Concussion Recovery, Resting to Repair & Embracing Yin
On March 4th I aggravated my concussion and had to take the month to rest and repair – on the couch, protecting my eyes from light, in Concussion Mode.
I have reinjured my concussion a couple of times since the initial injury in January 2017. And each time is terrifying, depressing, and full of challenges. Head injuries are no joke. Your brain is YOUR BRAIN. I get scared when it keeps me from working. I get scared I’ll develop CTE. I get scared I can’t be my big, bright self, enjoy things I love, be there for friends, and work hard to make the world a better place. I feel like my best self when I am energetic, proactive, and running on high. But the concussion asks me to embrace another part of myself: the quiet, restful part, the one with no need to achieve. As much as I resist it, the concussion asks me to embrace the Yin and give the Yang a rest for a while.
Yin is the Feminine aspect of life, health, everything. It is the energy of resting, listening, accepting, consolidating energy, and embodiment. We live in a society that values everything Yang: the Masculine, active, achieving, expanding, the “Go Go Go Go Go.” The Yin aspect of nature is devalued, belittled, rejected as unimportant. My herbal teacher, Patricia Kyritsi Howell of The Botanologos School of Herbal Medicine, likes to say, “One of the most revolutionary things you can do in this world is engage in Yin activities.” My own experience with burnout made me realize I needed to rebuild my life from a new paradigm, one that embraces Yin. But I have also come to realize that I am not the only one: our society needs a new paradigm. All Yang with no Yin is making us sick, anxious, and depressed. The constant emphasis on growth, while totally ignoring that we too are human animals, embodied beings dependent on the Earth, is killing the planet.
I like to move so fast that sometimes I feel like a racehorse. But what I’ve come to realize through this journey is that while our culture asks us to be at a constant sprint, our bodies, and our spirits, were not made for that. I have come to realize that racehorses also rest. In fact, their power comes from their ability to rest and repair. So while being forced to rest due to a head injury is scary and depressing and I totally resist having to spend weeks on the couch, it is also a lesson that reminds me that Yang is only possible where there is Yin. Racing is only possible when there is rest. Sometimes the greatest power comes from being quiet.