The Movement of Yin and Yang

Fairbanks, Alaska

In Chinese Medicine we have this concept of Yin and Yang. The traditional definition of Yin is the shady side of the mountain, and Yang the sunny side of the mountain. The Yin is receptive, still, slow moving, dark while the Yang is fast moving and light. Often people talk of the Yin being feminine and the Yang being masculine. However, we all need a balance in Yin and Yang within whether we are a man or a woman.

Last night I had an experience that took me to different kind of experience of Yin and Yang. I’m in Alaska teaching Qigong weekends and I took a couple of days to travel to Fairbanks Alaska to take the last few days of March to view the Aurora Borealis. That’s right, the Aurora Borealis.

For those of you who don’t know the details, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights can be viewed between November to March each year. Supposedly, the light display is stronger every 11 years and that would have been 2013. I was very lucky the other night though. I had looked outside at 11:30 and saw the brightness of the stars in the sky and thought that it was enough to just see such a beautiful night sky.

At 12:30 at the B&B there was a commotion in the hallway and people moving to the outside porches. The sky had a sliver of green lining in the North. It started to remind me of a Rothko painting where the middle line separates one kind of light from another. Then the sliver became wider and lighter and started to take up more of the sky. Next there was a shimmering in the sky as it widened to the east and west and then started to take up the sky above. The light of the sky was dancing above me. I felt so in awe that nature could make something so exquisite and enchanting to behold.

Then it was over after an hour and the sky became again dotted with the lights of the stars. I lay in bed, now at 1:30 AM thinking about the wide sky and wondering about the light within the dark. It’s enough to see the stars above. But knowing that within the darkness that there can be bursts of light made me wonder how we feel the light and dark within ourselves. It is almost too simple to speak of the shady and sunny side of the mountain. It is much more that our dark, receptive yin is like the night sky speckled with light flashes of the stars; and sometimes if we wait within the yin, we can experience an opening to a wider expanse of bold brighter hues of light that we can only find in our depth.

I wonder if allowing that movement within will open a huge expanse. If I find it, I’ll let you know. Better yet, you let me know if you find it.


Ode to Spring

I woke up this morning to snow falling outside my window. It has been a very long Winter with our first snow in November and hopefully our last snow fall of at least 5 inches outside my door today, falling just days before the Spring Equinox. In my work where I’m finding out the things causing dis-ease in a person, for the last few weeks we have had to talk about the weather. It is difficult when a season has more intensity in the heat or the cold, and that the time extends beyond our expectations.

One thing is pretty certain: spring will follow winter. And while we have had plenty of snow days and opportunities for peace and quiet, within the next few weeks the temperature will be rising and the forsythia, my favorite sign of spring, will be in full bloom. The buds will be on the trees, and the fresh green leaves will be bursting forth. It’s exciting and it requires that we match the movement in nature.

The season is all about new growth, new beginnings, and new projects. So the question is what will be your way of growing in this season? What direction do you want to go in? What are your dreams that excite and inspire you to move in a new direction? Will it be at work, in your relationship, in your spiritual life, in your creative project, with your children? It can be a very exciting moment to stand in realization of the place you are choosing to go. Feel it and go forward. Not blindly, but with all the depth that you have acquired in this very long, cold winter.

If you feel uninspired at the moment, wait a week and plan some walks to let nature inspire you in your next steps. Now is the time to move more in any case. Find an activity outside that you have been longing to do. Or decide you will commit to yourself by taking a qigong class or yoga class. Whatever, you decide remember that it is totally in keeping with what is happening in nature.

Have a delightful spring.