Yesterday I accompanied a friend, Susan Swern, on her eight hour round trip to Aspen. Her goal in town was to speak to an art dealer and an autograph expert. We both love road trips, so it was perfect. She is also my eating coach with Eating IQ. At various times during the drive, she asked me to join her in an exercise in “Living in the Moment”.
“For 5 minutes, observe the scenery. Just notice.” she said.
I thought, that will be easy. Boy was I wrong! Everything reminded me of my husband who had passed 18 months earlier. Tears streamed down my cheeks. We talked about how my thoughts were intruding, bringing in sadness.
She said, “You control your thoughts. Let’s try again.”
The second time was easier. I saw the fences in the snow and noticed the posts were thick, then thin, then thick. My thoughts invaded again. “I remember learning to draw perspective with fences and telephone poles when I was practicing drawing as a girl.” Oops! Those thoughts are persistent! But it also reminded me how I would always be in the moment when I was drawing or painting. Hours would pass without notice. Only the act of drawing was reality.
The third time was the charm. We were in Glenwood Canyon, the Colorado River slowly flowing west, dark against the snowy shore. Red rocks formed the canyon walls with tall dark spruce clinging to cracks with a backdrop of bright white snow. I achieved the joy of Living in the Moment by simply observing what is.. now. Ahhhh.
I remember how much I enjoyed reading about the Chinese zodiac on the paper place mats in the Chinese restaurants in small Florida towns. Do they still make those place mats? Now I make my own Asian food or order take-out. My Chinese zodiac animal is the Water Snake, which is perfect for me as I have always loved snakes. My childhood was spent in the midst of a citrus grove on the shores of a Florida lake, a perfect location to see snakes. I’ve never felt the fear most people experience. Instead I have an intense curiosity and feel gratitude for every snake that crosses my path.
Monkeys are very different for me. They always bothered me somewhat, screaming as they swing from branch to branch in zoos or as a child, watching the escapees in the trees surrounding Silver Springs, Florida. My Italian-American mother-in-law had a pet monkey who liked to throw his feces at people he didn’t like. Thankfully, this monkey was no longer in residence during my visits. The horoscope for Snakes is pretty good during this Year of the Monkey. Maybe monkeys are OK now.
Reading about the 2016 Year of the Monkey, I’ve learned new things about the Chinese New Year calendar.
- The idea of compatibility based on your horoscope originated with the Chinese zodiac.
- Celebration of the Chinese New Year is complex. February 7th is the Eve, the 8th is the Day and the 22nd is the Lantern Festival.
- If your Chinese zodiac is the Monkey, this year is thought to be unlucky for you. How to be lucky in your zodiac year.
- Each zodiac animal is associated with one of the five elements. In 2016, the Monkey is associated with Fire.
- If you were born in the Year of the Monkey, your personal traits are witty, intelligent, ambitious, and adventurous.
For the second year, I’ve joined Jennifer Steck in her class to map out the year. My 2015 was incredible, partly because I started it with Jennifer.
In order to map out 2016, we first reviewed 2015. It was therapeutic to think about the triumphs, the sadness and the bravery I experienced the last 12 months. Giving myself credit for my past, sets the stage for current goals and aspirations, which lead to continued success.
Jennifer asked us, “What was your word for 2015?”
I forgot to bring my 2015 worksheets with my “defining word”. My memory told me it was TRANSFORM. However, locating my process sheets when I returned home, I found the actual word was RECREATE. I smiled because I saw these two words hand in hand walking through my year. By setting my baseline goals, I followed the elements even though I never referred to my planning documents. My intention was firmly set in my subconscious and I allowed it to happen by noticing people and opportunities that came into my life and then listening to my inner voice and trusting its wisdom.
Curious what happened for me in 2015? Here we go!
Was your 2015 a year you would like to forget? Or was it monumental? Do you have an annual ritual at the beginning and/or end of the year?
I’d love to hear about it in comments.