An exploration of emotions using the Five Elements.
In the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Lorelei Lee (played by Marilyn Monroe) is jilted by her millionaire man and left in Paris, penniless. In response, Lorelei, accompanied by her companion (played by Jane Russell), belts out the tune “When Love Goes Wrong, Nothing Goes Right.”
I’ve seen this movie many times, but the last I time I saw it, I started thinking about all the emotions that we experience when love goes wrong.
It is said that love and hate are two sides of the same coin.
When love goes wrong, the warm and tender feelings that once existed are sometimes replaced with frustration and anger at not achieving our desires or expectations; or at not being able to control the unwanted thoughts and feelings that arise in our body-mind.
When love goes wrong, we can experience a myriad of emotions: anger, frustration, despair, worry, anxiety, restlessness, sadness, grief, and love again.
One way of understanding our feelings is to look at the influence the five elements have on our emotions. And to examine the interconnectedness of the elements and emotions within ourselves, and in relationship to others.
From an ancient oriental perspective, the elements and emotions are interconnected through the Five Phase or Five Element cycles.
With the arising of anger, the Wood element moves into excess and can impact the body-mind in three ways: in accordance with the Creation, Destruction and Insulting cycles.
When Wood overacts on Fire on the Creation cycle, the Fire element becomes weakened and our mind is disturbed. Our ability to concentrate may become impaired. We may suffer from dream-disturbed sleep or insomnia, hyperactivity, anxiety, restlessness or palpitations.
An excess of Wood can also insult the Metal element in the Insulting cycle, weakening the Metal element and the lungs, which can reduce our immunity. It also can create breathing problems, or result in sadness and grief.
In accordance with the Destruction cycle, anger, frustration and stress can impact the Earth element, resulting in over-thinking, worry, pensiveness, digestive and bowel problems.
Lastly, when anger is expressed, it can also create more Wood – more anger.
Anger and sadness can have positive effects.
It is interesting to note that sadness or grief can actually be an antidote to anger, in accordance with the Destruction cycle. By cultivating sadness and grief, we can actually transform and dissolve our anger.
The expression of anger is not all bad news though. While it has its negative effects, it can also be a very helpful emotion. Anger is a powerful expression of yang; it causes the qi to rise, producing energy that can be a catalyst for change and personal growth.
So if love has gone wrong for you recently and you are experiencing anger or any other emotion that is causing you to suffer, then accept it, lean into it, and use your experience as an opportunity to grow, change, and love again.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Sarah Qureshi / Editor: Catherine Monkman