I went to school with a lot of surfer kids. Those who didn’t surf (like me) still adopted some of the branded clothing because that’s all that we had in our town. One of my visual memories from that time is the T&C surf wear brand that adopted the Yin Yang symbol and the shoeless hippies that adorned their ankles with Yin Yang charms.
Unfortunately, none of the meaning of the ancient Chinese philosophy behind the symbol was known to me at the time; I thought it was a surfer thing. I know, I know, I’m cringing, cultural appropriation.
The yin-yang philosophy says that the universe is composed of competing and complementary forces of dark and light, sun and moon, male and female
I’m not going to pretend I have more knowledge about the model than a basic understanding of the fundamental duality of everything in the universe.
But I’m going to use the idea of two opposite but interconnected forces to drive my behaviour over the next few months.
The idea looks like a coin with two sides. Both sides occupy the currency as a whole, but when placed on a surface, only one face is visible to the world.
If I view the sides as representing light and dark, which one do I think will do the best facing up at the moment?
Light, of course.
Those of us with our health and our time in our hands, can’t we do the most good by flipping our sunny-side-up right now?
It will be good for our physical and mental health as we minimise the impact of anxiety and for those who are struggling to see through the uncertainty.
Do you hear the jangle of my ankle bracelet charms? I can.
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are. — Anais Nin ”
When we are angry, we see the world that way, when we are hopeful we find the same thing, and when we turn our coin to show our light side, then that’s how we’ll view the world.
I’ve spent four years being angry at the political world around me and on paper I don’t even have anything to be angry about.
Still, none of my rantings, contract cancelling, or early day political canvassing has made a difference to the ruling party and their decision to leave the EU.
Being angry has proven to be a zero-sum game; I’ve been mad, and the world isn’t changing.
Who is at their best when they’re angry? Not me.
It’s time to adopt a new approach and turn that coin over.
What if when seeing our mindset as a dual force, we could see the opportunity to change the tone of our narrative from dark to light?
From fear to curiosity, from hate to love and from negativity to positivity.
Great results can be achieved with small forces. Sun Tzu
We could cast aside negativity in the stories we saw and read even if it’s just for the duration of the virus lockdown; maybe we’d all come up with some ideas for a better world than the one that we existed in before? Albeit with sadness and loss.
Let us with our health and a sense of purpose at our disposal try it.
Take a positive spin around your digital world — turn your darkness to light and see what comes of it.
From Anger to Empathy
Instead of boasting about shouting at people for being out in groups why not boast of a more constructive approach that you took. People are much more likely to respond to a controlled reaction than a shouty one.
You could share some information about some of the good that’s going on in the world right now. Share a story of citizens printing 3D visors or refugee communities.
From Fear to Curiosity
Use this time to invoke curiosity about some of the positive changes that are taking place now. Global emissions are low; citizens are looking after each other, Universal Basic Income is emerging.
From Negativity to Positivity
Instead of getting angry while you read this blog, or predicting negative behaviour from others before they’ve done it settle yourself into a safe space where you’re not affected by other people’s behaviour.
Try taking control of your mindset and showing a positive face to the world in this time of adversity. The wind will change at some point, and those who kept the light burning; either in their frontline service to the community or their outlook will be remembered.