Finding that essential balance in life
The concept of yin and yang is used a lot in contemporary language, but the beauty and breadth of this concept is not always fully understood. Yin and yang can serve to guide and give us a framework for virtually anything life serves up. It's especially useful when approaching the inescapability of life's transitions, to create transformation in our lives.
According to this ancient concept, everything in life cycles through a growing and dying phase, where mutual opposites melt into each other through the cycle of life: moving into being, rising to its highest potential, moving down toward dissolution, then into the complete opposite. A perfect example is day into night, full night, night into day, full day. The symbol of yin yang illustrates this principle by showing the circles of the opposite dark/light in each of the other (i.e., there is a little dark in light and vice versa). In other words, it's an evolution from light to dark and dark to light.
And that correlates with the universal principle that we are always in transition of one sort or another, no matter how subtle.
This is the rhythm of life, of the universe. We are wise to both move and harmonize with it, allowing change to occur, while simultaneously making active choices along the way.
Change gives us the opportunity to examine our lives - to look at how we are flowing with it. If we do not do this, then life happens to us, and we feel out of control. When change occurs, be it gradual or sudden, our job (even when it's earth-shatteringly difficult) is to allow the process - a process we participate in, that permits the change to reap its highest benefits for us, grace us with a life lesson worthy of learning.
Key is the idea that change is inevitable, and we must adapt ourselves to it, yet be active in how this change affects us. As always, how we deal with it is a matter of choice.
Change offers us an opportunity to redesign some aspect(s) of our lives by making different choices and seeing opportunities. Ironically, accepting the unavoidable nature of change allows us to both create and participate in change and still go with the flow - the yin and yang that is assuredly part of everything.
Given that, by nature, we hate change (because it feels scary and threatening), how are we supposed to do this? I have some tips:
- Learn to accept change as inevitable. Refusing to accept this is like refusing to accept that day moves into night. Fighting against it is exhausting.
- Realize that you do have control over your reaction to change and what you tell yourself.
- Change doesn't happen to you, it happens - that's an important distinction. When you realize it is a part of the flow, the yin and yang of life, it will de-personalize it and help you feel less like a victim
- Be compassionate with yourself, but push yourself just until you feel uncomfortable. I know that change is, in and of itself, uncomfortable, but how well you deal with the new scenario really depends on your ability to flex that muscle of doing things differently - and that will probably start out as being uncomfortable.
- It's OK to ask for help. At the same time, realize that there is changing that needs to go on inside of you that only you can do. By staying aware of yourself and your thinking in the present moment, you can navigate the change with grace and growth.
- As much as you can, look to use the change as an opportunity to transform something related to it in your life. This could be anything from your attitude, to your job, to your living situation. Open up to wildly new possibilities that could give you that quantum leap forward in your life.
- Make the decision to adapt and/or reshape what you can in order to grow from the change, then take action! The more action-oriented you are, the more you will accept and grow from the change.
- Trust. It is hugely important to know that when you make the decision to do things differently, and then act on it, the change can move you in a very positive direction in your life.
- Accept that things will feel unfamiliar. It can feel as if the safety net of your old behaviors, reactions, and patterns is being ripped open. This bumpy ride is part of the necessary shift of growth.