Cat From The Mat

For A Wild Ride, Mind The Gap

The Chinese lunar calendar breaks down its 12-year cycle, represented by different animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order.   Each animal sign merely indicates how others see you or how you choose to present yourself.  According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead.  Water can help Wood grow. Wood can help Fire burn. Fire can burn into Earth.  Earth can cover Metal. Metal can hold Water.  After last year's Water Snake, we have just crossed a threshold into the beginning of the Year of the Wood Horse.  

A Horse year is considered a fortunate year that brings luck and good thingsA horse likes to move and take action. Its energy is free spirited, wild, willful, as well as intuitive.  Under its strong influence, there is no middle ground, as it holds true to principles.  According to the Chinese zodiac, the time for pondering and diplomacy was in the watery snakelike movement of 2013.  The Wood element is about reaching onwards and upwards, planning ahead.  Like bamboo, both its strength and flexibility help it seek growth.  Often in life, when change and expansion are needed, there can be a gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point addresses that breach between intention and fruition.  The book explores how epidemics spread, from topics of disease to lowering crime rates to fashion trends. Gladwell highlights the patterns found in the "tipping" of any outbreak.  He investigates how some great offerings never make it past the gate, while others flood our pop culture.  The issue at hand is how to traverse the chasm between a good idea and its manifestation.  This takes skill in action. 

This success of any action is connecting the necessary ingredients in a specific sequence, while knowing what is missing from the recipe.  According to studies, when something "tips," it happens quickly.  This is not to say that out of the blue something sticks.  For change to occur all of sudden, there is a lot of preparation that helps to pave the way, to propel movement, and to contain the shift.  

In the yoga asana practice, some poses seem to just appear one day, like the methodical tilting into an inversion.  But all of the preliminary work on the mat has paved the way for the posture to become the next organic step.  All of that preparation holds what is to come…whether sticking handstand in the middle of the room, receiving accolades for hard work, or holding the space to stay humble as a celebrity or public figure.  Without the initial priming to embrace the flip, then there's no containment for the next phase.  If you practice going upside down every day, regardless of success, then the mental, physical, and emotional groundwork is being laid.  And at some point, doing the inversion becomes the new normal…the tipping point.  

If you are anticipating an overturn this year,  consider  that your precursory efforts are needed to securely embrace change.  Your water serpent self then might be ready to gain land legs and begin to trot, canter, or gallop in the intended direction of your year.  When this happens, it will occur quickly, so hold on. 
To 2014, a year full of wild rides… Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year of the Wood Horse!

Cat From the Mat
February 2014