I Am Not Old
I am not old…she said
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.
– Samantha Reynolds
Photo: Riitta Ikonen and Norwegian photographer Karoline Hjorth
~Yin & Yang: The Unity of Opposites~
“In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.
Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, and male and female) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang.
Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.
Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity, and nighttime.
Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation.
The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section.
In Daoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole…
Yin and yang applies to the human body. In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself.”
Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being.” Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self-discovery and reflection.
The word “ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. The word is also used to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It’s not necessarily linked to economic status or daily state of things.
Even if a person feels that today is dark, but has a goal, he may feel ikigai. Behaviours that make one feel “a reason for being” are not actions which individuals are forced to take – these are natural and spontaneous actions.
In the culture of Okinawa, ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning”; that is, a reason to enjoy life. In a TED Talk, Dan Buettner referenced ikigai as one of the reasons people in the area had such long lives.
by Shelly Bullard
We are approaching a period of time when relationships are ready to go through a major redesign. The current paradigm isn’t working. People are unsatisfied in love; people don’t know how to make relationships work.
And, believe it or not, this isn’t a bad thing. Because when systems break-down, that’s when they change. I believe that’s what’s happening in the area of intimate partnership. The break-down is forcing us to move towardsconscious love.
So what exactly is a conscious relationship?
It’s a romantic relationship in which both partners feel committed to a sense of purpose, and that purpose is growth. Individual growth. Collective growth as a couple. Growth that makes the world a better place.
As of now, most people get into relationships to satisfy their own personal needs. This might work for a few years, but eventually the relationship fails us, and we end up unsatisfied as a result.
But when two people come together with the intention of growth, the relationship strives towards something much greater than gratification. The partnership becomes a journey of evolution, and the two individuals have an opportunity to expand more than they could alone. Deep satisfaction and long-term fulfillment arise as a result.
So if you’re someone who feels called to take your experience of romantic love to the next level, below are four qualities that characterize what being a conscious couple is all about. Welcome to the path of the conscious relationship. This is next-level love …
1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship – growth comes first.
Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out.
What it means is: you’re more committed to the experience of growth than you are to making the relationship “work.”
The reality is, we’re here to grow. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When growth stops, we automatically feel like something’s gone wrong. Because it has. Without growth, we aren’t fulfilling our soul’s purpose.
Unfortunately, relationships today tend to stifle growth more than enhance it. This is one of the main reasons we’re failing at romantic love.
We want our partners to act in a certain way, we repress ourselves to please to others, and soon enough, we feel small, oppressed and puzzled about who we’ve become. This, inevitably, makes the relationship feel like a cage that we want to break out of. But the unfortunate truth is: we’ve caged ourselves.
The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive. Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship. Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too.
2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their s#*t.
Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.
Most of us still believe that relationships should only feel good, and when bad feelings surface, something has gone terribly wrong. What we fail to see in this situation is that these shitty feelings stem from our own faulty patterning! These issues are not caused by our partners; they’re caused by our beliefs.
The conscious couple is willing to look at their past and current issues in relationships because they know that by facing these beliefs systems, they can evolve into a new relationship-reality. Dysfunctional patterns will dissolve, but only when we take responsibility for them, first.
3. All feelings are welcome and no internal process is condemned.
In a conscious relationship, there’s room to feel anything. Not only that, there’s room to express those feelings and fantasies to your partner. This is edgy territory… it’s not easy to do. But it’s also one of the most healing things we can experience in a partnership
It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are, and to stretch yourself to let your partner do the same. You may not like what you hear; in fact, it may trigger the hell out of you. But you’re willing to be triggered if it means your partner can be authentic.
Like I already said, we’re used to molding and changing ourselves to please people we love because we don’t want them to stop loving us! This stifles the love out of our connections.
The only option is radical honesty: revealing parts of ourselves that are hard to share, and letting our partners do the same. This leads to feeling known, seen and truly understood — a combination that will automatically enhance your love.
4. The relationship is a place to practice love.
Love, ultimately, is a practice. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories.
Sometimes we treat love like it’s a destination. We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. In my mind, this is missing the whole point of love.
Love is a journey and an exploration. It’s showing up for all varied nuances of your relationship and asking yourself, What would love do here?” The answer will be different every time, and because of this, you’ll get to grow in ways you never have before!
The conscious couple is fiercely committed to being the embodiment of love.And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before.
Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.
Therefore the wise embrace the one
And set an example to all.
Not putting on a display,
They shine forth.
Not justifying themselves,
They are distinguished.
They receive recognition.
They never falter.
They do not quarrel,
So no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients say,
“Yield and overcome.”
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.
Tao Te Ching