by - annie bachand-loyd, founder Buffalo Gals - eternal optimist!
The other day I was searching, in a local used bookstore, for a "Buddhism 101" book for a friend . The selection was quite limited, however, a small book resting on the ground caught my attention. "Return of the Yin," by Diane Wolverton. I picked it up and was eager for the opportunity to read it. This morning I woke early and finished the book in less than a couple of hours. The story poignantly illustrated my deeply held belief - love heals.
In the introduction, the author shares, "I have sought to find balance in an unbalanced world. I have struggled to gather up and hold on to my authentic self in spit of all the centrifugal forces pulling at me from different directions." She goes on to insist, "Yes, it is possible for the women of the world to unite and galvanize for the purpose of restoring balance to the world. It is possible to start a revolution. Simply, Quietly. Powerfully. It is possible to start a revolution in the spirit of the yin. No need to yell and scream or rail against anyone or anything. Just peacefully paying attention and shifting, shifting, shifting, our resources. It is possible to start a revolution now. It is up to us."
YES!!!! In less than 100 pages this sweet book articulated in a simple and concise manner what I have worked to clearly share for most of my life! When we founded Buffalo Gals it was in this spirit...believing that YES it was possible for the women of the Black Hills and surrounding region to unite and galvanize for the purpose of restoring balance to the world! We learn from all of you, Buffalo Gals, everyday. We learn of our unification in the daily struggles, we celebrate our successes in business, childrearing and transformation moments! We comfort one another through seemingly impossible challenges and tragic moments of loss and sadness. Throughout it all we are growing together, creating deeper relationships, breaking the chains of fear that once bound us to despair and hopelessness. YES - it is possible for the women of the world to unite - Buffalo Gals is living proof! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!
Because I have a mind that loves research and diving deeper into just about anything, I was eager to look up the author and learn more about her. I stumbled across an interview from a number of years ago that seems fitting for our Buffalo Gals today!
Below is an article bringing together the idea, as written about in "Return of the Yin" and put into practice in Wyoming communities . . .
LARAMIE — Diane Wolverton’s book begins as a fairy tale and then leads to ideas about transforming the way businesses are run.
The first half of Wolverton’s book, “Return of the Yin,” published by M.O.T.H.E.R. Publishing Co. in Rock Springs, is a fable about a good princess who after years of torment by the violence and avarice of the world is killed by evil as embodied by a pack of laughing hyenas.
So what does this have to do with business?
Wolverton, director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Centers in Laramie, gets to the business lessons in the second part of the book, which follows the actions of a woman so moved by the death of the princess that she begins to transform her life, the lives of her friends and family and then her community through formation of new kinds of businesses called “yin industries.”
“To understand what a yin industry is, it is helpful to understand the meaning of the Chinese words yin and yang,” Wolverton explained. “Yin is the principle of feminine energy, and yang is masculine. Yin is receptive, dark, nurturing and womb-like. Yang is active, light, forward-moving. The two principles are exactly equal and dependent upon each other.”
Wolverton, a former newspaper publisher, likened yin and yang to the negative and positive of a photograph – without both, the image is incomplete.
“When the yin and yang energies are balanced, we experience harmony, beauty and peace. But when they are out of balance, the opposite occurs,” she said.
According to Wolverton, in today’s business world, there is an abundance of yang energy, which can mean forward driving without regard for the damage done to humans, animals and the earth.
In a yang industry, for example, employees work long hours, sacrifice family, and give up vacation time, because that is the nature of the business.
Yin industries restore the balance in business by incorporating yin qualities such as compassion, justice, nurturing, loving kindness and receptiveness.
“Business schools teach that the purpose of business is to make money for the stockholders. This is commonly accepted in the free-enterprise system,” Wolverton said. “The mission of yin industries is to bring love into the world. The creation of goods and services and the commerce associated with selling these products and services is a byproduct of love.”
In “Return of the Yin,” the female characters learn how love should be their highest value, then return to their homes with their new value system, influencing positive change in their businesses and communities.
Some changes described in the book include children’s centers in companies where boys and girls are invited to creative meetings or can sit with their parents as they work, allowing mothers to choose a career without worrying about child care. Productivity soars and relationships between parents and children improve dramatically.
Although the term “yin industries” was coined by Wolverton for her book, she cites a real-life example where yin exists in a successful modern-day business — Clif Bar Inc. in Berkeley, Calif., producer of the popular Clif Bar energy bar.
Company owner Gary Erickson told her during a tour how a few years ago he had an opportunity to sell the company for an amount that would have made him a rich man for the rest of his life. He almost did it, but at the last possible moment, he decided he could not sell out.
“The Clif Bar company is dedicated to providing a quality product while providing a supportive, nurturing environment to employees and practicing environmentally sustainable practices,” Wolverton said. “Their wellness program includes a workout room which employees can use during company hours, a meditation room, child-care facilities, a massage therapist. Plus, they have a corporate ecologist to make sure the company’s footprint on the earth is as small as possible.”
Clif Bar was selected to Inc. magazine’s list of fastest-growing private companies four years in a row, and Health magazine named it the “Healthiest Company for Women to Work in the United States,” thwarting the argument that a yin industry cannot be successful in today’s business world.
Wolverton also refers to author, educator and architect William McDonough, who addresses the question of economic growth in his book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.” Called a “hero for the planet” by Time magazine, McDonough states, “The key is not to make human industries and systems smaller … but to design them to get bigger and better in a way that replenishes, restores and nourishes the rest of the world. Thus, the right things for manufacturers and industrialists to do are those that lead to good growth – more niches, health, nourishment, diversity, intelligence and abundance — for this generation of inhabitants on the planet and for generations to come.”
Wolverton said an emerging trend in consumer demographics is the growth of a sector referred to as “Cultural Creatives.” These are consumers whose value systems include a strong concern for the environment and a willingness to spend their dollars to support this value system by purchasing products that represent sustainable business practices that are healthy for the planet and all its inhabitants.
As this group of consumers increases in numbers and moves into the mainstream, businesses will be forced to modify their business practices or miss out on this estimated $230 billion market, she observed.
“Return of the Yin” is available in bookstores. Wolverton can be reached at (307) 766-3505 or DDW@uwyo.edu.
Aliza P. Sherman is a writer, consultant and pioneer in Internet marketing and former marketing and public relations manager for the Wyoming Business Council. She can be reached through her Web site, www.mediaegg.com
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