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YinyangOne of the most profound symbols we have on this planet is the ancient Chinese yin/yang symbol. If you spend some time with it, it will reveal some very essential keys to a life well-lived.

Take a moment and really look at it. Can you see how the dark and the light are nestled together? They aren’t at war with one another. In fact, they literally complement each other.

What this symbol is saying is something so often overlooked – that both dark and light are essential in life. If you observe your mind closely, you will see that it usually wants to hold onto the light side of life. It doesn’t want all of the delicious parts to go away. In fact, it wants MORE! And it thinks your life will be perfect if you can just nail it down.

When life flows again into the dark, we fight it, we resist it, we blame, we judge, we feel betrayed and oftentimes lost. But Life is a dance of light and dark. At the atomic level, every single atom has a positive and negative charge. So, too, with your body. Your heart valves open and close and your lungs expand and contract. The same is true for day and night, cold and hot, winter and summer. Life always opens and closes.

Resisting the dark causes such suffering. But if you look closely at the symbol, you will see one of its most profound messages – there is a point of light in the dark! What would happen if we all understood that darkness is not what it looks like on the surface? The darkness in your life (your challenges) is not here because you have done something wrong, because someone else has done something wrong, or because God is punishing you. It is an essential part of your journey through this schoolroom of life.

The difficult aspects of life – illness, loss, compulsions, betrayal, shame, abuse, and even death – all come bearing great gifts that will reveal themselves when you can let go of resisting what is being offered and become curious instead. Bringing curiosity and compassion to the difficult aspects of life opens you beyond suffering so you can be present for all of life.

You can continue to chase happiness by trying to get life the way you want it to be, hoping to find the peace and ease you long for by holding onto the lighter aspects of life and resisting the dark. But, this is insanity. It only keeps you caught in a mind that always wants what is not and doesn’t want what is. This kind of mind can’t see that what you deeply long for is always with you, no matter what is happening.

So I invite you to remember the yin/yang symbol when challenges arise, and trust that whatever life is offering you, it is an essential part of your journey back into being fully alive, which is our birthright and the greatest joy of all.

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Mary O’Malley is an author and counselor in Kirkland, Washington. In the early 1970’s, a powerful awakening set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with the challenges of life, freeing herself from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Since that time, Mary has taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Denmark.

She is an inspirational speaker who leads retreats that transform people’s lives, provides individual counseling, and offers ongoing groups where people can come together to experience the miracle of Awakening. Her strengths lie in her ability to be fully present in the moment, integrating information, technique and insight with simplicity and compassion. Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so they can become a part of the healing of our planet. She does so by drawing on her own life experience to facilitate healing and awakening in a compassionate and powerful way.

Mary’s books, which are endorsed by Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald Walsch, include: What’s In the Way IS the Way: Moving Beyond Your Struggle into the Joy of Being Fully AliveThe Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and HealingBelonging to Life: The Journey of Awakening; and The Magical Forest of Aliveness: A Tale of Awakening.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I am grateful for this most illuminating message today. Thank you, Gail and Mary! Love and light, Robin K.

  2. That is a good analigie of the symbol yin/yang. I prefer to live the light, cuz been most my life in the dark, with a glimpse of the light. Now live in the light. I believe I do.
    Thankyou Mary.

  3. …and isn’t perception a funny thing? and how amazing that love brings the unified field into harmony? Just had a dream where I was told I was sent to the underworld to open windows. No wonder I feel so unhappy. But also there are beautiful astral students hanging on with heartfelt rapture to all the details of my divine story. I awoke with such a heat bursting with love to know I am just in the a form of Hades and it doesn’t mean anything bad if I’m somehow inappropriate or not thinking I’m quite living up to my tasks or any other discomfort. Apparently I’m super inspiring. LOL! Who knew!?

    1. Typo: “heat” should have been “heart” (probably obvious) …. thanks for the wonderful inspiration, Mary!

  4. What a profound way you strike me, that there is no happiness without sadness, no goodness without ‘evil’,
    no light without darkness,that we should embrace what IS and blissfully accept the present.
    Thank you for your enlightening thoughts, Mary.

  5. Mary – a thoughtful post. I’m printed it out for my niece who is just being released from prison. It’s a message that will help give her increased confidence and understanding as she navigates through this new beginning in her life. I most liked the reminder to be curious and compassionate.

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