Since I was a child, insights always came to me as pictures first and words second. As a result, I often speak in metaphors to help me describe what I’m “seeing” in my mind. The four elements as a metaphor for the Elemental LivingTM Parenting and Personal Leadership Model was not something I set out to develop, but I must admit that I LOVE working with it! For my clients and myself, this model has simplified the chaos that is often a part of the parenting journey. The Elemental LivingTM model can help you feel more confident, and less overwhelmed during those high stress moments. There are three main reasons why the elements work as a metaphor to help you feel more confident and less overwhelmed during those high stress moments:
Elements are universal: I don’t care if you are in Nebraska or Zimbabwe, if you are on this planet, the four elements act and respond the same way; water flows, air blows, fire burns, and earth holds. The familiarity of the elements give us a universal language through which we can communicate. This universality and common understanding of how the elements co-exist, also makes the Elemental Living Model TM easy to use in our relationships with others (especially families).
Elements are balanced: Elements (or really, any aspect of nature) are always moving in balance with one another. Like a beautiful dance, shifting one element will impact another. For instance, a hard rain can re-structure the earth; a soft wind can fan a flame or extinguish it; and firm earth can contain or direct water. Similarly, we can use the metaphor of the elements to help us shift our bodies, relationships, minds, and spirits towards a balance that feels good in the moment.
Elements are intuitive: In addition to being universal, the structure and function of the elements metaphor also make them feel intuitive. When my first child threw his first toddler tantrum in public, I felt flustered, embarrassed, angry, and shamed. All my academic “knowledge” on how to deal was buried beneath my emotions (or burned up by the fury of my anger). So, I did what I was conditioned to do through my childhood, I got angry, *maybe* a little loud, and dragged myself and my child out of the store…ugh! Had I used the elemental model, I would’ve realized that my child was deep in his fire element and the best way to deal with overfunctioning fire was not more fire, but with water or air.
The beautiful thing? Unlike the knowledge from so many other parenting books and blogs you’ve read and forgotten, the Elemental LivingTM model will not be buried beneath your emotions like mine were. Instead of just connecting to (and reacting through) your anger and your shame, you will have intuitive access to necessary information that will help you naturally connect with yourself and your child…beautiful, right?
So let’s begin playing with the model in your life. When was the last time your child was deep in his/her fire element? Did you bring more fire (anger), hard earth (harsh firmness), flowing water (compassion), soft earth (kind limits) or maybe something else? What did you want to bring?