I’ve haven’t blogged about applying yin and yang energies to life lately, so I thought I’d turn my attention to work, especially since the holiday season is now a distant memory!
I’ve been weighing up what to do for meaningful work for a very long time (well a lifetime really) and I’m not sure I’ve come up with the answer, let alone the perfect yin-yang (or Home-Work) balance. (It’s funny how we usually refer to ‘Work-Life Balance’, as though the two are distinct. But isn’t work just part of life? And why should work come before life!)
Anyway, in my quest for work with purpose, there’s one thing I know I can do – put both my yang and yin energies into whatever work I’m doing and see if things work out better.
And they usually do!
Let me explain why I think so.
Work, by our culture (if not by nature) is usually a pretty yang place. We go to work to do something – to be active, to produce things, to focus on achievement, make money etc. Yang energy can be competitive and sometimes aggressive. Too much yang is rarely a good thing, yet workplaces generally exude gung-ho energy (think of the domineering, demanding boss). Many remain male-dominated, unbalanced yang bastions (as opposed to nature’s examples of the bee hive or ant nest where the Queen rests on her laurels and the mere males are drones or workers…Mmmm…but not very balanced either!). Perhaps even worse are the Alpha female domains where arrogance is combined with bitchiness, think The Devil wears Prada (I should qualify and say that I have a female boss now who is very nice!).
Home, on the other hand, is where the yin is – where there is a place and some (any please!) time for rest, relaxation, reflection. Home, as they say, is where the heart is, and women still ‘make homes’ more than men.
So if work is primarily a male-orientated yang domain, and home is a female-inspired yin refuge, then where do you feel most comfortable? Feet under the desk, or kicking back in an armchair?
I know there are plenty of workaholics out there, but most of us feel most comfortable in our homes – surrounded by family and friends, enjoying meals, playing with the kids, relaxing with a drink or a hobby, getting some sleep! What’s not to love about the weekend off, right?
The sage advice, from Confucius, is to ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. It’s when we work with our passions, driven by our love for something rather than simply a need to pay the bills, that both yin and yang energies flow freely into the ‘work’ we do – without us really even trying. We pause to reflect – then act with confidence. We well with creativity – then channel it through strategy. We act with both insight and reason. We certainly forget to watch the clock. Yin and yang in balance is the perfect energy of love, creativity, joy!
Even if you haven’t found the ‘perfect’ job that aligns perfectly with your passions, you can still bring both yin and yang energies to whatever job you do. You will surely be expected to pour yang energy into your work performance (thinking rationally, achieving required outcomes etc ). But go with the yin flow and your intuition might just help solve a difficult problem; time for reflection might produce some creative, lateral ideas; careful listening will no doubt make you a better team player. And you will probably find that a less than perfect job becomes better. Or more balanced at least.
The other option (and I know many of us may not have this option right now) is to ditch the less than perfect job and just pursue your passions – allowing both yin and yang effortlessly flow into your ‘new life’ and making your ‘old life’ work around it (perhaps a smaller home, less travel, public transport instead of a car, a recycled wardrobe, a budget menu and studying instead of socialising).
Life may feel a bit harder for a while, but with work easier, I’m pretty sure that life will soon be better. And definitely more balanced.
Now I just have to be brave enough to practice what I preach! Perhaps I could even make this blogging thing pass for work one day? What do you reckon?
Love to know how you bring both yin and yang energy to work to get the job done and enjoy it. And if you are stuck in a very yang workplace, do you think some yin energy might help you out? If you are following your passions and making it ‘work’ – I’d love to hear how, and how it makes you feel.