Monday, October 20, 2014

Yin Yang of Play doh

Months ago Luci and I were playing with play dough, at the time, her favorite thing to do. We were using Green & Pink, but as I sat with her and squeezed the two colors in my hands and watched them blend, it occurred to me that this was a very good example of how Yin and Yang are not separate, that one is contained within the other.

Just for fun, here's a visual of play doh as Yin/Yang. 

In this first photo, you can see them, separate, but each containing the other.By the way, did you know that this is the correct representation of the Yin/Yang symbol? Yang (white) at the top because it is light and tends to rise, and Yin at the bottom, and it is heavier and tends to sink. You'll see many variations on this out there, but this is the accurate representation.

Here they are beginning to blend.....

And now there is no separation, one is the other.

You can read my previous posts on Yin Yang here:

Yin Yang & The Four Seasons
Yin Yang & Personal Balance
Yin Yang & Parenthood
Yin Yang in the Home

If you enjoyed this series, you can follow me on twitter  or like my facebook page to be notified when new articles are posted.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yin Yang in the Home

If you're seeing that Yin Yang theory is about balance, you're catching on.

In the home, we seek a balance of Yin Yang as well, but this balance will look different in each room. Generally, the use of the room will indicate whether it's more Yin in Yang.

Bedrooms should be more Yin. Lighting should be subdued, bedding soft, and inviting, colors subdued. All things in the bedroom should suggest a quiet, restful space.

Kitchens are more Yang. Fire energy is strong in the kitchen due to the stove's influence, and this brings the aliveness and energy needed to create nourishing foods. Lighting should be bright in task areas to make food preparation easy.

Office Spaces should be tailored to the kind of work being done there. Work that requires quiet and reflection (such as mine) should have a more Yin environment. Work that is more energetic, such an office space where multiple people collaborate, would suggest a more Yang feeling. 

Reading rooms and studies should be generally more Yin, quiet, with a subdued feeling lending itself to focus, but with appropriate task lighting over work areas. 

This is fairly intuitive, but it's worthwhile to take a look at the rooms in your home and see if they reflect their use well, or could use some tweaking. 

Thank you for joining me this week. If you are enjoying this series on Yin Yang, please check back for more articles. You can also Like my Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter  and you will be notified when new articles are posted. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yin Yang and Parenthood

Parenthood has been the dominant feature in my life for the last 10 years. In the early days of mothering my first daughter, a friend and I (whose daughter is the same age) discussed the changes these little people had wrought in our lives.

Gone were the days of sleeping in (sleeping at all?), staying out late with friends, quiet moments with our husbands, with ourselves, the relative freedom to come and go and we chose. Replacing this were these delightful, sometimes overwhelming bundles of so much sweetness, love, cuddles, sometimes tears, and often just downright fun silliness. 

To me this is such a good example of the waxing and waning of different cycles of our lives. If we think of Yang as daylight and Yin as darkness for this, example we can see that early Parenthood is Daylight (Yang) for sweet cuddly wonderfulness, childlike play, wonder, very full days and sometimes fuller nights, artwork everywhere (even walls), laundry, dishes and so much more. And early Parenthood is Darkness (Yin) for sleep, alone time, time with spouse, time for hobbies and other personal pursuits. 

But gradually this shifts back and we start to see more balance, more sleep, fewer diapers, more time on that project, less time tying shoes and wiping noses. And it what seems to some of us like the blink of an eye, our Yin and Yang are reversed. We're Yang on sleep, alone time, date nights and Yin for time with these small people who suddenly have lives of their own that include us less.

None of this is good or bad, there is richness and beauty in all of it, and ultimately, balance. It's sometimes comforting to look at balance over a long curve, not over the course of a day, or even a week, but just to recognize how it can happen over the course of our lifetime.

I think my friend Mark said it best regarding parenthood: "We'll be so glad when we're not crunching cheerios under our feet with each step, and we'll be so sad, when we're not crunching cheerios under our feet with each step."

Thank you for joining me this week. If you are enjoying this series on Yin Yang, please check back for more articles. You can also Like my Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter  and you will be notified when new articles are posted. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Revisiting the Psychology of Clutter

Several years ago I wrote a post about clutter and why we sometimes hold on. It can be found here, if you're interested in taking a peak.

Right now, I'm revisiting this topic both in my life and on this blog. As we approach spring, and, quite frankly, are a little stir crazy with cabin fever from this long, colder than average winter, my family has decided it's good time to do some clearing out. 

Some of the things we're sorting through are still boxed from our original move east, 11 YEARS AGO. Wow. 

There are a few reasons why these thing have sat for so long. A lot of them were books. We didn't bring our bookshelves with us when we moved here, they weren't great and we thought we'd look for some better ones rather than move them 3000 miles. And then life got busy as we settled into a new area, and then new parenthood, and we didn't. Now, finally, we have some decent bookshelves, and we're unearthing books that, guess what, no longer fit our lives. Massage texts from a career I'm now longer pursuing, theater audition books from a hobby I don't currently have time for, and don't see getting back to anytime soon. Some I have no idea why I kept to begin with.

Yesterday, we sorted through 4 boxes and took more than half away for donation. In part, it was a practical issue of not having space to store what we unpacked, until just now. But I will also say that it was a fairly intense process to dive into those boxes and meet the past. I was reminded of who I was and left behind, in a big way, when I moved here. Of parts of my life that I miss, and parts that I'm glad to see the other side of. Some vestiges of trips I've taken (travel books) and of those I'm still dreaming of.

I found a small journal that was made for me, full of wishes from the guests at my bridal shower, on the eve of my marriage almost 17 years ago. There were sweet notes from both mothers, both now passed on, and from friends who I was once close to and have not kept up with. Notes wishing me equal happiness in my marriage as theirs, from friends now divorced. And notes from friends still close and dear, and oh so much younger.

Moving through these items isn't always easy, but worth it because, for me at least, it feels like creating space for the me who exists now, and the me to come. I am both the same girls who packed all of these boxes 11 years ago, and someone quite different. Sometimes it takes letting go of what once was, or what was expected, to make space for what is and will be.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Yin/Yang, finding your own personal balance

Each of us has our own unique set point for what balance looks like to us.

 Some of us are more extroverted (Yang), outgoing, and crave a lot of contact with the external world, while others of us are introverted (Yin), internal, and require quiet and solitude to thrive.

For most, some combination of the two is what works best, and life feels best when we're living in that sweet spot. Creating a balanced home environment is also very much about determining what balance looks like to you. 

When I lived on the West Coast, where the sun shines more than not, I looked forward to the occasional cloudy, rainy day as a time to slow down and pull inward. Now that I live in Upstate New York, where it is overcast much of the time, I find myself seeking the sun. 

But we don't need to be dependent on weather to create either kind of energy. Perhaps take some time this week to get clear about what kind of balance might be needed in your life, and in your personal space. 

If things have been hectic and busy, it might be time to pull in, slow down and carve out some down time. If you've had your nose to the grindstone, so to speak, perhaps you could use a break in the form of social time with friends, or a night out with your partner.

Balance isn't always about having everything just right on a daily basis, so much as it is making minor (or sometimes major) adjustments as we go along, tuning in to what might help us thrive more at any given time.

Thank you for joining me this week. If you are enjoying this series on Yin Yang, please check back for more articles. You can also Like my Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter  and you will be notified when new articles are posted. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yin Yang and the Four Seasons

In my first article on Yin Yang, I listed some things that could be associated with Yin or Yang. Today I'd like to relate this concept to the Earth's Seasons.

Yin Yang is a beautifully, simply illustrated in our four seasons. All earthly things have a life cycle, and we can look to the natural world and see this illustrated quite clearly. 

The western hemisphere is currently experiencing winter, which has a strong Yin quality. It's colder, a little quieter, a lot of plant life has died off or become dormant, and our days can take on a more inward quality. Despite all of this, each day we are moving more toward the more Yang phase of the year. The days are getting gradually lighter and longer. 

As we move into Spring, we see more of a balance between Yin and Yang. Temperatures are warmer, plant life awakens or begins to sprout and grow again. We can hear more animal life as birds return from warmer climes and hibernating mammals wake.The days and nights become more equal.

Summer is peak Yang. It's hot, and bright. Plants bloom, and put forth fruit. The world seems more lively, more awake. Animals are busy, people also. We are outward, soaking up the sunshine. The days are long and the nights relatively short.

As Autumn arrives, we see more balance between Yin and Yang again as Yin begins to take hold once more. Decay sets in. Temperatures are cooler. Many plants have reached maturity and are dying off, the season of frost sets in and this finishes off the life cycle of many growing things. Leaves fall. Days and nights are equal.

And we return to winter and the cycle continues.

Thank you for joining me on this short journey of Yin Yang through the seasons.

This is the second of a short series of articles on Yin/Yang. If you enjoyed today's article, please check back for more articles. You can also Like my Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter  and you will be notified when new articles are posted.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yin Yang, an Introduction

This is the first of a short series of articles I've written about Yin/Yang. You can check back here once a week for new articles , follow me on Twitter , or like my facebook page to be notified when new articles are posted. 

Yin Yang, meaning in simplified terms, balance or infinite paradox, is a predominant concept in both Feng Shui and Chinese philosophy. 

For me this has been a useful topic to explore as I navigated some challenging aspects of life. 

We can think of Yin in the following terms:

Yin is:


And Yang in the following terms:
Yang is: 


One cannot exist without the other, they are perfect balance together. The Taiji symbol above shows also, that they are not separate, one contains the other.

If this isn't something you've thought much about in these terms, it may seem a bit out there, but bear with me. Over the next few weeks I'll be using some real life examples to demonstrate Yin Yang. 

If you enjoyed today's article, please check back for more articles. You can also Like my Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter  and you will be notified when new articles are posted.