How to Say Yes to Your Life.
Updated: Dec 17, 2022
“Looking for the light is enlightenment”
~attributed to Heiner Fruehauf during a recent webinar I attended with him
Chinese Medicine is deeply informed by both Daoism (nature-based holistic wisdom, in which we understand and even celebrate that we are part of nature and not separate from its rhythms) and Confucianism (acting respectfully in accordance with societal and familial structures).
From Confucianism, each of the seasons has a “virtue” associated with it. I think of each virtue as an invitation to embrace and enmesh with the energy of that particular season.
The virtue associated with summer is “Li” in Chinese. Li is often translated as “good manners” or “propriety.” These translations have always felt fairly stiff and clumsy to me and completely unconnected to the energy of the Heart–the primary organ system associated with this virtue and season.
I’ve recently been learning about Li as “deep politeness” (always looking for the light in ourselves and in others) or “deep reverence” (embracing whatever the universe offers us). There is an amazing opportunity for clarity and growth when you even attempt to maintain this willingness to look for the light, even in situations that seem dark or disturbing to your ego.
Li is associated with reverence and rituals. And so lately I’ve been thinking about, and attempting to practice, bowing to whatever life offers me.
There’s a certain level of humility in accepting whatever comes your way. Summer invites us to be gracious, to be grateful, to enjoy the heat of the sun and to stay in the light.
This doesn’t mean that we have to say yes/to commit to every single offer or situation that comes our way, and this definitely doesn’t mean being a doormat or not pushing for change when needed, but it does mean that we can acknowledge or examine life’s silver linings, the opportunities or gifts–especially when what life offers us is not what we asked for/want.
It’s easy to maintain a deep sense of politeness and gratitude when you get what you want. It’s harder of course when what you’re offered doesn’t match your expectations/desires.
There will be times when you're in the muck and the confusion of life. I’m not encouraging you to pave that over with “positive thinking.” This “deep politeness” is authentic, not a mind trick.
I am inviting you, as you emerge from the sludge, to consider the gifts in every single situation and every single moment of your time on this earth. To even say thank you to life for offering you exactly what you need to be the best you.
Life becomes less threatening when we begin to yield or surrender and when we stop attempting to force everything to “work out” the way we want it to.
If you need support in seeing clearly where you are and in cultivating this deep politeness, deep respect for the gifts of our life, please seek out a trusted friend, a therapist, or consider coming to acupuncture. I love helping people take stock of where they are so that they can better connect with that deep respect and reverence for the challenges and the joys in their lives.
This summer, may you receive exactly what you need and may you say yes when your heart is aligned.
From my heart to yours, I bow to you.