Yinning Your Yang
A Necessary Balancing Act
“What are these magical herbs doing?” I asked.
“They’re not a sedative,” my acupuncturist explained.
“Then why am I sleeping better?”
He responded by giving me the English translation of the herbal concoction’s Chinese name. My brain must’ve sent out a “nobody’s home” signal. That’s when my acupuncturist dumbed it down for me to three words.
“It’s essentially yinning your yang,” he added.
Thanks to my acupuncturist’s brilliant shorthand, I understood why the herbs worked so well. If the yang part of us, is predominant, the opposing yin—our ability to rest and digest—suffers. Doing, doing, doing rather than being, being, being, might have your yang crowding out your yin. The result is an imbalance. How many of us live at the more depleting end of this polarity?
“Our society values speed and toughness.
There’s so much joy to be felt in slowness and softness.”
~ Ra Avis
I’ve taken those three words, yinning your yang, as a priceless prescription, of sorts, for the rest of my days. It’s all about tempering the go, go, go times with the slow, slow, slow. Striking a better balance between the two is bound to bring more joy and harmony. Sleep might be less elusive, too.
“If you obey all the rules
you miss all the fun.”
~ Katherine Hepburn
What activates that do/go/accomplish yang principle? Is it the “work before play” philosophy? That was a “rule” I adopted at a young age. And Katherine Hepburn was right: I missed a lot of fun. Did you? It’s never too late to either disobey such rules or write new ones. Some families—and cultures—value success and achievements over quality of life.
A few examples of rules that could be re-written:
· Before doing something that requires lots of concentration or an extended amount of time, why not play a game (Wordle and others like it come to mind) or D.D.D. (Do a Daily Dance)? You could toss the tennis ball for your dog to fetch, scratch your cat under its chin, or goof around with a youngster.
· After a “sesh” of physical or brain work without interruption, why not stretch, do some yoga, or meditate before moving on to the next thing on the To Do list?
· At any time, pause and inhale a deep, fill-your-belly breath. If you inhale for a count of four, try exhaling for a count of eight. Prolonged exhalation (i.e. double the length of inhalation) stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and recovery.
I’d like to know what shifts your yang into overdrive? What success have you had with yinning your yang? Please feel free to comment, below, so other readers might benefit from your wisdom on this topic.
Comments on this blog post are welcome — see the bottom of this page. No need to log in, just type your comments in the box, and press "Comment." Your comments will appear pending moderator approval.
Prompts For Joy
Click here for evidence that dancing can yin your yang.
(Thanks for alerting me to this one, Cathy Hauer!)
Click here for beauty and grace in delightful motion.
(Claudette Bergman: you found another winner! Thanks!)
And since we’re on the theme of dancing in these prompts for joy, you can click here to find my Do a Daily Dance playlist.
Click here for all previous Prompts for Joy.
A book-length project requires a heck of a lot of yang energy. I’ve finally finished a first draft! I’m yinning that yang by taking a few weeks away from the manuscript before diving into a first round of editing. Much gratitude to the “village” of folks who’ve offered so much support in this endeavor.
Assembling a Life at a Reduced Price!
I'm channeling my whimsical father: for absolutely no reason whatsoever, Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself) is on sale!
You can buy this quality paperback, featuring a visual feast of Dad's paintings and photos, and a few of my collages, for a reduced price of $22. Sales tax for California residents not included. Media Mail shipping is free. The e-book, via Apple Books, is only $1.99. Go grab yourself a bargain by clicking here.
Click here for a short video about what motivated me to write this book.
Click here for book reviews.
I occasionally share creative endeavors on Instagram. Click here if you'd like to follow me.
About the Photos
Top: Light n Dark/Yang n Yin. Palo Alto, CA. Photo by Martha Clark Scala.
Next: A favorite painting by Geoffrey Clark, featured on the cover of Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself).
Next: Celebrate Deep Sleep. Collage by Martha Clark Scala.
Get the Limb Monthly
If you are not already a subscriber to this Out on a Limb blog, click here to get on my blog mailing list. (It's free, and the blog is sent out monthly.)