Summer solstice was just yesterday, but the days are already starting to get shorter now. It is almost imperceptible. This takes me back to the concepts of Yin and Yang. The famous icon of Chinese medicine is actually called the “Tai Chi” (yes, this is also the name of a slow-moving form of martial arts), which is loosely translated into “Two Fishes Dancing.” The two “fishes” in this case are represented by a white tear-dropped shape, which incidentally has a tiny dot of black in it, and this white tear drop is next to an inverted black tear-dropped shape, which has a tiny dot of white inside the blackness. Brilliant. Somehow the Ancient Ones knew that even in a sea of Yin, there is a tiny bit of Yang, and vice versa. In other words, there is no such thing as 100% pure Yin or Yang. Like the dualities of life that I mused about in the previous entry, we have the Yin dancing with the Yang. Neither could exist without the other. And thus, as summer is slowly transitioning into winter, we begin the journey of walking that line between Yin and Yang. This line appears on the Tai Chi icon as a backwards-shaped S-curve, and it is on this curve where the Yin and the Yang intersect. It is where the “two fishes” touch each other. When we are aware of this line, and when we consciously walk this line, we are in the here and the now. We are in the present moment. This is exactly when we are at our “edge.” Because this concept of our “edge” is super important to our health, I will write more about it in an upcoming post.
A great visual of the intersection of Yin and Yang is to observe where a splash of sunshine on the ground meets up with a shadow. You can play with that boundary between the sunshine and the shadow. A shaman taught me this trick: stand near the sunshine-shadow edge in such a way that you can move your hands easily back and forth into the sunlight and into the shade. Then move your hands along the border between the two. As you do this, think of the dualities in your life. Also think of the shadowy parts of yourself, and what you are ready to bring into the light. Of course, the irony is that shadows cannot exist without light. Shadows have been the subject of many artists, musicians, and poets. The song, “Me and my shadow” comes to mind. What other songs and poems that explore the topic of shadows do you like? Share them in the comments section below for all to enjoy.
Dr. Mark Carney, RND, LAc