Are you familiar with the concept of Yin and Yang?  Chinese philosphy describes it as the duality of life.  Opposite forces which are really just different sides of the same coin:

  • Dark to Light
  • Female to Male
  • Contracting to Expanding
  • Cold to Hot
  • Water to Fire
  • Earth to Heaven
  • Good to Evil

The two contradictory halves complete the whole.  The Day flows into the Night.  Yet nothing it absolute.  At the Summer Solstice, the day is longer … six months later at the Winter Solstice, the day is shorter.  At least in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s the opposite in the southern half of the globe.

Today is the Autumn Equinox.  It arrives (usually) on September 22.  For me (in Toronto) it will arrive at 4:02 PM this afternoon.  This time of year we have a balance of daylight and darkness, before the longer nights … Winter is coming.  I find that I go inward during the fall.  It’s my favourite season.  I love the beauty of the changing leaves, the smell of the forest, the quietness.  I go inside myself to reflect.

Yin is commonly associated with negative space … cold, contracting, dark, lower, inward.  Yang is the opposite … positive, hot, expanding, light, upper, outward.  Funny … I’d put the feminine and masculine on opposite side.  Female – according to Tao – is Yin.  Male is Yang.

When we are harmonious, we balance giving (yang) and receiving (yin).

I’m mentioned my neighbour Carrie* before.  I love listening to her speak and watching her smile.  She is one of my spiritual guides.  We run into each other whenever one is ending an epic journey (usually her) and the other is starting (usually me) one.  She popped up in my life to give me selenite candle holders just before my son came to live with me full time.

“I don’t know why you need these, but you do.”

She checks in on me, Matt and the dogs every once in awhile.

After months of silence, we ran into eachother in the hallway last week.  Our friendship sparks up as if we were sisters who spoke only yesterday.  We catch up.  We lean in for a good, long chat.  We learn from each other.  We laugh.  We listen.  We wonder about past lives and places we may have visited together.  She agrees with me that Annie, my heartdog found me again in this lifetime.  I’ve never felt so spiritually connected to an animal.

Carrie knew I needed guidance, even before I did.  We must share a frequency.

When we met last week, she had two very distinct messages for me:

“Keep writing!” and “Fill your cup before you fill others!  Go inward.”

I let my heart, soul & head sift around in our conversation.  My head was trying to make sense of the messages while my heart was tugging at it saying “Let’s go this way!  We will find the meaning over here!”  My soul just nodded sagely, and said “See?  I warned you.”

Where do I go next?

My chemotherapy treatment is complete.  I had 30 days of Floating.  Recovering.  Healing.  Rebalancing.

I saw my Radiation Oncologist yesterday.  Monday I have hours of radiation planning.  Tattoos to guide the beams.  Body casts to hold me in place.  I just want to get to the other side.

The past few weeks I have had nightmares.  Feeling a little off-balance and a few drunken stumbles off the path.  I am unsure of what’s ahead.  I have to think about returning to work because I can’t afford not to.

My chemo brain makes it more difficult to switch gears very quickly.  Some days the ONLY thing I can do is write.  It is the only thing I can hold in focus.  I don’t eat.  I don’t sleep.  I don’t get up out of bed.  I don’t go out.  I don’t do the laundry.  The dishes pile up.  Writing keeps me focused ahead, rather than looking back at the demons chasing me.

It’s gone off on tangents.  Cancer.  Sex.  Spirituality.  Psychology.  A text I shouldn’t have sent (but he forgave me).

Have you seen those webcomics over at The Awkward Yeti where the little red heart skips merrily along, dragging the poor brain along for the ride.  That’s me.

I sat – coffee in hand – and contemplated Carrie’s message again and again.

“Keep writing!” and “Fill your cup before you fill others!  Go inward.”

I let my fingers do the walking and google in circles on my Mac.  I googled “fill your cupin several variations, trying to find a path to centre myself.  I reopened The Artist’s Way to rediscover the creativity of my spirit.  I rewrote my morning routine.  Made a date with my starving artist (me).

I needed to remember to take a breath and be passive.  Feel.  Observe.  Listen.  Sit.

I had spent the last 5 months reacting.  Surrender.  Treatment.  Asking.  Driving.

How the heck do I refill my cup?  I’ve always said that my cup runneth over … I’m not a glass-half-full person, but a full glass.  But I spill it.  Give it away.  Or crack the glass.  And you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Refill your cup means “take care of yourself first”.  Wasn’t I doing that?

Websites asked:

“What do you need?”

“What makes you happy?”

Well, I need a million dollars and a decent man.  No.  No.  The whole Universe sighs and shakes it’s head.  My friends do too.  “Didn’t your psychologist ask you to leave the men alone for awhile?”  Yes!  Yes he did.  I will make a million dollars on my own.  Writing.


I need morning solitude with coffee.
I need peace & kindness.
I need reflection.
I need creativity.
I need spirituality.
I need meditation and yoga.
I need to surround myself with nature.
I need to be social because I am an extrovert.
I need meaning.
I need meaningful relationships.
I need healthy food and pure water.
I need time with my family.
I need my dogs.
I need order and schedules.
I need the odd trinket and bling.
I need positivity.
I need love.
I need stability.
I need security.

Aha.  There it is.  I have filled my cup, but perhaps spent too much time on tiny chunks, ignoring the other chunks. Big chunks of fast food when I need to get back to my clean eating. Big chunks of social time when I needed to sit down and rewrite the budget. Isn’t that human? LA LA LA LA Brain I can’t hear you!  And I have done everything to ignore what I *REALLY* have to do.

Far too big a chunk of morning solitude with coffee.  Sometimes that lasted into the afternoon. But, I have to be kind to myself – forgive myself – and remember that I just went through the most deadliest event of my life.

I’ve had more Yang … so I am heading in for more Yin.

Happy fall!


*Name(s) changed to protect the innocent!

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