“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”
The Principles of Nature are an important source of inspiration for many of us, and in winter 2021-2022 Paula van der Werff (PSYCH-K® instructor) and Annemiek Keur (Facilitator) organized inspiration afternoons for Facilitators around this theme. In our February meeting, we talked about the principles of Balance, Interconnectedness, and Timing. It was a very associative meeting with a lot of depth and great insights. We hope this account of our meeting inspires readers to give these principles a place in their lives.
We talk about balance between masculine and feminine characteristics in both men and women. We note that women are still often expected to be feminine soft, and decisive action by a woman can clash with the environment that has different expectations of her. Even though it may be possible at work, women find that in their private lives, they are still expected to be ‘women of’. We agree that if you yourself are at peace with both your masculine and feminine sides, your environment will respond differently to you.
The only man in our company this afternoon hardly sees any difference between men and women, except that women seem to be more social and men more rational. He notices that female ministers are weighed differently by his wife than by him. He thinks women are more critical of other women.
We note that masculine is mostly associated with hard work and doing a lot, and that women may tend to build a kind of “male shield” around themselves to hold their own in society.
How can you balance masculine and feminine in your life? In nature, we see that balance does not have to be static. If there is less food then the number of animals decreases, if there is less water then plants don’t grow as fast. If only we could find the same flexibility. For example, in friendships. We see that we can have different roles in different friendships. We also see that friendships can be out of balance and the roles can be quite fixed where one is a giver and the other a receiver. It would be interesting to be able to do that differently. For instance, by holding back on giving for once. The conversation then becomes possible about how you experience the friendship and how the other person experiences it. The roles you might have benefited from at one time but no longer do, become negotiable. In this way, the friendship can grow along with the personal growth of both and a new balance is created.
Work-life balance is also important and for this we sometimes have to choose, let go of activities instead of piling up, make time…
There is a time for everything
(source: Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8)
- For all things there is a time and for all things under heaven there is a time.
- There is a time to be born and there is a time to die. There is a time to plant and there is a time to pull out of the ground.
- There is a time to kill and there is a time to heal. There is a time to tear down and there is a time to build up.
- There is a time to weep and there is a time to laugh. There is a time to grieve and there is a time to dance.
- There is a time to throw away stones and there is a time to gather stones. There is a time to embrace and there is a time to keep your distance.
- There is a time to seek and there is a time to lose. There is a time to keep and there is a time to throw away.
- There is a time to tear and there is a time to sew shut. There is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak.
- There is a time to love someone and there is a time to hate someone. There is a time for war and there is a time for peace.
But how do you know what the time is for? A good clue for this is to ask yourself: Is there balance? We did struggle with the words hate and war because we think hate and war are a distortion. We think hate comes from fear and that fear is the opposite of love. Is hate a cry for love?
Most of our company this afternoon often don’t give much thought to how our actions affect others, but one participant says she often counts to 10 before she says or does something. We like that idea but realise that thinking too much is not good either. Being considerate of others is good as long as you don’t do it just out of fear of your own power.
Here again, the theme of balance comes into play; doing or saying something but in balance with surroundings, not overwhelming others, standing side by side. Therefore, it is important to dwell on HOW you say something and how the other person can receive your message. But there is a catch here too. You do want to stay true to yourself. Moreover, you don’t want to risk filling in too much for the other person in advance, and not saying or doing something because you think the other person will find it annoying.
We are responsible for what we do and say, but also for how we interpret something. Participants shared two beautiful statements to reflect on:
“What the other person says is their thing, how you receive it is your thing.
Your feelings are your own.”
“My ears and my seeing are my prism of creation.”
During our Zoom meeting, we see a great example. Some choose to turn off their camera without realising that another participant may find it annoying. The participant who finds it annoying may not realise that the other person may have a very good reason for it.
Babies are usually born at the perfect time but that is not the same time for every species. Chicken chicks can walk and eat independently right away, sparrow chicks can’t do anything yet. But both hatch at the moment that is perfect for them.
With the right timing, we humans can be most successful and things go easier.
One participant, told as an example, that she only moved away from her alcoholic partner when she herself was ready to do so, and not before when others felt it was better for her. She still thinks it was the perfect moment for her to take that step and be born, as it were, into a new phase of her life.
And again we ask: But how do you know when it is time for what?
Timing is very often by feel. If you consult yourself, you know when you are ready for something; breaking off a relationship, looking for another job or working less, …
With PSYCH-K® we can do Balances that can help us cut knots, prepare ourselves and get ready for a move.
But, of course, there is also the timing of the world around us, and this does not always match our individual timing. Trees and plants, for example, don’t think about when to flower but if it starts freezing again in late spring, many plants adapt by stopping their process for a while. But others don’t survive or suffer damage. Individuals who cannot adapt to the timing or situation of their environment also suffer damage or even die. That is very bad at the individual level but what about when we look at the collective level? And so we come back to the principle of Equilibrium. According to biologists like Midas Dekker, nature is constantly looking for balance and it is precisely humans who disturb the balance. From a geological point of view, we humans are only temporarily here on earth and it’s all about balance as a whole. It is a tricky ethical dilemma. Perhaps for the survival of humanity and for a healthy planet Earth, it is better if there are fewer of us, but we don’t want children to die… We can’t figure it out but we do feel that we can all take our own piece(s); have positive intentions and try not to burden the environment.
The Principles of Nature are also interconnected. Everything is interconnected. We cannot just withdraw from it. We close with a text by the recently deceased Thích Nhất Hạnh that articulates this very nicely.
A cloud floats in this sheet of paper
(source: Every step is peace)
If you are a poet, you can clearly see that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without cloud, there is no rain; without rain, trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is necessary for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not there, this sheet of paper cannot be there either …
If we look even deeper into this paper, we can see sunshine in it. If the sun were not there, the forest could not grow. And so we know that there is sunshine in this sheet of paper too. If we look even longer, we can see the woodcutter who felled the tree and took it to the factory where it was turned into paper.
And we can see the wheat. We know that the woodcutter cannot live without his daily bread and so the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And also his father and his mother are in this paper …
If we look even deeper, we see that we ourselves are also in it. This is not so difficult to see: when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet becomes part of our perception …
So we can say that everything is here, in and with this sheet of paper. There is nothing to point to that is not here – time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sun, the cloud, the river, the heat …
This sheet of paper exists because everything else exist.