Never-ending doing, striving and achieving may be the excessively yang-driven way of the West, but it’s certainly not for our best. Mental overwhelm, physical burn-out and emotional exhaustion become an accepted way of earning a living—meanwhile, there’s very little actual living happening.
Much of the money we make from all this hard work ends up funding the very cloths, transportation, gadgets, food and things we need to work, while we lack the time and energy to enjoy life outside of work. Instead of being a blessing that adds to our life, our work becomes a burden that takes away from it.
Eastern, spiritual and feminine wisdom offer an attractive alternative: Balancing overly-yang energy with complementary yin energy to bring harmony on an individual and collective level.
This is not about “masculine versus feminine,” but the beautiful blending of masculine with feminine to experience success and prosperity that stem from work done with passion, pleasure and purpose. Arianna Huffington sums it up eloquently as the “Third Metric of Success,” which she shares is well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.
In order to appreciate the essential need for this balance in how we (both women and men) work, when we are in yang overdrive, we often:
While there can be value in some of the above, in order to enjoy both the fruits of our labor and the labor itself, harnessing more yin energy can help us:
Of course, these gifts focus on the best and healthiest parts of being in our feminine energy, and there are consequences of being in excess of it just as there are with too much masculine energy. For example, the desire to serve others can easily turn into an unhealthy obsession to please, a pattern of taking on too much, doing things out of guilt and obligation, and ultimately getting as burnt-out, overwhelmed and resentful as when we are in too much yang energy.
Alternatively, we can easily over-indulge in rest and play while neglecting the masculine gifts of drive and discipline needed to bring our inspired ideas into fruition.
So, what is the solution to experiencing optimal success? A harmonious union of yin and yang.
For example, instead of struggling to come up with a million-dollar idea, harness the natural process of joyful creation: Let an idea be conceived, incubated and nurtured within you as you make yourself receptive through trust and surrender. Practically speaking, meditate and sleep on it!
As the idea takes on its own life within you, take inspired (yin) action (yang) as you are guided, and trust in perfect timing and support along the way. See obstacles as opportunities to get creative, try something different, and even transform yourself and expand your horizons in unimagined ways.
On a day-to-day basis, focus on one thing at a time. When you finish even the smallest task, take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate it. Re-center yourself between meetings and emails and phone calls with mini-breaks (even one minute) for deep breathing and just being.
If you get into excessive feminine mode of trying to be all things to everyone and saying yes to everything, summon your masculine gift of asserting your boundaries and saying a firm and fair no, so that you can say an empowered yes to your pleasure, purpose and priorities first.
Harnessing feminine and masculine energy to optimize our work and lives can be a tricky balance to achieve. But, if we approach it as a process rather than a goal, we just might find our sweet spot.
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