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April 30, 2020

In Like Yin: How Coronavirus took out the Yang with a Bang.


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Relephant read: Elephant’s Continually updated Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


In my former life, B.C. (before corona), the rapture of busyness was all-consuming.

There was an ecstasy to the rushing, from teaching to photographing, and housework to “how was your day?” conversations with my husband and son. I was living in full-blown yang mode, meaning I was pushing and forcing and making things happen (or so I thought) each day.

My daily rush was like quicksand. It sucked me into more rushing, and it got me off. On a typical yang-packed day, I would teach 6 a.m. yoga, unload the dishwasher, take a spin class, edit corporate photos, and write another blog. My daytimer was filled with boxes to check using my favorite Stabilo marker color, which was usually turquoise. Some of the checked accomplishments were meaningful; others were playfully hollow. I never slowed down; I was an ecstatic participant in the great American yang bang.

Oh yes, I had many partners in my yang bang—accomplices who, like me, encouraged this IV drip of overscheduling. We Instagrammed our exploits and encouraged each other to do more and rest less—it made us feel alive, dammit! We ignored the risks of daily cortisol surges because, after all, we could pop another Ashwagandha. My partners and I were thriving with intense yang energy as we worked and worked more. We had, dare I say it, work-gasms.

Alas, the yang bang has been overturned with the coronavirus, and my partners and I have been forced to switch beds. Now, we rest in the yin—the moon energy which is soft and nourishing, like a nursery for a baby. It has been challenging to buy into this quiet life where even an insect in the house has become interesting.

The rapture of banging out as much as I can before lunch is long gone, and the hardest job I have each day is to stretch out my to-do list timing so that I am not too efficient. I do not want to sit in front of the television before 6 p.m. As my friend Janie says, we always have tomorrow for that. “Tiger King” is better in small doses anyway.

Today, the work is in the slowing down to do less and notice more. Spring in Atlanta is filled with blossoming flowers and green leaves extending from the arms of trees. There is no point, anymore, in rushing while I walk my dog, Dottie. I used to beg her to take care of business. Now, I beg her to remind me what smells good.

Dottie is now my mentor. She role models how to look out the window and watch the pollen flutter to the ground.

The virus has put me on a much needed house arrest. It is a simplicity reset. The pause button from social distancing and non-essential work regulations means that it no longer matters which leggings I wear, and my hair can remain greasy. I am just me, skipping the serum.

B.C., I was a photographer with clients, and a yoga instructor with classes. Now, my calendar has cleared. I might as well iron the sheets.

Some days I shower and practice grooming. Other days, I have moss on my teeth and I am thrilled to enjoy the yin swim. I used to be damn scared of accomplishing nothing, but today I have given up the moaning of fatigue from a yang bang day. My partners and I now talk on the phone about the most mundane things. This sanctioned yin space is filled with yawns.

Yin mode is a soft calming energy that allows life to unfold. There is time to smell the coffee. There is time to wear my compression knee highs, an artifact from the B.C. yang bang life. Dottie has been trying to convince me that, indeed, this is the good life.

Maybe we’ll never quite go back to our days in the yang bang. But perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad. These yin and yang energies are equally important and are meant to be balanced, after all.

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