The Tantalizing Dance of Pushing and Yielding

Have you ever met a person who has that quiet confidence about her and exudes soothing calmness and serenity while also being fully alive and present? The kind of person many of us aspire to be? The path to that stage is long and requires a deep commitment to practice. The good news is that what used to be considered –woo-woo like meditation — is fast becoming mainstream. If you’re not meditating these days, you might as well keep that to yourself, since it’s becoming the norm in many leadership circles. That’s because leaders with a growth mindset are aiming for that much-talked-about presence that’s often referred to as leadership presence or executive presence.

But here is the challenge. In the mindfulness movement and spiritual cultivation in general, there has been a lot of emphasis on presence, which by the way, is a crucial thing — Be Here Now — be present to the moment. But what’s less talked about is how to get to presence. 

All of us come out of our childhoods with issues small and large, conscious and unconscious. We hold these obscurations within our energetic systems and create armoring around them to protect whatever their unresolved issues are. We walk around as adults in a contracted state like zombies — thus, our regular mode of operation comes from the resistance that prevents us from being present.

So what’s the secret to unleashing this pain and blockages within us, often called the wound or the shadow? How can we unload our unconscious misery so we can live larger than life? The answer lies in the ancient principle of letting go. And to let go, we have to relax, which is easier said than done — our protective walls are not so willing to let go of control. All the same, it’s relaxation that IS the precursor to being present — the necessary companion as the yin is to the yang.

Where I learned the most about the principles of relaxation and letting go was in my training in qi gong, tai chi, and energy management. The practice of push hands is particularly revealing as to why we need to relax. When we relax, we get grounded — and we yield, which is a feminine trait. The best martial artists have mastered this skill. They wait in relaxation like a cat while their opponent pushes and pushes, which is a masculine trait. Then they feel into the energy and intuitively know when to strike, all coming out of their relaxed state of being. When you try to tumble someone over who is well-grounded, you are bumping up against the wrong tree. A tree that’s well-rooted and strong is impossible to uproot. 

So, why is it so desirable to resemble the tantalizing dance of the yin and the yang? Because it takes us into that effortless flow state — the zone — wherefrom all creativity, inner strength, peace, and calm arise. And that’s the foundation for your leadership presence. That’s where your power lies — Your TRUE Power!


Written for and first published in my monthly column BE Power — TRUE Power in the Luminous Wisdom: SOPHIA magazine by Sibella Publications on November 1, 2019.

Photo by Alex on Unsplash