Part 5: End Teen Defiance – the 5th Element

I Am: To your other question, Tiev, who are you? You are a divine creation.

Tiev: My family said, ‘This you cannot be!’ replied Tiev, her back  now straighter and taller.

I Am: Tiev, do not let others define what they did not create. Look at your name: T-I-E-V, Treasure In Earthen Vessel. You are a very special treasure, remember this now and forever.

Tiev: Me? A treasure? 

I Am: Yes, Tiev! You knew this but you forgot. Many people forget how valuable they are.

from My Forgotten Self: A Story about a Girl, a Powerful Encounter, and a Universal Message by Lynyetta G. Willis, PhD


The Power of the 5th Element

Various traditions have many names for what I call the 5th Element – Spirit, Soul, Brahman, Aether, Christ Consciousness, Akasha, God-within,Goddess-within, Atman,Yhwh, and Chi, just to name a few.  Other words used to represent the 5th element are energy, no-path, unity, presence, Being itself, force, wise mind, Self, and principle. Personally, I also use the phrase, “highest wisest Self.” Like water, air, and fire, the symbolism of the 5th element can assist in the evolution of ourselves and our relationships. 

My Path to the 5th Element

In 2010, I had a mystical experience that led to the writing of my book, My Forgotten Self: A Story about a Girl, a Powerful Encounter, and a Universal Message (quoted above). The underlying message embedded in this children’s tale is that regardless of what we may be led to believe, we are powerful spiritual beings capable of more than we could ever imagine. 

When I wrote this story, I was surprised by this message because it wasn’t even close to anything I’d been taught in my childhood faith tradition. As a result, I felt like a lonely mystic on the mountain but I knew I couldn’t be the only person who’d been given this insight. It was then that the explorer within me was activated and I began searching for my new tribe. Those whose perspective about what I call, God, carried them in the direction I found myself walking. 

Presently, I do not believe the 5th element is connected to any one religion.  When I speak of the 5th element, I am speaking of that aspect of our essence that encompasses what I believe we truly are — spirit. 

[Hey! If you’re not comfy with the word, “spirit,” that’s okay. Fill in a word that connects you to your inner wisdom! If you can’t think of one, scroll up to the top of this post and try on a few of those words for size 😀

I often use the four elements to represent our thoughts, feelings, body or physical sensations, and actions; however, though we have thoughts, feelings, a body, and behaviors, we are none of these things. To exemplify this further, I tell my children that we are like astronauts; our bodies, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are our space suit and it’s components. They support us while we live and breathe on this planet. One day, we’ll take them off and move on as the spiritual beings we are. 

The 5th Element In Action   

When we view ourselves and our family in the following ways, we can use the symbolic power of the 5th element to connect deeper to ourselves and those we love:

1.The answers we seek regarding how to engage our family are within us. The reason it doesn’t seem to be this way is because our “stuff” often drowns out the “still small voice” of our highest wisest Self.  This is why much of what I help my clients do is deal with their “stuff” that gets in the way of doing what otherwise comes naturally to most of us — CONNECT with ourselves and others.   

2. Tapping into our 5th element can help us get super clear on what within us needs our healing energy. After working with countless families, I was (pleasantly) surprised to realize that client questions like, “how do I get my kids to eat peas?” or “how do I stop the fighting between me and my husband?” actually had muuuuuch deeper roots. And these roots, more often than not, U-turned us right back into their internal landscape and towards questions like, “why am I so afraid?” or “why am I so angry?”  

3. When we accept the idea that we have high wise Self, we can discern when we’re tapped into it and when we’re not. Let me get real for a second; there are times when I know what I should do or say (or not do or not say) but there’s a part of me that doesn’t give a shoot about the should’s and in those moments, when I’m not tapped in, I often react more than I mindfully act. Can ya relate? This has definitely happened with my kids and husband more than I’d care to admit. Looking back, I can see that in those moments I was not connected to my highest wisest Self. 

4. Ultimately, we can use the power of our 5th element to become centered in our highest wisest Self.  Creating our centering pathway or a personal centering process helps us deal with the triggers, traumas, and stories that disconnect us from our highest wisest Selves, our children, and others we love. Isolated parenting or relationship strategies that we keep forgetting are easier to recall once they become part of our unique process or centering pathway that helps us get centered faster.  This pathway is more than just meditation or yoga techniques, it’s a personalized process we can create and rely on when times get tough.  Also, when we help our children to develop a centering pathway for themselves, they become less dependent on reactive strategies like putting up hard earth walls or starting 5-alarm fires.  

5. About 3 years ago, I told my friends that I had a dream of replacing the word “parenting” with the phrase “soul-tribe empowerment.” I didn’t publicly because I knew people would have NO CLUE what I meant by that…lol.  But here I’ll explain. I like to believe that the purpose of our relationships is to help us grow in this life. Even those who bring us pain, on a soul level, are opening a door for our personal evolution. When I think of my children or my husband through the lens of the 5th element, I see them as part of my soul tribe, here to teach and empower me (and me them). During those tense family moments, I try to envision their souls offering me an evolution invitation.  This perspective allows me to feel more patient and sometimes even grateful towards them during those tense moments.

How Can the 5th Element Help You and Your Family?

Earth, Air, Water, and Fire are all energies that can be used in helpful and in not-so-helpful ways.  Like I always say, fire can be used to warm a family or burn down their house. When we ask ourselves, “how can I bring the power of the 5th element to my fire (actions) in this moment?” We’re essentially asking “how can I consciously take action through my highest wisest Self in this moment?”  or “How can I tap into God(dess)-within to determine my next step?”  

But how do we know when we’re tapped into our 5th element? Dr. Richard Schwartz suggests that there are 8 qualities that we experience when we’re connected to our highest wisest Self: Compassion, Curiosity, Calm, Clarity, Courage, Connectedness, Confidence, and Creativity.  Think about how the actions of you, your child, or even your partner differ when you experience one of the aforementioned 8 qualities as opposed to some of their opposites: Resentful or Bitter, Rigid certainty, Agitated or Angry, Confused, Fearful, Disconnected, Powerless, and Hopeless.

Tapping into our 5th element is very helpful when we find ourselves triggered, overwhelmed, or confused during a tense family moment. When you stop, get still, ask your highest wisest Self for guidance and wait, you may be surprised at what arises. 

Try this!  The next time you experience a tense moment in your family. Check-in and see if you’re feeling one of the 8 C’s or their opposites. If you’re experiencing one of the opposites, stop and ask your highest wisest Self, what you need to shift in that moment.

Bonus point! Journal about your thoughts on the 5th element. What words do you use to describe the 5th element? — God? Spirit? No path? What do you need to tap into your 5th element? What do the ideas I posed about the 5th Element bring up in you? What works for you and what would you shift so the 5th Element works for you?

If you’re thinking: 

“this sounds great! But I’m not sure how to tap into my highest wisest Self during those tense family moments.” 

or “I’m finding my ‘stuff’ is really getting in the way and I’m not sure what to do about it.”

or, “how do I create my personalized centering pathway?” 

Then let’s hop on a call and chat about it!

Ya know I love hearin’ from ya!



Ps Stay tuned! In my next and final post of this series, I will talk about how the Earth element can help us to evolve ourselves and our relationship with our teens. While Earth (e.g. boundaries, limits, consequences etc) are often where parents expect me to start, I find it most helpful once we’ve already established a connection (water), got clear on the stories we’re telling ourselves (air), and sparked ways to join our kids through their passions and motivations (fire). 

Pss If you’re a bit behind, don’t worry! You can click the links below to catch up. And don’t hesitate to post your comments or send me an email to lemme know whatcha think :-).

<— Part 1: End Teen Defiance – Introduction

<— Part 2: End Teen Defiance – Pour Water

<— Part 3: End Teen Defiance – Blow Air

<— Part 4: End Teen Defiance – Spark Fire

*** Part 5: End Teen Defiance – the 5th Element

Part 6: End Teen Defiance – Till Earth —>


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Hi, I'm Lynyetta

I'm a psychologist and family empowerment coach for self-aware women and their families.