Published in Best Self Magazine:
Eat, Pray, Love meets Fifty Shades of Grey in the Yin Yang game — a sacred game of relationship role-playing that deepens intimacy and spiritual connection
Let’s face it. We men and women who openly read Eat, Pray, Love and stealthily, perhaps even critically, read Fifty Shades of Grey (or vice versa) are one and the same: passionate, adventurers, who yearn for the unknown and the forbidding.
We are Love seekers demanding more from life – not more stuff, necessarily, but more intimacy, more connection, more mystery, more awe — and more sex. Not the 30-second sneeze type, but the unadulterated, long-lasting “Ravish me!” type that leaves us looking deep into the eyes of our Beloved for an hour and, seeing only the Divine there, declaring, “I would do anything for you…anything.”
So how do we go from being adventurous, spiritual, wanton wannabes to Red Hot and Holy? It’s simple really. The secret is to willingly and shamelessly surrender to our partner.
How? Play the Yin Yang Game.
In Eastern philosophy, Yin and Yang are complementary forces. Yin is the valley: slow, soft, passive, wet, dark, and often thought of as feminine. Yang is the mountain: fast, hard, penetrating, sunny, and often thought of as masculine. When perfect Yin meets perfect Yang, something greater than the parts—a mutual whole—is created. It is said that Yin and Yang transform each other, gradually trading places with each other. Everyone has both Yin and Yang aspects.
My husband and I discovered during our journey through the sacred and the profane that the Yin Yang game is a doorway into a whole other level of intimacy. It affords an opportunity to let go of control and instead to invite a spirit of willingness to rule for a spell. This in turn affords the opportunity to surrender — a precursor to liberation —which provides an opening for profound intimacy.
What exactly is this Yin Yang game?
Well, I could have called it the Master and Servant game, but then I might have lost half my audience who felt sure that some kind of ritual S & M was not for them. But hang on. Hear me out.
The Yin Yang game is a sacred tool, offering you, for a limited time, the possibility to open completely to one another without preset boundaries, without conditions, with only acceptance and humble submission.
It works like this. You and your partner each take turns for an agreed upon amount of time — say one or two hours — practicing perfect surrender as the Yin (Servant) to the other’s loving dominance as the Yang (Master).
During the allotted time period, the Yang partner can ask for anything and the Yin partner complies without argument. If by chance the Yang partner asks for something the Yin partner truly feels is outside their ability or comfort zone to deliver, the appropriate response is: “Please Master, I am so sorry, I am unable to comply with your wishes. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
The Yin partner adopts a kind of “My partner is a God/dess right now and I am humble before him/her” attitude, while the Yang party acts boldly to communicate what they want. The result is that the couple is likely to explore uncharted territory.
While it might seem that surrendering unequivocally to another’s wishes might be the hardest part of this game, it can also be challenging to be the Yang partner, for you must be vulnerable enough to fearlessly communicate what you want. You must also be prepared to receive the enormous Love that surrender offers.
You can play the Yin Yang game back-to-back on the same day, each taking a turn at role playing, but it can be even more fun to split the times up, so that each party truly gets their partner’s undivided attention. One day you are unequivocally Yin and on another Yang. You will learn something about yourself and your partner either way.
The game is played with both a light heart and an air of reverence.
Bowing before one another, each in turn, we allow ourselves the possibility of seeing our partner in a divine light, no matter what.
We agree to let go of our conditioned responses and judgments, instead offering only acceptance and compliance. We see that we are here to serve, and who better to serve than our beloved partner?
So — are you ready to go on a spiritual quest to new and exotic lands? Are you ready to meet your Master taking the form of your mortal partner? If so, you will discover what Rumi has said is the secret of the happiest couple he knew:
Their secret was: That once every day for an hour they would treat each other as if they were gods, and would do anything, anything their beloved asked.
~ Their Secret Was by Rumi (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)