The Power of the Yin

The valley spirit never dies.
It is called the mysterious female.

The entrance to the mysterious female
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth.

Endless flow
Of inexhaustible energy.
— Tao de Ching (Addiss & Lombardo)

Yin and Yang are the great dualities that emerged out of the Whole, or the Dao; these two in turn gave birth to the "ten thousand things" of our Earthly world.  The Yin is the feminine principle, the "endless, inexhaustible resource," the internal, liminal, intuitive, receptive, mysterious, gestational; dark and deep like the earth. 

The Yang is associated with the masculine, and is clear, directional, singular, temporal, ordered and manifest; shining and vast like the great sky above. 

We can't possibly live without both; and yet we are in danger of living only the extremes.

The Path of the Yin is not the dominant paradigm in our modern culture.  One of the strange paradoxes of our current culture is that we almost exclusively value Yang energy as if it were infinite. It is not.

And so we become depleted, traumatized and disempowered as we try to manifest our gifts and express our wisdom.

Yang energy can only be reliable and true if it comes from a deep root in the Yin, which is indeed infinite.

“The passage into mystery always refreshes. If, when we work, we can look once a day upon the face of mystery, then our labor satisfies. We are lightened when our gifts rise from pools we cannot fathom. Then we know they are not a solitary egotism and they are inexhaustible.”
— Lewis Hyde, "The Gift"

The Power of the Yin was born out of the medicine of my own practice. As an expansive, creative being, I have learned the hard way how it feels to become depleted, vulnerable to injury, and despairing.

The answer is not to work harder, power up, or “just do it”.

Anything contained within a boundary must contain as well its own exhaustion.
— Lewis Hyde, "The Gift"

The surprising answer is to surrender and soften, to open to mystery and become comfortable in the liminal.

To wait, sometimes a long, uncomfortable time, while something powerful in you gestates, and then to step into Yang action when the timing is true, as if carried by a wave, the wind of a loving universe at your back, supporting you all the way.

The truth is, it’s amazing how effortless power can feel when you are in the Divine Flow.


It is not easy to surrender; it is not easy to know how to flow.   However, these truths are mirrored all around us in Nature, in the galaxies, in our psyches.

We can access these truths through sacred physical practices and healing arts that work with energy, archetype, awareness and movement. 

Our bodies and our psyches become tuned to the permutations of Yin and Yang allowing us to feel more fully embodied.

Then we can move ever more clearly towards that great Daoist understanding of our Destiny, which returns us to the Wholeness of the Dao.