The Yang of Your Yin
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Growing up, my sister and I were always “the girls.” We were a duo, a team, always in complementary consort, covering all the bases. Amy was science, I was art. Amy was reason-based, I was emotion. Amy was practical. I was extravagant. But together we were a force. And we shared everything – paper routes, a green Schwinn ten-speed, a bank account, a car, a bedroom and even a bed until we moved away from home!
Somehow, despite our polar differences, we were unified. Our very combined arrival in this world always felt very yin yang to me though I’d never gotten around to truly understanding what that concept specifically meant. Then it came up in a Qigong 5-Day challenge I was doing when Qigong master Lee Holden demonstrated a very cool, spiraling hand motion representing yin and yang. While doing so, he said something along these lines:
The yin yang symbol is a circle, representing the totality. Inside the circle is a white fish with a black eyeball and a black fish with a white eyeball. In that way, yin always has yang within it. Yang always has yin within it.
Inside of that circle the two fish are chasing each other’s tails, creating a vortex, a spiral. In the same way day holds the potential to become night and night holds the potential to become day, there is dynamic energy in this yin yang totality, signifying constant change. Signifying that something is always transforming.
As Lee described this “yin contains yang, yang contains yin” dynamic, I got that déjà vu feeling because not five minutes before starting Day Two of the 5-Day Challenge
, while eating breakfast, I’d come across something writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin had said that was bizarrely similar. As soon as Qigong wound up, I headed straight for my book and found the quote:
“Each of us, helplessly and forever, contains the other – male in female, white in black, and black in white. We are part of each other.”
Yes! It was one of those bliss moments of synchrony that feels like the universe is lining everything up in some meaningful way just for you. Looking for more bliss, I did a little online research to learn more, which is when I found the rest of quote, conveniently not included in the book:
“…Many of my countrymen appear to find this fact exceedingly inconvenient and even unfair, and so, very often, do I. But none of us can do anything about it.”
A very sobering finish to the poetry of the first half. It made me wonder whether yin and yang feel just as stuck with each other in that crowded circle as humans often do. As far as that goes, we don’t exactly always love being stuck with all the parts of ourselves either.
I forged on. With one quote leading to another as they do, a couple of clicks away I wound up on Mother Teresa’s doorstep. She saw the quandary.
“Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other…”
I felt a little sunk reading that. There is such distance from here to there. But hope is in the vortex, the potential for transformation. It can happen so subtly. The older I get, the more I understand how much better it goes for me when I claim all parts of myself. In the end, I have come a great distance from my original self. But can I imagine myself getting big enough to contain the person I wouldn’t vote for? The person I don’t agree with? The person I don’t understand? The totality would suggest I try.
To the totality,