Coffee Yin-Yang

By , August 17, 2014

I’m not big on Asian philosophy at all, but I do recognize that from it we glean a lot of short hand terms for universal human concepts, truths and values. I’m thinking right now of the concept of Yin-Yang.

Yin-Yang speaks of the value of opposite forces in combination, cooperation and dynamic tension for proper balance: light-dark, motion-rest, work-play, life-death, man-woman, husband-wife.*

On our 32nd wedding anniversary Thursday, Michelle found me a perfect Yin to balance one of my favorite Yangs: my coffee mug.

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

If you’ve read this blog very much, or read my book, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm, you may be familiar with my favorite mug. I’ve spoken of it often in the past (see Simple Gifts: Choosing the Right Mug). I even put it on the cover of the book.

On Thursday, Michelle visited our local thrift stores (see Museum of Lost Desires). At the Salvation Army store, she found a mug that matched mine, but in the opposite; instead of white with black graniteware flecks, it was black with white flecks. She purchased it and brought it home that evening.

This couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s not just that she found this matching mug, but that she found it at a thrift store, which is where I found the white one after a long period of searching and considering (see Want to Save Money? Set Your Standards Too High!). Had she bought it new from a regular retail store, it wouldn’t have been quite the same.

I could just trade off between these two mugs as my primary coffee cup, but you know me—I’ll likely figure out some sort of ritual or observance “rule” to use them. How could I resist? (See Sacred Coffee: Elevating the Habitual to the Mindful). With the autumnal equinox approaching, I’m thinking of one for each half of the year, light and dark. On the other hand, perhaps I should switch that order, so the white mug gets used in the winter. That way, I can see into it more easily in the dark months, and find where I put it more reliably. Either way, at least I’ll solve the minor problem of where to store yet another mug!

*Note: most of these pairings are listed in the more natural sounding western configuration, but, as ordered in the pair, are switched from Yin-Yang, making them Yang-Yin. It can get confusing!

2 Responses to “Coffee Yin-Yang”

  1. Alice says:

    Loved this. I’m always looking for that perfect mug. I haven’t seen one like yours in the Seattle area. (not from a lack of looking….I brake for thrift shops and yard sales)

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Alice, I’m surprised you haven’t seen them. Despite the fuss I make over them, they seem fairly common. I’ve seen more of them around than I’ve picked up–mostly in retail stores. If I were to admit to collecting them, I’d limit myself to secondhand, I’m sure.

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