Posted by: wellness training services | November 8, 2012

The earth element



When we work with the energies of the EARTH element, we are dealing with the development of our conscious connection to the planet. Through a sense of order and the use of reason, awareness of the finite material world is provided

When dealing with our place on Earth, the personality is dealing with its relationship to the opposing forces of fear versus safety, or how secure we feel with others in the world. When issues around security are not dealt with, we will continue to be offered opportunities for breakthrough, breakdown, or breaking with “the old.”

Our work with the EARTH element also addresses our connections to our original family and their authority over us. Emotions may surface that relate to our fear of not getting fair treatment. Lacking trust in people leads us to need to over-control. If, on the other hand, we feel too secure in our world, we tend to get complacent. Here we expect that things are the way we think they should be because that is the way they have always been. We become too set in our ways and reduce our ability to be flexible and adaptable to an ever-changing world.

I recall one engineering firm that I did some training for about twenty years ago when the old established firms had the lead in their industries just because they were established and had longstanding recognition of being good at what they did. However, times were changing: More engineering firms were showing up, and now not only did the companies have to be technically good, but customer service and friendliness were becoming just as important—even more important—than historical reputation. In other words, clients were demanding not just technical competency, but friendly, fast, and fair service.

We tend to gravitate to occupations that suit our natural tendencies. Engineering is an occupation that draws on mechanical skills and “constructive” methods, and that traditionally does not require the honing of social skills—unlike, for example, an occupation in sales, which requires a high degree of social-skills development. One engineer said to me that he felt that taking customers out to lunch was like “kissing ass.” He did not approve of it, nor did he enjoy it.

I showed the group of about one hundred engineers how their personality profiles compared with statistics on typical profiles of engineers. Their profiles matched and fell into the same categories: first preference, physical; second preference, mental; and least preference, social. No one was surprised, and many felt that the social side was not all that important and in some ways childish. The president, however, said that the information I had shared was exactly what he was looking for, and in his closing remarks to the group addressed the subject of complacency. His basic message was: “We cannot stand on past laurels. Times have changed, and complacency is the worst inner sense to have because it prevents you from learning, growing, striving, and ultimately evolving.”

To develop discernment, we need to confront our fears. Ask yourself: “What are the things I am afraid of?” By bringing our fears to the surface, we can look at them and gather the feedback required to address them responsibly. You then can ask yourself: “What can I do to address my fears and achieve a secure place in the world while nurturing and protecting the resources of my community?”



In the movie Jerry Maguire, Jerry collates and hands out his “dream” to his colleagues, then later as he finds only scenes and images of war on television, he suddenly realizes and regrets what he has done. He is embarrassed by his “dream” and having exposed it, and he feels that he has made a fool of himself with his colleagues.

Jerry’s inner Critic spoke up—just as what happens to us when we imagine and think of a dream or a vision for ourselves. We all can hear that voice of our inner Critic:”You can’t have that because you’re not good enough.”

  • “Who do you think you are anyway to even imagine you could have that?” 
  • “What happens when you fail again? What will everyone think?” 
  • “You’re such a goodie-two-shoes and always do what you’re supposed to do, not what you want to do.”

On and on goes the Critic in us as it starts to wear us down, diminish our enthusiasm, and undermine our confidence. When coaching yourself to wellness, it is best to take the bull by the horns and invite in the Critic rather than ignore or resist it. This is a very powerful method for working with the EARTH element (and one of my most important coaching tips to share with others).


This exercise is adapted from some techniques I was introduced to years ago. Rate each of the following statements on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) in terms of your confidence in being able to sustain your efforts over the long haul.

  • The dream/goal is desirable and worth living/achieving.

1              2              3              4              5

  • The dream/goal is possible for me to live/achieve all of the time.

1              2              3              4              5

  • What I have to do to live/achieve the dream/goal is appropriate for me in my life right now.

1              2              3              4              5

  • I have the capabilities necessary to live/achieve the dream/goal.

1              2              3              4              5

  • I deserve to live/achieve the dream/goal and carry it forward.

1              2              3              4              5

What typically happens in a coaching session is that each statement is given a high rating. I will say:

“I see that the ratings are all high, so there must not be a problem in living/achieving this dream/goal. If there is no problem, why have you not lived/achieved this dream/goal in the past?”

Then, I ask for the statements to be reviewed and rated again with this perspective in mind to see what surfaces. Do the same yourself to find what surfaces for you.

For example, you might begin to wonder if it is really possible to live/achieve your dream/goal: “I still have a whole lot of that ‘little-girl’ stuff in me that inhibits me from wanting to play a bigger game on planet Earth. I certainly didn’t have role models to draw on when I grew up in my one-company ‘Leave-it-to-Beaver’ town in the fifties where we were all taught to conform to the status quo.”

Flushing out the Critic’s voice will help you to move forward on your dream/goal. For example: “Now that I acknowledge that ‘little girl’ in me, I can see and consciously address what may block or sabotage me as I move toward my dream/goal. Being more aware of this possibility allows me to make better, more mature decisions on what I want to do to move forward. If I am not conscious of what may block or sabotage me, I am limited in my choices. So I want to become as conscious as possible with the inner workings of my mind to expand my abilities to make choices.”

Continue to invite in the Critic—without second-guessing or censoring yourself. Let it all come out.

  • If I live/achieve this dream/goal, then …


  • It is not possible for me to live/achieve this dream/goal because …


  • I am not capable of living/achieving this dream/goal because …


  • It is wrong for me to want to live/achieve this dream/goal because …


  • I don’t deserve to live/achieve this dream/goal because …


  • Other negative beliefs I have:


The Critic is designed and intends to protect us, but sometimes it overprotects us and prevents us from moving forward. In managing the Critic, we can address obstacles and turn them into action items; or, perhaps we simply need to honor its voice and slow down our process until we are stronger, more ready, have more resources, or whatever. There may be an inner ecological necessity for holding back. Explore and challenge the Critic. Flush it out. What is it trying to say? Pay attention.

We honor the Critic by hearing and respecting its voice, and in so doing it helps us in furthering our AIR-Dreamer work. Now the Critic is at the level of our consciousness, and having it there will give us power and energy to move forward. The Critic is to be valued: Its purpose always has been and is to protect us.


ImageKeep working with the Critic in you and allow yourself to ride the waves it shares. Make a post-it note for each “voice” about why you cannot live/achieve your dream/goal. You may end up with ten or twenty post-it notes to stick on a wall or a flipchart to review and arrange into groups—very likely you will find they are easy to place into three or four general categories. Arrange the post-it notes by categories, then label each category with a post-it note.

As we explore our beliefs around why we cannot live/achieve our dream/goal, we can pinpoint the obstacles that will confront us on our journey and turn these obstacles into steppingstones. Here is an example of the obstacles flushed out by someone we will call “Elaine”.

1. Who do you think you are?

2. We don’t draw attention to ourselves.

3. We suffer; that’s more our style.

4. You’re such a “goodie-two-shoes” immature and unsophisticated person.

5. What will everyone say when you fail?

Two main obstacles that Elaine identified centered on “judgments of others” and “you can’t call it work if you’re not suffering.” These internal voices, designed to serve Elaine in some way, came mainly from her mother and her grandmother, both of whom she said loved her in their way. These were internal programs she carried around within herself that were now outdated, but still driving her life and her choices, and ultimately her results.

Elaine actually is a mature, sophisticated woman who knows herself, but she needed to reprogram herself to learn that failure is nothing but feedback. In guiding her through further exploration of the Critic in her and its voices, her fears around failure diminished.

We started with the questions:

  • Failure according to whom?
  • Failure according to what?

As we worked, Elaine began to understand the Critic in her and from whom and where its voices came. With this greater awareness, she recognized that she had the opportunity to make a more conscious choice about who was running her life. She could take charge of her own life and find ways to alter the internal programs she carried around within herself. She began to realize that she was the main player in the show and drama of her life and that everyone else was just a bit player. She began to learn that she could develop her own personal voice and speak about what was important to her.

We want to use to our advantage the Critic in us and the gift of EARTH’s detailed approach, which strives to conserve energy and protect us by not undertaking unnecessary actions before first getting all of the detailed information required. Now that we have more information, we can start to create some action items, turning obstacles into steppingstones.

It is the FIRE-Realist (Social-Mental) in us that turns obstacles into steppingstones and ultimately into action items. The FIRE-Realist does not see obstacles; it sees only actions and steps to take. If, for example, I were to decide that I will swim to lose weight, the EARTH-Critic in me might say: “You can’t go swimming; you don’t even own a bathing suit!” The FIRE-Realist in me would simply encourage me to beg, borrow, or steal a bathing suit if I need one.

Here is how the FIRE-Realist in Elaine responded to her obstacles once they were surfaced:

1. Who do you think you are?

FIRE-Realist: You’ll find out who you are as you move in the direction of your dream/goal.

  • P/T studies
  • Exercise – swimming 2x / week; go with neighbor
  • Rebounding – 2x / day @ 2 min
  • Circulatory mat work – 2x / day @ 2 min
  • Walk lake road and commune with nature – 3x / wk

2. We don’t draw attention to ourselves.

FIRE-Realist: Look for ways to draw attention to yourself so that you can develop greater confidence along the way.

  • Do more in-class presentations
  • Speak own mind in discussions

3. We suffer; that’s more our style.

FIRE-Realist: When you suffer, use that as feedback that it is time to please and enjoy yourself. We were put on this planet to increase and enliven happiness and joy. Suffering feelings are indicators that you need to find ways to experience happiness and joy.

  • Take more time for reading
  • Give self permission to have fun—re-create in your adult mind that your mother and grandmother give you their permission and also wish they had done so for themselves
  • Take more walks in nature

4. You’re such a “goodie-two-shoes” immature and unsophisticated person.

FIRE-Realist: Thank you for sharing.

5. What will everyone say when you fail?

FIRE-Realist: There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Others can think and say what they like as that is theirprocess; yours is to live your life through your own intentions.


The solid and stable energy of the EARTH element ensures the production of our wealth and our sense of security. Wealth and security are vital to a peaceful and happy life. EARTH people are methodical, thrifty, and practical. They responsibly use grounded energy in their slow and steady progress to acquire stability and security. When balanced, work and leisure go hand in hand. Mature EARTH people respect and value the material world by appreciating the need for conservation and the wise use of resources. They hold a deep concern for the welfare of the community and the planet.

This completes the system of elements and their use—nature’s gift to us:

We need self-awareness, objective frameworks for processing our information, and understanding of our actions and their impact on our lives. And we need to feel balanced and enjoy life—something that only we can achieve for ourselves. We require hardiness and flexibility, and we need to be resilient: Life is a gift, but it also is a challenge—this is how we grow!

An important thing to remember is that desires are always present. These desires, like nature itself, always seek manifestation. Be sure to desire positive, creative, and productive things. Do not do things to “not die;” do things to enjoy living—as a by-product, you will not die.

Analyze stressful situations and find alternative approaches, goals, or strategies once you are more aware of how these situations are affecting you. Become a learner of life and continuously ask what you can learn from every situation. Life is the meaningful co-existence of opposite values. We cannot know one value without experiencing the opposite. A person blind from birth cannot know what darkness is because they have never known light.

According to Dr. Carl Jung, the father of personality typology, the tension of opposites is the very essence of life itself. Without tension, there would be no energy and consequently no personality distinctions—we would all be the same! We cannot appreciate happiness without experiencing unhappiness. We cannot appreciate safety without understanding and knowing about fear. Even with fear comes information. The bottom line is that we cannot understand ourselves without bumping up against the differences in how others think, feel, and do things. This is how we grow. This is how we temper our skills in life. Through life itself, we can become stronger with every interaction. This makes life very dynamic and very exciting: Everything that happens is really only feedback. And what we do with this feedback is strictly up to us!

It is our choice to use tension to create either growth and integration or shattering and disintegration in our lives. The challenge is to use our minds to constantly bring ourselves back to the union of opposites, back into balance. We will always and forever be pulled in many directions as our desires strive to be manifested—this is simply the nature of life.

We all wish for a life that is full of creative and productive results that stimulate internal joy, happiness, and well-being for ourselves. When we achieve balance, internal joy, and feelings of happiness for ourselves, others will naturally be touched and benefit.

Develop self-awareness, stay positive, maintain yourself as the locus of control in your life, and take care of yourself along the way. In so doing, you will be amazed at how situations around you improve!

The aim of life is to consciously apply life’s forces within us—the forces that can be represented by the four elements of AIR, FIRE, WATER, and EARTH, which strive to be expressed maturely to satisfy our needs and desires—to integrate and yoke the mind, body, and spirit together with the two forces of the invisible and the visible.

Desires are natural and healthy, but how we go about satisfying them is a question we must ask ourselves: We are interdependent with one another, and we together must take care of the entire planet if we individually wish to survive.

Apply wisely your four elements of AIR, FIRE, WATER, and EARTH—tools to develop and express maturely within the “human,” or relative, world while tapping into and drawing on the qualities of love and truth within the “being” of the spiritual world; tools to create a world worth living and enjoy the greatest gift of all: life itself.

Tempered: possessing both the hardiness and the flexibility needed to be resilient

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  1. […] Reactions triggered by the feelings help to surface differences for mediation of tensions between the ideas and the actions. This mediation assists in the manifestation of results by being an interface for processing data and preparing the way for the physical distinctions of EARTH. […]

  2. […] simplify, take a three-sided triangle with the Mental Side, The Social Side, and the Physical Side — each side taken together creates a whole system for […]

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