inequality

A Win for Yin

Yin and Yang energies always exist together, are constantly in a state of flux and maintain balance and harmony.

Even before the election results were in and Kamala Harris addressed the nation on Saturday night, I could feel the tide changing. Like a rubber band stretched to the extreme, I could sense the swelling Yang energy pushing towards its breaking point. The outcome was simple physics. The band would either snap, ripping apart our nation, or move back in the opposite direction.

Like many of Americans, I was relieved at the election outcome and excited to hear Biden and Harris’ dream for the future. I knew it would be uplifting and hopeful. What I didn’t expect was the magnitude of Kamala’s message, particularly the impact of electing a woman of color to the office of Vice President.

Harris talked about “generations of women, black women, Asian, white, Latina, and Native American women who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight.” She emphasized the “black women who are too often overlooked and so often proven that they are the backbone of democracy.”  These statements produced a swell of emotion because they hit a vein of truth, struggle, and desperate need. 

I grew up in a single parent home with my mother and sister. My father died early and my mother was left with two small children to raise in a world that undervalued powerful women. This brought forth many challenges but also a unique perspective. I am grateful for my unwavering belief that women possess the same abilities, intellect, and power as men (thanks, mom). I have never felt otherwise, and I have never doubted that one day (I hoped it would be sooner) we would elect a woman as President or Vice-President. A woman of color makes it that much sweeter. 

The feminine Yin energy that Harris was touting in her speech has been suppressed for far too long. 

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, “The theory of Yin-Yang tells us that at a macro level-the largest scale imaginable-all things are always balancing and rebalancing into a state of perfect harmony. Yin and Yang are the two energies that embody Universal law, which ensures that all things remain in harmony.”

For as far back as I can see, we have been focused on the male dominant Yang energies of expanding, activating, doing, constructing, producing, seeking, and consuming. These qualities have helped us to grow and evolve. They have been essential to the building of  our country. However, the results of carrying this energy to the extreme and for too long have been detrimental.  We are experiencing an injured environment, perpetual inequality, and the pursuit of money and power at all costs.  

I believe Universal laws are always at play. The Coronavirus, for example, has forced us into Yin activities such as slowing down, reflecting, resting, listening, contracting, and healing. These qualities seem to be needed in order to produce a healthier world. This week, the election has reflected the need for a more compassionate agenda that focuses on all people and our environment.

It should not be a battle of opposites. Polar energies will always exist together as part of the whole. The degrees of each will fluctuate and continuously seek balance. Just as our sexuality takes on varying levels of feminine and masculine, our tides ebb and flow, and our time moves between night to day, the democratic system will continue to shift between conservative and liberal and now, I am hoping more Yin will begin to resurface.

As Kamala ended her speech, I could feel the band of energy release and the direction begin to change. It has been a long road, a spectacular moment in history that speaks to the endless possibilities of real and love-based change in the coming years. It also reinforces an understanding that no matter what we do as humans, the Universe will make corrections as needed in order to restore the balance.

Diving Into the Shadows

Shadow

I have had the pleasure and privilege of spending the last several days in Maine on my favorite lake enjoying the sun and nature. Last night, it began to rain so my daughter and I decided to watch a movie. After scanning the selections and reviews on her computer, she suggested we watch “The Florida Project,” a 2017 slice of life drama which, according to IMDb TV, follows a “precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.” 

Childhood. Adventure. Disney World. Sounds endearing, right? 

Not exactly.

I did not like the film at first. I kept waiting for the plot to unfold or an inspirational moment, but neither surfaced. Instead, I felt a mounting anxiety combined with sadness and despair as the reality of life in a poverty stricken hotel-turned-residence community exposed all the things that make me uncomfortable: poverty, lying, foul language, cheating, stealing, hustling, betrayal, fighting, child abuse, pedophilia, drug use, prostitution. 

The movie was shown through the eyes of a child who had friends, freedom, food, community and a caring mother, all of which made it more palatable. However, the stark contrast of the lives profiled to those of the privileged thousands visiting nearby Disney World, made me stop and think.

The movie did an outstanding job of portraying the reality of the situation, but I wasn’t happy with the way it left me feeling. Something was tugging at me to look deeper. 

It wasn’t until morning that I realized the importance of what I was experiencing. It became clear that the issues in the movie that made me uncomfortable were the ones I needed to examine more closely. Maybe it was time to look at what it means to lead a privileged life. Had I been turning a blind eye to the realities of those less fortunate?

With all of the recent unrest and attention pointing towards inequality and racism, my viewing of this movie was particularly timely. It became evident that the cinematic story I witnessed was one I had chosen to overlook, just as many instances of injustice get somehow justified through the selective stories we tell ourselves and the parts of our psyche we choose to keep hidden. 

I have recently been working on my own personal growth and have also started “The Life Purpose Project,” a series of one on one sessions to help people reach their life’s purpose through discussion, dream interpretation, tarot, and flower essence therapy. 

I am a believer in the power of positive thinking and healing through love. However, I have been finding that in order to truly heal and make significant progress forward, we need to look at something called our “shadow self”. 

According to an article in highexistence.com, “the shadow is a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of our personality that we choose to reject and repress. For one reason or another, we all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like–so we push those parts down into our unconscious psyches. It is this collection of repressed aspects of our identity that Jung referred to as our shadow.”

Full Article:  https://highexistence.com/carl-jung-shadow-guide-unconscious/

Some examples of repressed shadow tendencies include  “aggressive impulses, taboo mental images, shameful experiences, immoral urges, fears, irrational wishes, unacceptable sexual desires.” 

Our shadow self develops as a result of societal expectations that tell as we are a “bad” person if we have certain thoughts and behaviors. We want to fit in and be accepted, so we deny and hide these impulses and pretend they do not exist as parts of ourselves. On top of that, if left unchecked, these qualities feed into a larger collective societal shadow which can multiply and become more systemic, resulting in a world that tolerates prejudice, racism, abuse, and inequity.

Jung believes that these innate qualities are present in all of us and the only way to effectively deal with them is to recognize, accept, and find ways to constructively manage their presence within our lives. 

I have been using dream interpretation and the Tarot to help uncover the shadow within myself and my Life Purpose Project participants. Both methods point out areas of the subconscious that ultimately want to be seen and accepted before allowing us to move forward on our spiritual path. Meditation and identifying psychological triggers can also help shed some light.

One thing “The Florida Project” made clear was that when we look at these shadow qualities, whether within ourselves or society as a whole, the feeling can be extremely uncomfortable. It can bring us to places and uncover a world that is unnerving and painful. 

The idea is not to run and deny, but to look directly into the areas of darkness. When we do this, “fear becomes an opportunity for courage. Pain is a catalyst for strength and resilience. Aggression is transmuted into warrior-like passion. This wisdom informs our actions, our decisions, and our interactions with others..” (highexistence.com).

If we seek to accept the shadows as part of who we are, if we allow them to come forward without condemnation, we may be able to heal not only ourselves but the world as a whole, and people like those featured in the “The Florida Project” may have a fighting chance.