I recently taught a workshop to a group of beautiful women, exploring the Chinese Daoist understanding of the intimate dance between the forces of Yin (contraction) and Yang (expansion) in our bodies, between the original ‘seed’ energy we received when we were conceived and our spiritual blossoming in life into the person we were born to be.
As we grow up, life’s experiences tend to disconnect us from the truth of that original seed, so we no longer have a clear sense of who we really are. At the workshop, we talked about how reconnecting to our source energy – by turning our gaze inward, with the help, for instance, MogaDao Yoga and Qigong practice – is the foundation of our overall health and wellbeing.
I was asked about what happened once we felt a reconnection to ourselves and started living a life that allowed us to share our particular gifts with the world. Was that it? Had we arrived? Were we sorted? The answer was, of course, ‘No’ – for we are, like the rest of the natural world, cyclical beings.
Just look outside and watch the plants and the trees. Each summer, they blossom into their full magnificence, but they also know when it is time to let go and to turn back inward. They then move through Autumn’s shedding into the quiet, still darkness of Winter, when they replenish their resources and re-establish their connection to the own particular seed to be ready for their next upsurge of growth in Spring.
Plants just seem to know they cannot cling onto Summer. To do so would drain their resources and make their connection to their seed energy increasingly tenuous, so that soon they would have less beauty to display and would eventually wither and die.
We humans seem to have lost this innate understanding of nature’s cycles. In particular, we find it hard to let go of activity and busy-ness in all its forms, be it in the expression of our true gifts or not, and to voluntarily turn inwards towards quiet reflection and rest.
For me, this workshop had been preceded by a period of intense activity and was, in itself, a moment of Summer shining. But then I failed to heed nature’s lessons and, with a busy weekend planned with my kids, I failed to turn inwards, to reflect on what I forgot of myself when expressing myself, and to stop and restore.
Fortunately my body was quick to berate me. By the following evening, my lower back was (unusually for me) aching; by Sunday, this discomfort was joined by a general sense of being drained. My body was kindly reminding me of my need for a phase of internality and rest.
For, as natural beings, we cannot resist nature’s cycles. If we lead a life – as most of us do – that pulls us out of sync, our body will send us signs to try to warn us to get back in the flow. Most of us are blind to these or ignore them.
This is the road to ill-health. As we continue a long it, our body and life will keep sending us increasingly strong signals that all is not well. The only way back is to start to listen in and to heed the wisdom of our bodies, rather than ignoring its signs or, worse still, suppressing them as bothersome symptoms.