There is an ancient teaching that has existed for as long as anything has. It is the story of beginnings and endings, expansion and contraction, giving and receiving… Everything, including humans, is part of this constant motion that sustains life. Although this dynamic has been at work since the beginning, one of the first documented understandings of it came from the I Ching (The Book of Changes) over 3,000 years ago.
You can see it in your daily life. After a long day of work you retire to your bed to rest and replenish. This would be considered a Yin aspect of the cycle. Then in the morning, theoretically, you wake up refreshed and head out into your day. This would be considered a more Yang portion of the cycle.
We call this fluid back and forth between the dark and quiet of Yin and the light and active of Yang, the Cycle of Vitality, also known as the Creation Cycle in Chinese Medicine. “Cycle” because of its very nature and “Vitality” because, theoretically, without this natural fluctuation of rest and action, life would not be sustained.
Artist: 宸翔 蔡
This cycle is made up of balanced outward movement and inward movement. If there is too much output without proper restoration of energy, the cycle breaks down. You might say this is what is happening in our current culture that overvalues production, sometimes at the expense of proper replenishment.
Is your cycle balanced? Are you giving, giving, giving and not completing the cycle by taking time to replenish your stores? Are you so accustomed to turning your attention to everyone else’s needs on the outside that you have forgotten how to listen to your own? It is quite possible that you have never known how to slow down to rest and restore.
You are not alone. I see it in my acupuncture practice quite often. In the extreme case, someone has dedicated their entire life to their job or to raising kids or taking care of their aging parents and when the demand of that work tapers off they are left feeling lost, restless and unable to find peace, neither physically nor mentally.
This tension, exhaustion, discontent could be a sign that this cycle of vitality needs repairing. It can be done. It is our nature! We are meant to mirror the natural cycles all around us. We might just need to be reminded how.
NourishDeep Retreats is dedicated to just this, helping people build a bridge back to themselves so they can experience vitality in their lives.
Learn 5 ways to begin the process of repairing this vital cycle.
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~Juniper Gwin, Licensed Acupuncturist, Founder Nourish Healing Collective and Co-Founder NourishDeep Retreats