Ho, Ho, Ho – the familiar Santa Clause catchphrase of good cheer as that jolly old fellow St Nick laughs and his little round belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly.
It brings a smile and Christmas cheer, of course, but I’d like to propose a new refrain.
Ho, Ho, Yin – a good natured laugh, a cheeky old chuckle and then a slow sigh of peace.
After all, that other common refrain at this time of year is of course: ‘Peace on earth and goodwill towards men’.
Ah, peace. Not to be found in shopping centre car parks at Christmas.
I reckon we need some more balance in our festive season – two parts cheer and one part peace. Two parts partying and one part quiet reflection about the meaning of the season and the meaning of life. Two gifts given for each one we receive. Two gifts purchased and one set aside because do any of us really need one more thing?
In the chaos and celebration of Christmas it can be hard to find calm. But it’s there, if we stop and listen (Hark, the Herald Angels sing).
In the consumerism and consumption of Christmas we can forget to stop and appreciate what we already have as we reach for another helping.
We can reach for another helping instead of reaching out to help.
Silence (yin) and the stillness (yin) can get drowned out in the racket (yang) and the rush (yang) of the very merry.
You may think that Christmas and any notion of balance go together like the tooth fairy and Easter! (she who comes around to collect the rotten teeth after all that chocolate).
Bah Humbug. This may be the one time of the year when over-indulgence is excused and only a Scrooge could disagree. And I’m no kill-joy.
But a very balanced festive season can be more joyful than a decadent one.
In Taoism we think of yang energy as expanding (as will our post-Christmas waistlines) while yin energy is contracting – and we tend to think of this contraction as a negative thing. But neither yin nor yang are positive or negative. The yin notion of contracting can mean a coming back to centre – a returning to the core of what really counts, when all the shiny tinsel and wrapping is thrown away and the real truth is revealed – plain to see.
At Christmas time this can mean coming back to those we are closest to and to the values we hold dear – to the truth that spending time with those we love is much more important than spending money on presents (or spending time with a whole bunch of people just because we think we should). Yin energy allows us to come back to the truth that:
We can always spend our time or our money, but one type of spending will always count more.
So that’s it – my yuletide ode to yin. To a slower, peaceful, simpler season.
If there’s anything we need more of at this time of year (than another mince pie – I’m not even fussed on one – glass of champers, or gift voucher) it is yin.
So have yourself a merry yang Christmas, and a happy yin year (and avoid the Boxing Day consumption crush unless you want one very big yang hangover).
If it helps, here are some healthier suggestions for in between all that indulgence – this post has some of the recipes.
PS: I know I’m supposed to be into yin-yang balance, but I’m totally crushing on yin right now. And 2016 is going to be a very yin kind of year – stay tuned.
Linking up with Grace for FYBF for the last time this year. Ho, Ho, Yin and very merry.