• Dr. Amie Weinberg

You Need Both Yin and Yang

The other day I had a revelation while viewing the number of Covid-19 cases on the right side of CNN. I envisioned the Taijitu, and a feeling of understanding washed over me: I understood. And yet I didn't even know that was its name. In my imagination I beheld the black and white circle with two, curved and intertwined bird-shaped profiles, conforming together in that satisfying way that puzzle pieces do. But as my eyes glossed over the TV screen, I got it; I felt it; it suddenly made sense to me. Yin Yang is a dynamic element of the human condition.

People in my neighborhood and city, my state and country, on the North American continent, and inclusive of all our planet, are experiencing a panoptic pandemic. Covid-19 has abducted our freedom to shop at the mall, travel carefree on public transportation, and send our children to school. Myriad professionals are adjusting to working from home with file sharing and video collaboration. Meanwhile, essential functions remain operational, consigning medical, fire, and other specialists to safeguard themselves from the contagion.

Even with the fear of catching and transmitting the disease, there is more to handle. Workers are laid off and businesses closed. Some restaurants are open, offering take-out orders while keeping patrons apart. Nobody knows when this will end, when work will return to normal, and when students will again learn from professional educators. That's because people are not in charge here. As Dr. Anthony Fauci says, "the virus makes the timeline." And so we wait.

But for what are we waiting? By now we know our return to normal will help define a new normal. Further, this novel situation discreetly delivers special gifts, like the gift of time and the gift of slowing down. The gift of family, and the gift of gardening. And reading, and deep thinking. And connecting, and creativity, and sharing, and exercise. The list can extend ad infinitum. Yes, many are impacted by medical hardship, and for all of you I wish a full return to good health. Others struggle with financial difficulties, and for all of you I wish a speedy turn-around for your livelihood.

Many of us often refrain, "I'll think about my art projects when the kids get older," or "I'll work on my first novel when things slow down at work." And how many parents have opined that their children are growing up too quickly, or that they wish they had spent more time enjoying each day? Well, this is the time for that. Although there is uncertainty beyond our front door, it is an opportunity to walk or run, to ride your bicycle, to get fit. Explore dormant creativity through music or writing or even a new business model. Clean your house, train your dog, play peek-a-boo with your little one.

Many people are suffering in one way or another. Still others put themselves in harm's way to help the rest of us. So if you are fortunate enough to be working from home, remember the Taijitu: it's comprised of both the yin and the yang. Both are opposites and help define each other. Our time at home can be more meaningful when viewed against what others endure.