Video by David Hall
Turn up the sound
Medicine of the Yellow Woman Go-Between 1
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving…”2
There is a natural and necessary space which allows for continuity of movement and change, like the space between one gear and another or like the space between atoms, stars, and planets. Without the gap/space, fluidity of movement is limited or stopped and possibilities diminished. Perhaps for a moment, or for a very long while.
When experiencing the territory of gaps in life it can be uncomfortable, disorienting, terrifying, and exciting. A known way of life no longer exists, and what is next is not yet clear. Chaos, confusion, and all manner of shadow material can obscure clarity. Yet this space of ‘in-between’ is infinitely powerful and necessary to creating new life.
There is a time for action- for doing- and when all that can be done has been done, one must wait, stay alert, and be present until the spark of what is next emerges to show the way. In order to ‘center’ the chaos of change, it is necessary to tend this delicate place with patience, compassion, and fierce commitment to ourselves- to truth- to mystery- to life itself. This sacred container is where a new center of gravity- a new possibility- around which one’s being or life is able to orient, crystalize, and emerge.
At such a time it is vital to stay connected to the essence of one’s inner truth, to have faith not in any particular thing but faith in a wider sense- in the truth (no matter how small or large) that resides at the deepest recesses of one’s heart and soul. From this place, something truly new is able to come into being from the ground of one’s authenticity so that one’s outer life is aligned with one’s inner truth. As one grows and changes continuously throughout one’s life, there will be many thresholds and gaps as an outgrown life ‘dies’ into the new.
When intention aligns with inner truth, we nurture the seeds of becoming- of wholeness. Like the sprout emerging from the seed, one’s inner truth/essence emerges like an offering- a gift reaching out to the world- to life. In the space/gap at the center of one’s being nourished in ‘the yellow court’3, the ‘yellow woman go-between’1 lives right here within each us as the changes of life orient and re-orient over and over again to the ever-emerging truth of the present.
“Wait for the time to break free.
No thought, no doing, not obsessed, not indifferent.
Basically there is a time to break free, transformed;
It will not do to be too early or too late.
Truthfulness within reaches outside, not admitting force;
When a watermelon is ripe, it naturally separates from the stem.”4
1. The “yellow woman” is know as the earth mother in the center- a centering, harmonizing principle in Taoist inner alchemy having to do with ‘true faith’ and ‘true intent’. Chang Po-Tuan; Commentary by Liu I-Ming; Translated by Thomas Cleary, The Inner Teachings of Taoism (Shambhala Publications, Inc. 1986), 88-89.
2. T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets (Harcourt, Inc. 1943, Copyright renewed 1971), 15-16.
3. “Yellow court” is, metaphysically, “the ‘center’ in the sense of intent (as the force that unifies the being), truthfulness, balance, faith.” Chang Po-Tuan; Commentary by Liu I-Ming; Translated by Thomas Cleary, The Inner Teachings of Taoism, 48.
4. Chang Po-Tuan; Commentary by Liu I-Ming; Translated by Thomas Cleary, The Inner Teachings of Taoism, 45.
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ’Nourishing Change Through Connection’.