Tender and Tough
This week we are looking at Hexagram 3, Sprouting. As is always the way order means a lot when you are looking at texts that originated in the Chinese language. In a Chinese language sentence, the order is significant, giving meaning and shape to how you can understand each character. In our living world, however, you can sometimes think that order isn’t there. You might see only chaos. But one of the most important teachings in the Book of Changes is specifically that if you can see how the order emerges from the chaos or vice versa, you will be well ahead of the game. You might even say order leads to disorder or disorder leads to order, but either way if you can follow the change, understand how it comes about, you will be able to stay in harmony, attunement with your world.
The result of the embracing of pure yang (Hexagram 1) and pure yin (Hexagram 2) is growth, proliferation. Such growth often looks and feels like chaos especially to start with. Even more interesting or aggravating, is the fact that growth, while exciting and most often welcome, relies on conflict for energy. Or to say it another way, nothing grows without the presence of opposition and tension. Whether the conflict is internal or external, the energy of forces that looks to be entirely in opposition give rise to the beauty and variety of life.
Sprouting is the moment when there is actually maximum resistance to movement and yet movement occurs. How does this work? How does it happen that movement happens in the face of the forces of resistance, stagnation, coagulation, even apathy? Things are knotted and confused and then suddenly without warning they are clear, alive and ready to move. The movement of Inspiring Force can be sudden, and unexpected sometimes. Meanwhile, there is you, your body, the vessel, the receptive, waiting, listening, quiet but alert, ready to step into the dance, into the rain, onto the earth, honoring the something that is growing in you.
The beginning of any growth process is the sprout. A sprout is the manifestation of triumph, the result of a growth process that is finally visible, the result of the potent dialogue between rest and activity, reflection and initiation, conception and manifestation. The thing about a sprout is that it is tender. It is vulnerable. It took a lot for that sprout to get to exist. It took quite a bit of force, quite a bit of quiet, quite a bit of dark and then quite a bit of rain and sunshine. Now, here it is in fine glory, bright green, a perky thing with so much in the way of nutrients, so much in the way of energy, and yet it remains tender.
In the magical, messy mix of life in the process of sprouting, in the midst of much rain, much wind and much chaos both inside and out, what has had the courage I wonder, the toughness, to show up in your life? What is showing up tender and tough and ready to grow? I’d love to know…