There are five phases in TCM: Fire, Earth, Water, Wood, and Metal. We spend so much time talking about the first four that the fifth is taken for granted. It is also true that our society – and people, even friends and family – take these people for granted. They get a bum rap, and frankly, are not treated with respect even when successful. Many times their success is given over to the existence of Autism spectrum. But if they have a bipolar like presentation, Wood isn’t blamed but their are treated as if they have a problem.
Wood is by contrast rewarded, even if the egotism and bellowing is difficult to deal with. People just don’t know how to relate to Metal people. Actually rather than being all cold and calculating, many metal people are highly sensitive and effective folks. They don’t have to be warriors, but they usually choose to protect and to serve. Unlike Wood types it is usually about these things rather than power.
But it is easy to mistake the two. And while we never fault Earth and Fire imbalances – though we should – Metal stagnation (yu) is frequently cited. “you’re constipated” is a common critique, and you know the pejorative version of that!
Metal types do struggle with nerve conduction, with skin, lung, and colon issues, or with flexibility. They can be self-righteous, cold, vindictive seeming, or hard, stubborn, unbendable. But if you’re able to move their energy a little, they can turn this into discipline and become highly effective, and engaging. Charming, even.
Dealing with Metal Yu
It can be difficult to deal with metal stagnant people, it is also difficult (speaking from personal experience) to be one. You create all kinds of internal and external suffering, quite accidentally for the most part, and all sorts of trouble for yourself that you do not mean to. Furthermore, you’re expected to endure it all, mostly without complaint, and you expect it of yourself. The propensity for self-righteousness and a burning desire for justice in the world can be, at times, overwhelming. Therefore, one should look at these types of people, and oneself, with a large amount of compassion, and not a small amount of breathing room.
When it comes to moving your own metal Qi, whether or not you are a metal type, it is recommended to engage regular breathing exercises, stretching, and sweating especially. Sweating is very important to release metal stagnation. On top of that, of course they need to be regular and not constipated, and to have a not-excessive nor too slack consumption of mental activities as well. They need frequent hugs and other physical stimulation as well. Children in particular need to be wrestled and shaped through discipline. Qi gong, Taiji, gong fu, etc. are all good activities.