talks over the interviewer apparently without listening to what he is being asked and failing to answer directly many of the questions directed at him. Is his “element within” Wood within Fire perhaps?

I have written before that I thought that Tony Blair was also Inner Fire, but a much more balanced expression of the Small Intestine as it takes on the task of sorting the pure from the impure.  During his time as Prime Minister, though, he had in common one characteristic which he shares with Boris Johnson, and that was his reliance upon one or a few people who he allowed to have too much influence upon him.  In Tony Blair’s case it was George Bush.  I still find it disturbing watching the old clips of Tony Blair walking in the woods in America with George Bush, with an almost sycophantic, adoring look on his face.  It was the influence his obvious admiration for George Bush had upon him which I believe led to his decision to follow him into the disastrous war in Iraq.  Similarly, we are at the time of writing this (3 October 2019) watching a somewhat hapless Boris Johnson appearing to be trapped in the coils of a disastrous attachment to his adviser, Dominic Cummings.  The Small Intestine, when out of balance, as Boris Johnson’s so obviously is, can indeed lose its ability to sort the pure from the impure, in the case of both these leaders of this country leading to disastrous consequences.

I am always happy to acknowledge that everybody is free to develop their own personal take on the elements, and should indeed do so.  I am therefore sure that some people reading this may well disagree with my diagnosis.  But since I feel a strong affinity with all other Inner Fire people, having the Small Intestine as my particular guardian official, I am quite happy to express my own very personal understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of living my life under the influence of this particular official, and how my personal understanding may be helping me see signs of this in Boris Johnson.

I also like to think that my writing this will help me let off a bit of the indignant steam I feel rising within me as I watch the political shambles unfolding around me.