Yin and Yang
Opposites attract….We have all heard of yin and yang – how it takes opposite energies to make a whole. It is rooted in Taoism, the yin, or dark piece represents shadows and femininity, while the yang, or white side, represents masculinity and light.
When Steve and I got together SO many people said how opposite we were …and our astrological signs emphasizes that message. He is Gemini, a wanderer, an adventurer…he is spontaneous, very social and always in the moment. I on the other hand, am a Cancer, a homebody who tends to be quieter and crave structure and schedules. Rev Ned Coughlin, one of the Jesuits from college who knew us both well, described these complimentary differences in his homily at our wedding. Of course, I felt like Steve seemed like a great, fun guy and I sounded like I was just an organized, boring girl, but there was much truth to it all. We have always said what many people in our situation say ‘we balance each other out’. With Steve, I tend to do things I never would do on my own – travel cross country in a van, move to India for 6 months, and build 2 houses. In turn , he says I ground him, give him a sense of place and calm. So it has worked well for us despite our differences. Our deepest values are shared and that is ultimately most important.
At times though, this coming from different places feels stressful. I will come back from a walk after listening to a podcast which emphasizes body positivity or spiritual growth and will find him listening to a guy talking about ‘training harder’ and ‘pushing through’. I hear these guys deep, intense voices and feel stressed. However, when we talk about the things we are listening to, we are actually not speaking as different of a language as it may seem.
So it was one day I went into the garage where he has his ‘man gym’. He and the boyz used to work out in there and now 2 of his friends from school work out with him. It consists of a weight bench, a boxing bag and such for strength training. It has been great for Steve and he is loving the lifting and the comraderie with the guys.
But the top sign is what I saw on the wall…
So I just added the bottom sign to ‘balance things out’ a bit! 😉 He really put the top one up as a joke but it has stayed and every time I see it, I cringe. It makes me contract, feel stressed and it just goes against my grain. At the same time, I know the message – sometimes we do need to push through when things get tough. That is how we grow, change, and gain confidence in our abilities. And I am not just talking about physical abilities, I am talking about emotional, intellectual, spiritual. All of these areas can become overwhelming in their own ways – causing us to want to run the other way. But when we push through, we can find a part of ourselves that we never knew existed.
Yet – we do need to know when it is time to push and when is it time to listen to that need to stop. This is where aligning ourselves, tuning out external messages and going deep to our inner voice can help. Is it easy? No. Do we sometimes make a choice we regret in the end? Yes (ie -thinking we need a night in but then ultimately finding ourselves with more energy than anticipated and wishing we took our friends up on that offer to go out….or thinking we need to get up and run and finding ourselves depleted and realizing the ‘stay in bed’ voice was not just our ‘I too comfy under the covers to get up’ voice, but our inner voice knowing our body needed rest).
I remember right after the boyz were born when Steve and I were going through a truly transformational time in our relationship. Becoming parents brings up parts of ourselves that have yet to be examined and as this happened, my view of us as opposites began to shift as our sameness was revealed to us. I began to see how ultimately similar we really are underneath it all. We may look different on the surface – but opposite sides of the spectrum are the really the same.
So now I can look at those signs with calm, knowing it reflects the duality and ultimately, unity of life…and that, too, feeds the love.
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