Life circumstances (and the Western World) often teach us that to be in control is to be on top of things and therefore achieving (or soon to be achieving). Ie that control = achievement. This belief system can run so deep that it becomes not only our primal drive, but also the sole source of our self-worth.

control = achievement Of course, there is no huge problem with this when we are achieving – but what happens when we can’t? Maybe we have had a major life change like a new baby or have developed a chronic health issue and have unreliable energy or even get the flu and can’t do much for a few days … in reality, there are many times in life when we can’t be ‘achieving’. And even though this is part of the natural flow of life it often feels very uncomfortable. Not like flow at all.

While many people say they want to feel in flow, what they actually mean is they want to feel in control with the benefits of synchronicity and ease happening around them. In fact, true flow means being OK with everything that life throws at us. Even the uncomfortable bits.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses the ‘5 Element Theory’ as a medicinal metaphor. It speaks of the need of maintaining the natural flow of the Shen Cycle, also called the creation cycle, and the Ko, the controlling cycle. Out of balance, the Ko cycle can easily shift into the Cheng / destruction cycle or the ‘insulting’ cycle of Wu.

The 5 Element Theory consists of 5 phases. These phases are each associated with a season and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects as well as such things as time of life and direction and food. Each phase even has associated livestock and heavenly creature. 5 Element Tyheory maintains that flowing through the phases holds the key to balance in the body, mind and spirit.

spring growthThe phases of the 5 Element Theory follow the flow of the seasons and so Spring, which is associated with the energy of Wood (new beginnings, growth and creativity) is followed by Summer. Summer holds the joyful element of Fire, where we blossom and shine. Summer is in turn followed by Late Summer, a time of indecision before the season changes. This is the energy of the element of Earth and is a time to re-group before moving into Autumn and the element of Metal. The element of Metal helps us return to our values, discerning what needs to be released. As we let go we become ready to enter into the stillness of Winter and the element of Water which regenerates and prepares us, once again, for the growth and creativity of Spring. This is the Shen / Flow cycle of life.

When we start to push past natural flow, such as avoiding feelings we don’t enjoy such as grief (Metal) or energies we consider less valuable such as stillness (Water) or reflection (Earth) we start to move into the controlling Ko cycle – when we start to aim for achievement through control – which can rapidly devolve into the chaotic Cheng / destruction Cycle. It can look like trying to grow before we have taken time to prepare which will in turn make us worry about the outcome which then leads us to feeling stuck which then feels empty and unfulfilling so of course we try to ramp up and make it all happen now before we collapse in a heap. Whew! As a kinesiologist I often see people who have fallen into that negative cycle or variations of it.

the chaos of the Ko control Cycle Understanding these cycles helps us understand ourselves. We can see where we may want to push, where we may want to hold back, and where that may lead.

Knowledge of our own patterns opens space for change. Shifting our focus to what we can control (our thoughts, our emotions, our goals) instead of what we can’t (outcomes and other people), we become less likely to step into the destructive cycle/s and their resulting chaos. In the end, by letting go of trying to control the outcome we can actually achieve more. Control does not = achievement.


******** This was written with the intention of helping you to live your best life, I would love to hear your thoughts on this, And if you think someone else would enjoy it please feel free to share it around.

******** And please check out my free stuff on my membership site here! *********

********* if you want to know more about how I can help you Create The Life You Want To Live please do get in touch! ********

Copyright 2023 Gay Landeta, Create The Life You Want To Live. All rights reserved.