I met a woman recently who changed my life. Not an exaggeration. The meeting was totally random but our conversation went deep, fast. She was an interesting one. A healer, spiritual type with a Harvard MBA, formerly an executive for a major corporation, currently living at a yoga retreat center in the Berkshire mountains.
We spoke about balance and wholeness, and as we spoke she reflected her impression of me, noticing all the ways I appeared to be good at expressing myself in the world, being focused and productive, clearly asserting my ideas, etc. Qualities in Chinese medicine we would call 'yang' in nature.
But the 'yin' stuff, not as much. Allowing, flowing, receiving.
She painted a picture of a life infused with more of these yin qualities. The energy of spirituality. Trusting. Waiting. Not immediately needing to act. Allowing for space and inspiration, rather than always filling. Pausing, rather than reacting. Being, not only doing.
And I was digging it. I’d been wanting to access more trust in myself and my life. Anyone who’s been through any kind of fertility journey wants that. You’d give anything to trust in that which you cannot yet see, because so often what is visible and known is completely at odds with having any kind of faith.
But the thing about receiving really threw me for a loop. Ok, I don’t trust. Yep. I often find myself trying to force things that might be better to let go. Fair. But receiving? I’m so good at receiving. Really. I told her. I love receiving. I’m the queen of getting bodywork. Seriously anyone who’s ever worked with me knows I’m just this open receptacle on a treatment table, soaking it all up.
And she stopped me by saying something very interesting that immediately felt true.
She said, that’s not receiving. That’s filling the void.
The void that’s there because you aren’t receiving from the Universe, the divine, a higher power, whatever you want to call it. You’re always so busy being the one getting it all done, making it all happen that you’re not leaving space to receive anything; to let inspiration, wisdom, God, flow, whatever, to come in. So you fill.
And I saw it so clearly. How I fill with food. How I fill with overwhelm and anxiety and pressure instead of taking the step back, pausing, leaving room, and waiting for the answers or resolution or whatever.
And ever since I feel like I have a completely new relationship with life. I've stopped trying to fill the void. I've started to take and make more space in my life. With food, I'm eating only what I need to nourish my body, leaving more room for the rest of life. I'm actually more comfortable being hungry as well. I've started receiving more inspiration, insight and wisdom in moments that used to overwhelm me, because I'm pausing and allowing and trusting more.
I’m not sure why I’m sharing this with you. Part of me wonders if it will resonate. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had this kind of yin/yang imbalance. Maybe, that distinction, that filling isn’t receiving will have meaning for you too.
But I was also thinking of other things that we might mis-take. Like maybe I think I’m so good at being grateful and appreciative, always thankful, but really, at the root of it I'm feeling unworthy and indebted.
Not the same thing, right?
Maybe I do humble really well, like I’m no better than anyone else but really, underneath is my fear of standing out and risking being seen. Maybe there are a thousand other misnomers going on within us all the time of which we aren’t even aware?
What do you think? Does this spark something in you? Honestly this experience was so spiritually transformative for me I’m okay if I’m alone here but if I’m not I’m curious what this brings up for you...
Let me know!