Feeling stuck? Ask Ancient Eastern Wisdom for help…

You most certainly (and even more likely so as an expatriate) have been, are going or will go through the challenging moment described in Hexagramme 12 of the I-Ching, also called Adversity, Stagnation or Standstill.

Everyone and anyone can experience this, for expats it can present itself in the form of: cultural challenges, administrative hickups, language barriers, laws and regulations issues, difficulty to find employment, etc…

This part of the I-Ching refers to times when you are stopped at a crossroads, wondering which direction to take, which decisions to make, which mindset to adopt in order to get out of the stagnation.

Well, the I-Ching advises you to not linger at the crossroads and exhaust your brain, figuring out what is the best next move, but instead, to release the issue, and your need to be in control. To let go…To trust that things will eventually move again, because nature is about change, nothing is ever static.

Instead of you feeling pressurized to choose a path, trust that the path will come to you.
If you manage to let go of the voice inside nagging at you « you must choose The Right path Now or else everything will fall apart», you will pleasantly be able to notice that the path will then be presented to you, and you will just have to go along with it. It takes a bit of practice when your mind is not trained, but if you genuinely give it a try, you will realise the outcome will often be much better than what you would have figured out all by yourself using your brain only.

Hexagramme 12 is what is called a calendric hexagramme, meaning it refers to a specific time and season of the year, and this season is Autumn.

Ancient China’s population cultivated a symbiotic relationship with nature. People lived according to its rhythms, aligning their actions to the requirements of its seasons. Tuning it with nature produced better and easier results, while allowing for physical health to be preserved.

In Autumn, day and night become more even, light and darkness become more balanced in terms of proportions, just like in Spring, but in opposite directions…

As opposed to Hex. 11 (click on “Peace within and without“to see the article previously published), which image represents heaven and earth meeting and communicating, Hex.12 is about heaven and earth moving away from each other and temporarily separating.

As opposed to Hex. 11, Hex. 12 describes a time when things do not naturally go well, a time when there are bumps on the road.

No worries though. Nothing is ever « wrong » or « right » when living according to the principles of the I-Ching, every step is a necessary process.

Like in Autumn, you are advised to accept you are going through a necessary time of recession. If you want the trees to grow beautiful leaves and produce fruit again, you need to allow them to take the necessary time to shed their leaves.

You, as a human being, are encouraged in this instance to let go of your shining ego and big ambitions and to turn your attention inwards, to digest what has happened before, so you can be prosperous again when the time is right.

Likewise,when facing this time of standstill in your life, you are encouraged to let go of what is not essential, in order not to deplete your energy while trying to retain people or things which are naturally moving away from you (like heaven and earth are moving away from each other).

Whether you are currently experiencing this situation in your life as an Expat, or not, Autumn is always a good period of time to apply the advice above, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, it is a time emotionally linked to sadness, and physiologically linked to the Lungs (in Chinese medicine, there exists a connection between organs, seasons, and emotions).

Therefore, taking regular mindful walks in nature is one way to optimize lungs health, 20 minutes a day is ideal, you don’t want to overexercise, it would be counter productive in a time when slowing down is recommended.

Embracing the feelings of sadness when they arise is a healthy way to be going through this season.
Practicing easy breathing exercises will help you release the sadness, you can consciously do that while exhaling, and will build up and gather the energy inside, acting both on your emotional and physiological self.

I would very much like to hear your thoughts, feelings or personal experiences. Do you like this article? Does it make sense to you? Have you experienced these times when things seem to be stuck? Have you noticed how your body is responsive to seasons and seasons changes?

Feel free to leave a comment below.
And if you have enjoyed reading this article, give it a « Like ». Thanks.

Karine Kayitesi