Sunday, February 10, 2013
I have, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), what they call a very yang personality. It's very analogous to the Type-A personality we talk about in the west.
I am incredibly extroverted. I can be confident, but since I put so much of my life into other people's that's easily crushed by others' opinions. I am motivated, not only to learn, but to excel. My motto in school is to "crush my enemies, see them driven before me and to hear the lamentations of their women." I am bossy, domineering, impatient, temperamental and easily irritated.
I don't want that any more. I do like confidence, I do like to excel but the stress that I put on myself is not healthy. I am an overachiever even though I know that it is simply enough to achieve.
In TCM, there is a way to mitigate this: harmonizing yin and yang. It takes time and patience (uh oh), and in this world of rush hour, white noise, city streets and deadlines it's difficult to find the appropriate times to cultivate yin without taking the very yang attitude of forcing the issue.
Nonetheless, I've been trying and I'm happy to report to those of you who are also yang that even small steps are effective. It started when I joined Sparkpeople four years ago and learned to take the time to eat right. Then, I learned the importance of a regular sleep schedule. I keep picking up other yin habits along the way: regular acupuncture appointments, joining fun clubs to turn my brain off and cultivating an at home mediation practice and it has been working.
I still have a temper that can make my ears ring and my face burn. But instead of it being because of something small like someone cutting me off in traffic, it takes something big as taxes to do it.
I have to remember that this change is itself a lesson in patience. I don't have to completely change myself, either. I just have to learn to live in harmony.