Yin and Yang


“In Chinese Philosophy Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light)”- Wikipedia

Yin Qualities: cool, dark, moon/night, intuition, up, female, sensitive, expansive, future. Yang Qualities: hot, light, sun/day, logic, down, male, strong, contractive, past.(Institute of Integrative Nutrition)

The main principal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is balance. “It believes that most of our health problems are related to the imbalances of ingredients in our diet. By eating food of the right combination the necessary balance can be maintained. Yang-type food is regarded as ‘hot’. Typically it includes meat, seafood and anything fried. Yin-type food is regarded as cold and includes vegetables and fruit. Excesses of food featuring only Yin or Yang can result in illness” (Chinese Food Life Care)

I’ve been reflecting on balance over the week…

Firstly because I re-read a book called ‘Zen Shorts’ by Jon Muth to the kids which has a story in it of an old farmer who remains incredibly zen and grounded:  “One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “May be,” said the farmer“….Is there meaning to this story? …….maybe 🙂

And Secondly – most certainly related to her losing her brand new school bag on just the 4th day of school – my daughter Blanche said- ‘Why is life always hard sometimes?’ to which her wise father responded: ‘When things are ‘bad’ be reassured that it will pass and when things are going ‘well’ make the most of it!’

YES…Balance, Zen, Yin and Yang!



It was the Mid-Autumn Festival this past week and we made the most of our long week-end – AND I was lucky enough to get a morsel of Antoine’s hand-made moon-cake (right)


We went swimming, went to Pudong (east Shanghai) and re-visited the antique warehouse and the organic ‘Bio-Farm’ where we had a picnic and fed the goats.



Antoine performing his newly learned ‘Peacock Dance’.


We also headed off to the recently built Yuz Museum because I find contemporary art good at grabbing children’s attention – and this art space did not disappoint.

There are so many private collections such as this one popping up all over  Shanghai (such as the ‘Long Museum’ just a few 100 meters away from Yuz) which makes me think that there is either a sudden interest in sharing personal art collections, or some kind of tax incentive in doing so……





660,000 cigarettes were used to create this piece. I suppose that at the equivalent of around $1.50 per pack of cigarettes this ‘tiger skin’ piece was relatively cheap to create.


This one was fabulous – a pile of rubble, which moved as though it was on the ocean


This realistic piece called ‘Angel’ was really rather creepy but I couldn’t stop looking at it.


Shanghighs‘:… and we stumbled across a great Xinjiang restaurant. (I wrote about this cuisine in my post on Xi’an). Yum.

Shanglows‘: I have been miserable at trying to slow down BUT I found a nifty little ‘app’ called ‘Eat Slower’ which is helping me do exactly that ..(when I remember to use it!)

Also, here in China at the beginning of the meal, the host might say “mànman chī” (慢慢吃), which literally means “eat slowly” which differs from ‘Bon appetit’ which means ‘good appetite’!

Shangunusuals‘: Traditional Chinese Medicine also stresses the harmonious combination of tastes for meals: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and pungent. This can explain some common dishes such as rice congee for breakfast served with aged boiled eggs (salty and pungent), pickled vegetables (sour and salty and sweet) and peanuts (bitter?)













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