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    Yin My Yang

           The Chinese symbol of Yin and Yang proves a powerful talisman. As I engage in the practice of living a more balanced life with more internal harmony, I am reminded that nothing is all everything.
           As an artist, it’s important for me to have access to my emotions. My creativity becomes manifest through my mind and my body; thought followed by action. But creativity springs from my passion. And passion is a fire of feeling. After spending many years of my life in varying degrees of emotional shut down or emotional denial, I can tell you from first hand experience how much more enjoyable and meaningful my life is when I allow myself to feel. Deeply. Fully.
           Emotions and feelings are often described as feminine energies. For argument’s sake, I’m going to stick with that, without getting into a philosophical discussion about labeling. So I’ve accessed my feminine energies by allowing myself to feel. As essential as that is for me, I sometimes have difficulty balancing that feminine energy with the other side of the proverbial coin: my masculine energy.
           What that looks like is that I can get too caught up in how I feel. I can, at times, let my emotions get away from me, and allow them to take up too much space. I can get lost in how I feel. This can lead to erratic and over-emotional behavior. It can lead to trouble.
           I’m not advocating clamping down on my self expression. I’m talking about exercising some perspective when I feel something. Sometimes it’s as much what I think as what I feel, and how those thoughts and feelings fuel each other. Sometimes I create a feedback loop between my head and my heart that, like any closed system, reinforces itself until powerfully acted upon by an outside force. That powerful outside force needs to be me, and sometimes I disappear. My head and my heart are not me, although sometimes I behave like they are. That’s when I can get into trouble. When I forget that there’s a higher self here; a “Me” that is responsible for balancing the feminine energy with the masculine energy. The me that needs to bring some control and perspective and temperance into the equation.  
           I refer to this control and perspective and temperance as masculine energy. I maintain that when either man or woman does not balance their masculine and feminine energies, then we become less than three dimensional. For me, when I feel strongly, especially when I love someone or something, I can be guilty of not balancing those energies. Sometimes it’s not even a question of balance. Sometimes it’s more about finding my higher self in that moment, and not getting lost in either the masculine or the feminine. Because the balance between the two comes naturally when I am operating as a full human being. When I’m centered and at peace with who I am, the balance takes care of itself.
           I feel deeply; and I can express those feelings, and at the same time exercise proper control. And, being a relatively well adjusted adult, that's usually what I do. Exercising proper control doesn’t necessarily mean, for example, that I don’t say cry when I'm sad about something. But it does mean that I don’t get lost in the sadness. It means that I don’t let the sadness define me. I can feel sad. But I am not sadness.
           If I exercise too much control, I can become stiff, dispassionate, shut down, and disconnected from people and from life. f I don’t exercise enough control, I can become over-emotional, and that can lead to some poor decisions or erratic behavior. I’ve noticed that it’s disconnecting to be either lost in how I feel or not in touch with how I feel. Both extremes lead to a disconnection.
           If I get angry, for example, I don’t have to act on that anger. I can take a step back, and later use that anger to fuel my actions, but not allow anger to run my actions. Like using fire to cook my food instead of letting it burn me. And I can make that analogy with just about any emotion. For emotions are like fire. They can cook. Or they can burn.
           Again, it’s not about being over analytical and micro-managing control in the moment. It’s about coming from a different place. Coming from my heart, using my head, listening to my gut. Operating as my full being. While still letting the self, the me, be in charge.
           Not getting caught up in what I’m thinking and feeling has traditionally been a challenge for me. My heart is huge and full of feeling. My mind is active and highly intelligent and imaginative. In other words, in the realm of me, my heart and my mind are both very big entities.
           That doesn’t mean I have to let either of them run the show. I can recognize them for the wonderful, beautiful, powerful forces of nature that they are without allowing either to overcome me. As I develop a more defined, more solid sense of self, a more solid sense of who and what I am, I live from a different place. A place more fully reflective of the me, the whole me, and nothing but the me.
           Sometimes I do that, and sometimes I don’t. It’s a practice, a way of being that I’m coming to understand and live more fully. I feel like I’m involved in a constant and wonderful education that is life long. I’m committed to that education.
           When I get lost in my work to become a better person, a bigger person, a more evolved and enlightened person, my dear friend Mira tells me "Remember. You are not a self improvement project.". She's right. I am, however, engaged in creating myself as the man I want to be. For me, part of that means better balancing the masculine and feminine energies. Being the Yin and the Yang. Being in the flow of my unique and beautiful self.

    ©2012 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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