Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.
~ Lao Tzu, author of Tao Te Ching
Throughout my twenties and most of my thirties, I pushed myself hard.
After securing media coverage for a client on the TODAY Show, I barely stopped to breathe before I was pitching their story to National Geographic or lining up a meeting for them with the French Embassy. When it came to generating results, I was convinced if I just “forced” the outcome, it was bound to happen!
Sometimes this worked, often it didn’t. But, invariably, this over-aggressive mode of operating always left me feeling exhausted, overextended and depleted (not to mention hugely deficient in the fun and joy department!).
Over time—and as a result of a lot of personal growth work—I came to realize these stressful feelings were a sign that my energy (how we get things done) was out of balance and too heavily weighted in the masculine realm. I had not yet learned how to tap into my feminine strengths, such as asking for and receiving help and pausing and reflecting before I leap into action.
Regardless of our gender, we all possess both feminine (often called “yin”) and masculine (often called “yang”) energies. Yet, in our Western culture where results and outcome are so highly valued, most of us—both men and women—are out of balance and many of us have come to overly-rely on our yang strengths. Although I’m sure there are also many of you who experience the opposite and may be too reliant on your yin strengths.
The danger of this imbalance is physical and emotional exhaustion (envision pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks up a mountain and the long-term effect this has on your body). You risk burn-out and more importantly, you miss out on the many gifts that come from accessing your highly intuitive yin-oriented talents and gifts such as collaborating with others or tapping your intuitive wisdom.
Both masculine and feminine energies are important. I could not have birthed my first book without tapping my yin strengths — accessing my intuition and waiting until I was fully inspired to begin writing—and my yang strengths—calling on the fire in my belly to execute the timeline and get the book to the publisher by the required deadlines! But real power comes when we learn how—and when—to call forth both of these strengths.
BALANCING YIN/YANG HOMEWORK
Reflect on the short list below of a few yin and yang strengths. Then,
1) Observe how your body feels as you read first the yin list and then the yang list;
2) Make a list of some of your yin and yang strengths that have supported your personal and professional success thus far, and
3) Jot down a few specific ways you could begin to allow more of your yin qualities to surface (ex: carving out time to take a personal retreat, calling a mentor for support or “sitting” with an idea or strategy for a week before taking action on it).
Then, over time, try cultivating an awareness for which energy could best serve in a given situation. Whether it’s at work, in the midst of parenting or while launching a new project, envision yourself becoming comfortable learning to weave your yin and yang attributes together—as you feel guided in the moment.
Yin (or feminine) Energy
Yang (or masculine) Energy
Some of the ways I balance my yin/yang energies are through movement such as dance, yoga, qi gong, tai chi, creative writing, drawing, taking retreats and journaling.
Pick up a copy of my book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life at your local library (or you can purchase it here) for additional guided exercises around this topic. I also teach around this theme during my self-renewal retreats and private life balance workshops.
This is a vast topic and an important one. (Relationship expert Linda Bloom says most marriages that are on the rocks are due to men and women being out of balance around their yin/yang energy.) If someone would have suggested this facet of balance to me when I was in the middle of leading a press conference twelve years ago, I would have thought they were crazy.
Take your time and invoke lots of curiosity and compassion as you dive into this theme; it took me more than 35 years to begin to understand this concept and I’m still working on it today.
Want weekly inspiration for living a balanced life? Subscribe to my blog The Journey and view all my past life balance e-newsletters here. And please, join the dialogue with our global community on our Live Inside Out Facebook page; I’d love to hear your comments around the theme balancing yin/yang energy!
Warmly, Renée and the RTA Team (512/459-6700)
P.S. Wondering how we can support you? Here’s a quick snapshot of our coaching services and products.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- October 1-31 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Membership Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Or, click here to find a Personal Renewal Group in your area.
- October 1-31 DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN NOW: Live Inside Out Teleclasses. Listen in the comfort of your home or office to Renee’s recent Life Balance Teleclasses. Download these inspiring, interactive calls; themes include: The Power of Self-Care, Owning Your Personal Power and Staying Connected to Your Partner. Free for a limited time.
- November 3 Girls Empowerment Network (GENAustin) We Are Girls Conference, Austin High School Finding Calm in Chaos: Four Ways to Re-Balance Your Life – a free workshop with Renee Trudeau.
- December 2012—date TBD. Finding Your Center: An Evening of Self-Renewal for Couples, Austin, TX. Date night! Join Renee for a fun/enjoyable evening as she supports and guides couples in how to Live Inside Out, experience more peace and harmony in the everyday and step into a New Way of Being.
- Friday, December 2012—date TBA (9 am-1:30 pm). Envision, Create and Expand: A 2013 Visioning Retreat for Empowered Entrepreneurs. Are you ready to shift your relationship to your business? Gain clarity and focus on how/where to direct your energy, receive laser coaching/feedback, tap Renee’s most powerful exercises and tools, enjoy guided support and leave inspired, focused and ready to move into the new year with renewed passion and clarity. Led by small business coach Renee Trudeau at a small, quiet, private retreat center in Austin. Limited to 8 people. Cost: $249. Details/register. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
April 19-21, A New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Esalen, Big Sur, CA. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of self-care to nourish your body, heart and soul. Learn to integrate self-renewal strategies into your daily life, slow down and access your Wise Self. Step into a New Way of Being. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Esalen. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here.
June 21-23, A New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Tap into the transformative power of self-care to nourish your body, heart and soul. Learn to integrate self-renewal strategies into your daily life, slow down and access your Wise Self and step into a New Way of Being. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition.
- New Way of Being™: Let Go, Embrace Flow and Love Your Life A national telecourse for men and women led by Renee Trudeau. Are you done with overwork, overwhelm and ready to discard your old habitual ways of working and being? Would you like to de-clutter, simplify, learn to leverage the power of self-care and step into a more spacious, free work/life flow? Join Renee as she supports, guides and coaches you into a new way of being and helps you access greater peace and harmony in your everyday life. REGISTER HERE (Class downloads/materials will be sent to you via email).
- I CHOOSE LOVE Global PSA You’re invited and encouraged to take part in the I CHOOSE LOVE global Public Service Announcement. Learn more about how to get involved in this free, grassroots initiative and why choosing love over fear could radically transform your life! Learn more.
- Private Customized Retreats: Renee is masterful at creating/facilitating empowering half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups. You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here. Email Brenda Zook Friesen, events manager at email@example.com or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
You may reprint this newsletter in its entirety provided you include at the end: Renee Peterson Trudeau is a life balance coach/speaker and author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. You can download free book chapters, receive life balance tips or learn about upcoming events at www.ReneeTrudeau.com. Facebook: LiveInsideOut.
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