Embracing the Year of the White Tiger

Has life gotten a little more… interesting than usual lately? Perhaps a circumstance or two moving with a wee bit more alacrity than usual. Or perhaps feeling like it’s careening wildly out of control? (Health reform, anyone?)

Beyond their entertainment value, I’m not  usually that into astrology. On the other hand, life clearly goes through many cycles: seasonal,  annual, biological, economic, political, etc.  Events in my life, in the lives of several people and groups around me, and even national and world events make me think this is a time of change marking a new cycle. As these changes are coming at the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year, I’m  persuaded to make note of this Year of the Metal Tiger.

Before getting into the significance according to Chinese astrology, I want to note that President Obama has now been in office for a little over one year, giving time for the beginning of change from the previous administration to take effect. Some changes in the culture of Washington are starting to show like new growth in spring following a long, dark winter. While there is a new flow of information and more openness than has ever existed before, at least to my knowledge, there are complaints about back room deals and that things are not as open as we were told they would be. Things do not change overnight.

Even amid the start of culture change in Washington,  there are those who went to halt progress and keep things essentially as they have been. These efforts to conduct arguments on old premises and theories which had been ascendant for over thirty years have brought out stark contrast in different elements of Washington culture as well as anti-Washington culture. Obstructionism and anti-government sentiment have been brought to new heights. At the same time, our financial system, though still in trouble, has been brought back from the edge of collapse. We are closer to  historic health care reforms than we have been in about 100 years of reform efforts.

I could go on and offer greater detail, but the point I want to make is not about politics or our political culture. I merely wish to establish the context that this is a time of significant change. Within that context, I’d like to suggest that looking at this time through the lens of the lunar new year can offer a foundation to supply some meaning to these changes. With that, let’s have some fun and look at 2010, the Year of the White Tiger, also referred to as the Year of the Metal Tiger.

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Emotional Fitness

Emotional Fitness: Life presents difficulties, so learn ways to overcome them

By Barton Goldsmith
Ventura County Star, Sunday, April 26, 2009

When emotional pain hits, one of the best ways to deal it is to meet it head on and talk out the  feelings. That’s why good support from another human being helps our hearts. If there’s no one to talk to, writing also is a great way to release some of your inner anguish.

The point here is that the one thing you don’t want to do is hold your pain in. You need to find constructive ways of releasing your hurt without injuring yourself or anyone else.

For some, taking a drive, exercise, reading or meditation is helpful. Others need to process their pain verbally. Whatever way works for you is the one you want to try, but if it doesn’t do the trick, it’s OK to try something different.

There are numerous methods. Some are new, like visualization, positive psychology or guided imagery, and some are ancient, like acupuncture and massage. All have helped millions of people.

Over twelve years in health and fitness, as a massage therapist and during my experience as an acupuncture intern, many of the clients and patients I have seen have been seeking something to address emotional pressures in their lives. Some have been able to articulate this well, while others have struggled to define what led them to seek treatment other than some form of discomfort. I have come to believe that as a society, we have made a habit of overlooking and ignoring physical or emotional pressures in our lives in order to accomplish some goal, be it personal or professional.

I believe that one of the most helpful things we can do for ourselves is open ourselves to awareness not only that there are significant pressures influencing our daily lives, but acknowledging what those pressures are at a given moment. Through this acknowledgment, it is then possible to flow through the pressure and allow it to strengthen us in body, mind, and spirit; take steps to reduce the pressure; or seek help to face it as appropriate.

From personal experience, I know I do not always have the solutions to every challenge inherently within myself, and sometimes need to cultivate and seek the help from an extended personal network. I find this both from a personal perspective as well as a professional one addressing the needs of clients who come to me for treatment. I feel networking for health is every bit as vital, perhaps even more vital, than networking for business. Thus, I will always welcome new friends, clients, and colleagues into my network, and try to help others shape a network that is best to meet their needs.