Living Intuition

The Elements of Personal Brilliance
by Aureal Williams. BSN, RN, LMT

In an instant, we recognize the dreamy, intuitive, water personality, the abstract thinking, spacey air personality, the grounded, practical, "just the facts" earth type, and the dramatic, true believer, fire personality. Empedocles, a Greek philosopher from the Fifth Century, BC, is the first documented writer to associate these four basic "roots," as he called them, to the human experience. Some 2500 years later, Jim Canterucci brings this knowing into a new framework of Personal Brilliance for maximizing human potential. In the elements of Jim Canterucci's Personal Brilliance, Awareness equates with the element of water, Curiosity with air, Focus with earth and Initiative with fire.

Appreciating the elemental core of each Personal Brilliance catalyst helps a person own the energy as an organic, inner experience, an innate part of his or her being. The added perspective of elemental quality amplifies the depth of the challenges we face when manifesting the Personal Brilliance catalysts into everyday habits. The Personal Brilliance Advisor can help the client grasp her basic signature by noticing which Personal Brilliance catalyst, or element, she over uses and which catalyst she tends to avoid. Understanding his elemental nature, a client can see the life challenge for what it is and move through core blockages associated with integrating the particular brilliance of that catalyst.

You can find out how brilliant you already are by taking the online Personal Brilliance Quotient (PBQ) at This quick, online assessment gives you a picture and description of how you interact with the four catalysts.

A closer look at each of the Personal Brilliance catalyst/element associations follows.

Awareness relates to water - About awareness, Jim Canterucci writes,
"Your mind and body have built-in sensors that give you an incredible capacity to take in information, sort and process it and either store or delete it. Water, representing the qualities of intuition and inner wisdom, permeates, saturates and refreshes us. An object has to be specially treated to be water-resistant. Our intuitive self, therefore, is an information sponge. In a flash, we know if there is connection and this first hit tells us if it is worthwhile to absorb more or move on.

Jim also writes that awareness is about being alive. We have life on planet earth because of water; this element is the very fluid of life, externally for life sustenance and internally, for life awareness. The natural element of water, and its corresponding capacity of awareness, allows us to stay fluid with the potency of each present moment - it keeps our boat afloat.

relates to air - In the Personal Brilliance chapters on curiosity, Jim Canterucci writes, "In terms of innovation, questions come in two basic forms - wonder and doubt." These two words describe a full spectrum of the element of air.

Wonder is like magic. We are intrigued to explore beyond what is visible to the naked eye. How does that work? How does that happen? If I take it this far, what happens next? All of these questions pertain to the wonder spectrum of curiosity, or air element. With this catalyst, something resonates an inner possibility process and we want to take it a step further; we want to investigate and learn more.

Doubt represents a counterpoint to wonder on the spectrum of curiosity. Here, we do not take another's word for something; we check it out for ourselves. The quality of doubt, as it relates to curiosity and the air element propels us into our own inner authority as we explore what has been said, done, or denied. As Jim writes in Personal Brilliance, doubt propels many discoveries and inventions. With curiosity and the element of air, we see beyond existing form and into what may be possible, if we only explore.

The butterfly effect relates to when the flapping wings of a butterfly in Brazil sends a breeze through the atmospheric currents and affect the weather in Texas. Air, as natural element, connects our planet in a unified experience as it swirls currents across continents. Therefore, too, do the currents of air, as inner experience, connect us to the whole. The air that swirls the currents of curiosity leads each of us to explore those key pieces, whether through wonder or doubt, of our contribution to the whole of life on earth.

Focus relates to earth - How do we ground what surfaces through awareness and curiosity? How do we choose what gives our life substance? These are questions for earth, or focus, energy. Focus represents holding a possibility close to heart, to give it life.

Focus, or earth energy, equals an unconditional embrace. What is possible here, what wants to take form, or be reformed? As Jim writes in Personal Brilliance, Focus provides a 360-degree view. With this wide lens angle, we learn how to create form out of the formless. This capacity takes patience. While the intuitive awareness of water is instant and the curiosity factor of air is like quicksilver, earth energy is slow, as eons of geological change demonstrate. To have focus one must have the patience and stamina to embrace the potential as long as it takes to birth something and make it real.

Initiative relates to fire - It is fire that combusts inertia into action. Love, energy, belief, and courage are all aspects of the element of fire. To take initiative on that which is ours to do requires all of these capacities.

In the Personal Brilliance chapters on Initiative, Jim writes, "Pursuing a goal that's in conflict with your value system is kind of like trying to squeeze your feet into shoes that are a size too small." We cannot get very far if our shoes do not fit and lack of alignment between what we do and what we believe does not propel us forward, either. When we do not believe in what we are doing,
inertia and, sometimes, procrastination show up instead of action.

Fire energy also relates to self-esteem and when we lack self-value, we tend to disbelieve ourselves. In these cases, fear and worry take over. As Jim writes in Personal Brilliance, fear and worry are detriments to initiative. We cannot do what we do not believe. Fire represents the burning passions of our lives, what fuels us, as in the Ayurvedic understanding of fire in the belly, the Agni that helps us digest life.

Excesses & Deficiencies

In the application of elemental theory, there is a perspective of looking at the personality through the lens of excess or deficiency within each element. This approach is used extensively in the elemental theory of Chinese medicine, and it can be of benefit to Personal Brilliance Advisors too, when working with clients to achieve full capacity living.

The following table represents examples of excesses and deficiencies related to the elemental component of each Personal Brilliance catalyst.

PB Catalyst
Acute discomfort with emotional expression; resists introspection; foreign to intuitive experience; over-influenced by others
Over-emotional; easily distracted from task at hand; whiney; stuck in the feeling state
Fluid, responsive, personal boundaries clear and firm; strong self-knowledge. Poetic
Refuses to consider other perspectives, other options; mind closed; resists inquisitiveness Spacey, flights of fancy; only abstract thinking, avoids concrete thinking Open to communicate in reciprocal exchanges - like the breath, in and out; capacity to imagine the future while staying current with the present reality.
Resistant to exercise and money management; not grounded in life's practicalities; cloudy, confused; lack of discernment Rigid approach to exercise; stringent money management - nothing frivolous; has to see to believe. Flexible, adaptable, accomplishing; patient, tolerant.
Resists creative expression; shy to a fault; low self-esteem; lack of personal faith; fear and worry. Stormy, dramatic; rageful; unforgiving; demanding; irritable; arrogant Creative, artistic, inclusive, gracious, appreciative. Fulfilling.



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