You may have noticed I’ve been a bit MIA recently.
That’s because I stopped doing more or less… everything.
In fact, in the last month I found myself floundering. Or a better word, I felt stagnant. Stagnant is not a good look for someone with a history of over-achievement.
This is not a place I like to be. I didn’t feel like Lao-Tzu’s beautiful pond of waiting inaction. I felt like a festering scummy puddle of disease ready microbes.
And then something happened. Through a combination of things I was able to cleanse my little puddle and turn it into a pond.
So after this month long hiatus, I want to share with you what got me back writing and working on things and how this series of lessons can help you.
I felt like a festering scummy puddle of disease ready microbes. #stagnant Click To Tweet
The Phoenix’s Energy
For a long time I have identified spiritually with the mythological bird, the Phoenix (at times my spirit self even takes this form). While the Western understanding of the bird, especially the myth of it’s immortality through cyclical rebirth seems like an obvious connection for me (for more about that, check out my book THRIVE: HOW I BECAME A SUPERHERO), that’s not the only way I connect to the phoenix.
In the Taoist tradition, the Phoenix is yang or masculine energy. It is the energy of will. It pushes things forward. Yang energy is all movement and sun. It’s powerful and everyone knows it.
And our society, in fact our world, is SUPER DUPER YANG. Everything is pushing, goal-setting, achieve, achieve, ACHIEVE!!!
But that is not balanced. Being all yang is quite imbalanced, and acting in a purely yang way, a phoenix way, leads to all kinds of problems.
That’s why the phoenix needs the dragon.Acting in a purely yang way, a phoenix way, leads to all kinds of problems. #balance #yinandyang Click To Tweet
The Phoenix Learns from The Dragon
In Taoist thought, the Dragon is a lovely creature (not a mean greedy thing like in Western myth). It is connected to the water and yin energy.
Yin is feminine energy and involves pulling. It is all about receiving and allowing. In this way, yin might be called purposefully passive energy.
For a long time in our world, this kind of energy was lacking, and very misunderstood. It’s only been in recent years that feminine power and energy has begun to resurface as a way of interacting in and influencing the world.
As you might guess, the Taoist symbol for harmony, balance, and even marital bliss, is a phoenix and dragon circling. At the center of this ancient symbol is the pearl of knowledge, only reachable with both the phoenix and dragon, impossible with only one.
Together, everything is at peace. Everything is right. The two primordial forces must function together.
And I was way too much phoenix. I needed some dragon in my life.
This was something my spirit guides had been urging me to do, but I had neglected. Unfortunately I was so out of balance, I didn’t want to sit still and wait. I didn’t want to pull things – I was used to pushing. Until I was all pushed out. And I was forced to confront the dragon.
I had to stop and do a whole lot of nothing.
The Gifts of Inaction
During this time of inaction, I learned several lessons which can be applied to anyone’s life.
1. Being too active creates imbalance.
First, being too active gets you out of balance and can create serious burnout. I was feeling a bit like I wanted to give up on everything at the beginning of my month long hiatus. In fact, I was so ready to give up, I was contemplating just being a stay-at-home-mom and doing mom things (That was quickly squashed as I knew I couldn’t be fulfilled.).
Being too active, too yang, was detrimental to self-care. You can’t be healthy when all you do is push all the time! Even as I let go of older self-care routines, I found a different kind of self-care through inaction that while uncomfortable at first, led to a deeper feeling of peace.
2. Being inactive allows you to find gold.
I was doing a whole lot of bullshit when I was being super active. As a result, I couldn’t see what was helpful or harmful to my work. There was no time to slow down and truly assess what was working and what wasn’t – and because I didn’t know, I couldn’t do anything about it!
It was only when I stopped acting that I was able to see what was helpful, what was good, and focus on that. As a result, all my choices in what I’m doing are much more purpose driven, in a way they have never been before (despite years of intentionality in my work!).
3. Being inactive allowed me to gain clarity of purpose.
Not only did I gain clarity about what I should be doing specifically, but I was able to gain clarity on why I was doing the things I was doing.
In short – I am a servant of the Universe (and I’ll say more about this in my next blog post about the “divine why.”). This was a purpose and clarity far beyond any purpose or clarity I had EVER had before. In fact, I’d been denying this purpose because, well, I was judging myself and this kind of purpose. I was afraid of what other people would think if I said this out loud. More than that, I was afraid of what it might do to my life.
Getting down with my “yin” changed all that.Balancing your energy makes you wise about when to act or allow. #yinandyang #balance Click To Tweet
The Phoenix and Dragon in You
As we move through this life which is dominated by yang, we have to ask ourselves, am I out of balance?
It’s easy to see if you find yourself pushing all the time, burned out, overwhelmed, or spinning your wheels. These are all signs of excess yang. And if you don’t take some time to get your yin back, your body and spirit will force the issue like it did for me.
If possible, I really recommend consciously choosing to be more yin, as opposed to being forced. It’s much more enjoyable (but either way will get the job done if you’re paying attention!).
When you start to bring yourself back into balance between masculine and feminine energy, you’ll find all kinds of lessons and guidance about things. Your life will change for the better and you’ll come to a place of peace, even if you’re experiencing uncertainty.
Why? Because you’ll know it’s all okay. The right things will come at the right time. You’ll be wise about when to act and when to allow. And it will feel amazing.