Book Review: “The Five Elements” by Dondi Dahlin
Posted on January 24, 2017
For years I’ve been struggling with the notion that I am supposed to be, in the ancient Chinese “five element” system, an Earth element (or rhythm) person. This was indicated by a quick muscle test method that should have worked.
I hated the idea. I kicked and screamed over it. How could I be?? But by others I was convinced. Still, I don’t have children and never wanted them: I’m not the “earth mother” type that’s sometimes described for Earth element people, but I do like to encourage people to become their best selves through my books and healing practices. Is that nurturing? And I have suffered from uterine fibroids, a typical Earth rhythm ailment, making me (when younger, before they shrank a bit) look like a Mother Goddess statue from antiquity, as one young man pointed out. So I’ve been living under this idea ever since, reluctantly.
Well, this book has liberated me!! I am ecstatic! The thorough descriptions helped, but more importantly, the comprehensive self-tests, questionnaires, and checklists nailed it. I took the tests, read the descriptions, and was able to definitively declare that my rhythm–my true, happy, quirky self–moves first and primarily in the flow of Water, and shockingly next with the stomping confidence of WOOD! (secondary rhythm), followed by the enthusiastic combustion of Fire (tertiary or third rhythm), with only the occasional drift into the deep compassion of Earth nurturing (fourth).
I’m still reading and absorbing the wonderful stories from the author’s colorful life as belly dancer, actress, mother, and daughter of a world-famous healer (Donna Eden). And I haven’t yet made my way to the rich storehouse of info about children’s rhythms. But I now know why I have always walked like a Wood (not an Egyptian).
I thought I simply learned that from my mother, who loved to start wordy, shouting fights. She was the Wood, thought I, trying to force myself into the “Earth” mold years ago. (That takes on new meaning — earth mold — but that is indeed how it felt to put myself into the wrong psychological box, moldy!!) I am not one who backs down easily, and I will always speak up for my rights, or others’. It’s odd because I love to dance, and my kinds of dancing are graceful, not stomping. But moving off the dance floor? Stomp, stomp, stomp. Haha! Wow, even my secondary element explains so much about who I am. I’m so grateful to this book!
Understanding that Water is my primary way of relating to and moving in the world has answered so many other questions and dilemmas for me. I feel like someone opened my cage and said, “Yes! Be yourself! It is a very legitimate way to be! You are not crazy! You simply move through life in a way that others may not.”
Second to understanding myself is the breaking light of “Ah ha!” regarding friends and family. “No wonder!!” I keep exclaiming. I will be forever grateful to Dondi Dahlin for sharing her own stories of discovery and for completing the painstaking work to accurately depict the Five Elements of ancient tradition. And to come up with self-tests that have proven, in my experience, far more effective than taking someone else’s word for it.
If you love to discover what makes your own heart tick, you’ll love this book!