Yanantin: Dancing with Duality

I have always been happy to suspend my beliefs in order to dance with opposite concepts, such as the Everything and the Nothing, the Infinite and the Instance, Self and Other, good and evil, or spirit and physicality. With some investigation it is apparent that seemingly intractable dualities are intricately, deeply connected – perhaps just different expressions of the same thing.

The Q’ero shamans of Peru have a word for this. I was thrilled to discover their concept of “yanantin”, which is the harmony of complementary dualities, because it speaks to me at my core, and I’m sharing these words in case someone else would be just as enthralled.

I think that situating myself in reality means being aware and present within the whole picture: the yanantin that encompasses both what seems “real” to us and what doesn’t. The truth is everything is real. (Remember the physicists who are happy to say that in an infinite universe, everything you imagine and everything possible must actually manifest in physical reality.) Dancing with opposites situates us in the bigger picture of potential and wholeness.

As Hillary S. Webb writes in her excellent book, “Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World” (a book she was kind enough to send me at a difficult time in my life when I legitimately couldn’t afford it):

“Similar to Chinese Taoism, Andean philosophy views the opposites of existence (such as male/female, dark/light, inner/outer) as interdependent and essential parts of a harmonious whole. Because existence is believed to be dependent upon the tension and balanced interchange between the polarities, there is a very definitely ideological and practical commitment with indigenous Andean life to bringing the seemingly conflicting opposites into harmony with one another without destroying or altering either one.”

At its best, the concept of yanantin expands our awareness and challenges us to go deeper, to think beyond dichotomy and live in the balance between body and spirit. Yanantin can teach us to be in better relationship with things like giving and receiving, ego and selflessness, and so much more.

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Getting Better

I think I’m finally on the mend, having been sick for about a month. I’m making stuff again and I have a little energy to spare, as long as I rest when I need to. This morning I made this necklace in honour of my vision of my higher self, who I call Uvanga (which means “myself” in Inuktitut). The spiral shell and fossil stone remind me of sacred geometry, which I’ve been investigating in terms of fractals — where the instance meets the infinite and the two unite. This is how I see my higher self and all higher selves in general — infinite versions of our particular instances.

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(Also note the GORGEOUS dress Willow made me — it looks like a galactic superhero dress in the best way possible!)

It’s the Little Things

I’m really appreciating the little things in life today — like eating scrambled eggs after a week of nothing but jello and broth! I swear, those were the best eggs I’ve ever had. I like these moments that teach us to appreciate the mundane parts of our existence just a little bit more.

My vision is getting better — quite distorted but definitely better! And I had an appointment with the surgeon today that confirmed I most likely have a bleeding ulcer, which is why I’ve been so sick (throwing up blood, anemic and not able to eat, and in a lot of pain). I have to go for a scope down my throat in October, but for now I have medication and I think I can manage to keep the situation stable. I feel so relieved and even happy, and completely eager to go forward and spend time with spirit, doing my daily activities again.

In fact, tomorrow I might even get dressed! Another little thing to cherish. It’s the little things. And if you have the little things, you’re doing okay.

The Strangest Birthday

I’m not sure what’s been going on with me this past week. First my vision went, and it still hasn’t gotten better. Now I have very intense abdomen pain that we’ve narrowed down to be either my pancreas, gallbladder, or an ulcer. The next step is an MRI and a consultation with a surgeon. I’ve been in the ER for the past two days and today’s my birthday. I can deal with not feeling well, but all I want is a peaceful day without the kind of pain attacks that bring me to tears.

I’ve never been to the hospital in my life before this and am wondering what lesson spirit is trying to teach me…

Visually Impaired Arts!

So today I decided to test out my crafting abilities although my vision has not improved. I made these little clay mushrooms with crystal stems! With the help of a magnifying glass, it wasn’t too bad, though I’m not sure how much fine detail I can do yet.

Willow’s been amazing, spending her time helping me make my computer and even our World of Warcraft game as accessible for me as possible ❤  With her at my side I can’t help but feel positive, no matter the outcome.

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Learning to See in the Dark

I have suffered an injury to both my eyes, to the extent that I cannot read without a magnifying glass and I had to use the accessibility options on my computer to magnify everything by 250% just to get by. I don’t have a drivers’ license but I don’t think I’d be allowed to drive even if I did. I can’t read signs, I can’t see the traffic lights, and sometimes I can’t even see cars at a certain distance. Not like they’re blurry but like they aren’t even there to my eyes.

My prognosis is unknown. It could take a couple weeks or a year or never get better. I saw the optometrist today and I’ll see him again in two months. For now I’m adjusting and trying not to be upset, but I don’t know yet how this will affect my art. I only recently started to consider myself an artist, and now I have to find new ways to see.

Shamans have been described as those who can “see in the dark.” This is what I need to learn to do, now more than ever. I used to have an uncanny ability to spot animals at night. Sometimes it was more like a psychic seeing as I wasn’t really seeing the animal in the first place. I just knew it was there.

Now more than ever I need to sharpen my other physical senses, and my spiritual senses, to navigate this world.