Thankful: The dance of yin and yang

We’re almost at the end. Can I get a, woop, woop!

Just a bit more to go and you’ll have crossed the finish line on this wonderful journey we’ve taken together.

This lesson I want to talk about balance.

In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are a concept of dualism that describes how seemingly opposite forces may actually be complementary.

Things that may outwardly seem completely contrary are, upon closer inspection, revealed to be interconnected and interdependent in the natural world.

They give rise to each other as they interrelate to each other.

According to Chinese cosmology, the universe created itself out of a primary chaos of energy, organised itself into the cycles of Yin and Yang, and formed objects and lives by this principle.

Yin is the receptive and Yang the active principle.

They are seen in all forms of change.

In annual cycles; winter to summer, in the creating of life; male and female, in socio-politics; order and disorder.

And in natural dualities – light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting.

This principle underlies most of classical Chinese science and philosophy, from traditional medicine to Feng Shui and martial arts, this duality is found in everything.

Because it’s the dynamism of this fruitful paradox of simultaneous unity and duality that powers everything.

In more modern terms, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Though Newton’s third law is hardly recent, as it was published in 1687.

You could also say, “too much of a good thing”, though that’s hardly any more recent than Newton. (Because it’s Shakespeare, 15th century.)

But maybe that’s the lesson here: we’ve known for millennia that one doesn’t exist without the other.

You can’t have cold (yin) without hot (yang) because hot air couldn’t rise without cold air sinking.

Or hard (yang) without soft (yin) because dry earth can’t soften if it doesn’t rain.

You can’t have likes without having dislikes.

The fact that salty liquorice ice cream exists (*barf*) makes my favourite – sweet, delicious pear – that much sweeter.

Because I have the experience of being reduced to tears by poorly fitting pants, loosely fitting comfortable pants are that much more glorious.

Being bullied in school, by those who I’d counted friends, fuelled my introspection and shaped my early journey in going beyond “just the usual” to find a deeper purpose in life.

As much as we hate the things that we hate, they make the things we love that much better.

And you can choose to be bitter and grumpy about it.

Or you can choose to be grateful.

Because you’re still here, still breathing, still moving forward one step at a time. You didn’t give up but overcame whatever it was that was set on your path.

Many people choose to be bitter and carry the grudge.

But I gotta tell you, the journey is a lot lighter without that baggage.

The choice is yours. Choose wisely.


  • Write down five things that have a negative impact on our mood/life/outlook. Things that you dislike or downright hate. Big or small. It can be waking up at 4 am to a cat harking up a fur ball, a toxic person in your life, or a flavour of ice cream you don’t like (hello, salty liquorice, is that you?!).
  • Now write how you’re grateful for those things for enhancing or supporting something good or pleasurable in your life.