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The yin side of things

November 17, 2009

Some of the wilderness in LA doesn’t really feel like wilderness to me at all.

Too many people, too much crap lying around, too much smog in the air, the paths too well maintained. I’ll take what I can get out here, but there’s something very bittersweet about getting out for a nature fix to find that it’s being groomed.

Almost as bad as finding that it’s not wild at all– like at that stupid something shrine place in the Palisades– it’s like a spiritual disneyland with a meditation room by the fake lake with fountains and turtles in it. It made me want to vomit (mainly because people treat it like God has descended from the heavens to meet that one specific little point on earth, and so if you’re going to be ‘spiritual’, it’s the perfect place to do it). Not holy. Not holy at all.

In meridians class a couple of weeks ago, the wind was blowing fog in off the ocean; it was coming in really fast. One of the girls in my class mentioned that this weather made her uncomfortable. Another chimed in, and pretty soon the class is briefly discussing how they like it when the sun is shining and the air is bright and there’s no fog and no change and, well, I, too, love it when the sun is shining, but transitional weather, I love it even more.

In the desert when the clouds roll in fast and the air takes on this density (and the creosote bush starts to release a tiny bit of its fragrance), and the light changes to this deep grey-yellow, and you have to REALLY stay awake to keep up with it and feel comfortable, or the landscape shifts on you and the colours shift on you. It’s easy to fall into a dream-like state when the weather is like this. Things bubble up from the unconscious. Shadows flicker in movement. Its disorienting in a deeply visceral way.

It’s not just about weather, you know. People don’t just dislike weather patterns that aren’t sunny and bright. It’s everything yin. We’re afraid of everything yin. Like sex (unless it’s done by people who look like ugly plasticoid cartoon characters and who remove the idea of connection of any kind from the act entirely), and of death*, and the unconscious, and of the wild**.

In certain new-age circles and now non-new-age circles alike people spread ‘love and light’ like they are the only things that exist, or like that is the direction we should be moving in. And I hate to break it to these people, but we live in a dichotomous world– think back to Mysticism 101: “From the one came the TWO”. One might try to argue that love and light is the source of everything, but that’s impossible because this ‘love and light’ that the new-agers refer to is the light and movement of the masculine side of the dichotomy. So the one gave birth to light AND dark. The presence of love and light implies that there is a state in which they are absent, and there is. Right over there on the other side of the spectrum that is being ignored. Not only is love and light ignoring one side of the spectrum, but it’s perpetuating this societal myth that we have had for centuries that the masculine is more important (I’m not talking feminism here, I’m talking yin-ism. There’s a difference. I don’t know many feminists who are yin-ists). I’m referring to the basic archetypal principles of the world that we live in: male and female. Yang, male, light, expansion, life, growth, work, spring, cultivation; Yin, female, dark, contraction, death, rotting, autumn, wildness. The feminine is our unconscious, it’s the place below our belly button that guides us if we listen. It’s sex and death and war and all of the things that we choose to ignore. Our meat comes prettily packaged so that we can ignore the pain, death and violence that went into creating it. Love and light. Our psyches come perfectly presented so that nobody can see the pain that goes into maintaining the pretense of happiness and perfection. Love and light. Our relationships are superficial so that we never have to see the shadows in our significant others. So in love, so perfect, so meant to be together until the final blow comes and “we never saw it coming– they just looked so happy”. Love and light.

This ignorance of the dark side has many other implications in our society. The dominance of over refined foods in our markets and pantries reflects the “refined spirit” that we hold in such high esteem. Our lack of respect for the wilderness has caused us to rape and pillage the earth we live on, all in the name of “taming the wild”, or making it “pretty”. Our fear of looking deep within ourselves has left us without an internal compass, so we look to anybody who appears to have authority for the answers. We squish our “gut instincts” in the name of rationality and science where, in reality, we need a combination of both. Sex and death are taboo subjects for children even though they are most curious to know about them– we have a society of people who are terrified of death (and will do anything to maintain the illusion of youth) and who view sex and our bodies as dirty shameful things, creating an entire industry that feeds on sex being ‘taboo and dirty’, and generations of people who lack respect for themselves and their bodies and treat sex like it’s something you do when wasted or bored or when you want somebody to like you, or when somebody wants to do it to you, and then they spend a few minutes mimicking porn stars and the rest of the night lying awake wondering what is missing from life.  All the while we ignore that other side– the foods in their natural states; the wilderness without taming; the archetypal stories; the sex as an act of creation and of love and of pleasure; the dancing without choreography; the ideas without academic language to shroud them in importance. The basics. We are starting to miss out on the basic things that created societies in the first place. To perpetuate this idea that ‘love and light’ is the ideal is, in my opinion, reaching a point of being dangeous. There is always a backlash.

These things cannot be repressed for too long.


*Yep, death. I brought up the big D word and now I’m quaking in my boots that you’re going to click the window closed before you get to the point where I say that we’re all going to die one day. Yep, I said it. I’m going to die and you’re going to die (and I hope it isn’t today or tomorrow), and now I can be labeled as morbid, or even crazy and people will paint an invisible boundary around me that they dare not cross lest I remind them of the inevitable. Ok I doubt it actually, and give my five readers (notice how it went up?)  more credit than that. But have you TRIED to talk about this stuff in public? How about menstrual blood. That’s a good one. Oooh, or oozing pus (I may be getting off topic…).

**Disclaimer: I KNOW that there’s a balance. Really, I do. I just don’t feel this balance in society at all. I feel like we’re running the wild over, suppressing it, controlling it, and squishing it away. And until that balance has been achieved I fear that I will always be angry when I think about these things, and always feel compelled to fight for them. I don’t want to get rid of the balance, I understand its necessity. Blah blah blah. There.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2009 14:05

    I just read this going yes yes yes
    If anyone ever asks my opinion about something I shall send them here and say this is what I think…she says the things I cannot scoop up and scatter, she IS me and my voice. The one I haven’t found.
    I get accused of morbidity but I just see it as reality. I’m tired of the gloss and the slick. Sunny disposition? Never could manage that…
    I want rain and grey and black and night and cloud and storms and brewing brooding light.

  2. fairybekk permalink*
    November 18, 2009 17:58

    That’s funny Lou because that’s how I feel about the way you communicate your ideas in your books and designs.
    I feel very lucky to have a sister who I am so similar to 🙂

  3. November 22, 2009 20:07

    This is so right on.

    (p.s. It’s “lake shrine”… I call it Yoga Disneyland.)

  4. November 23, 2009 16:00

    I think it also applies to wildness in behavior as well. If people were allowed to be a little wilder, especially children, maybe there wouldn’t be such a overabundance of medication.

    (I enjoy your blog)

  5. Maria permalink
    November 24, 2009 21:57

    It is so true bekka! It is hard to see both sides of everything at the same time. See beauty in everything that makes as humans. especially with children(as walking satellite) mentioned. Children are the tomorrow adults who are creating the world as we have learned as it is. Growing the children with a broader perspective and teach them to make their individual choices maybe someday the world becomes a different place than it is now.

  6. fairybekk permalink*
    November 25, 2009 06:08

    Owl! Lake Shrine. That’s it. It’s such a horrible place! I remember chatting with some yoga works teachers about where to have a picnic and they told me about it, and how beautiful and spiritual it was, and the perfect place to wander around and contemplate life and have a picnic. When I DID go, I was horrified. Weird. Very weird.

    I completely agree with you, satellite– there’s such a huge culture of repression and self-consciousness that we all learn at such a young age.

    Maria, totally. Jam makes fun of me because I make subversive digs at every child who I have more than 5 minutes with… I’m just trying to plant seeds wherever I can 🙂

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