Tag Archives: transition

From Gallop to Graze

horseMy transition from gallop to graze began several months ago! It turns out, the free-spirited, high-energy year of the Yang Wood Horse took me for a ride! I thought I was ready for the 2014 Horse’s sprint! After all, sprinting through life has been my M.O. or modus operandi. I have always been an eager learner, open to new ideas and ways of thinking. And I have always been a sprinter. One would think, then, that the Year of the Horse would support my sprinting energy. What happened was quite the opposite! Joining energetic forces with the Horse energy wore me down, forcing me to take a good look at how I have run my energy all my life. That high energy, so valued and rewarded by our culture, turns out, really doesn’t support good health or mindfulness.  Of course, I have been aware of this for years; however, I believed I was sprinting with mindfulness, appreciating the moment, stopping to smell the roses. But, wait a minute……maybe not so much as I thought.

I frequently use the analogy that life’s lessons are like peeling an onion. Each layer of learningOnion02
peels away to reveal a new level of awareness. At certain times throughout our lives, if we are paying attention, we are made aware of another layer waiting to be peeled back. When my energy aligned with the Horse energy, I lost the race, or won, depending on which perspective you take. I was unexpectedly forced to peel away the layer of belief that said, “sprinting works for me.”

I began to notice I had less stamina to do the things I did on an everyday basis. My vitality for certain activities, ways of doing, and thinking would quickly burn out. I was being challenged and it was distressing! The familiar way I ran my energy was no longer working! I was getting less Orb02done in a day and feeling more tired. Ignoring these changes, I galloped toward new learning and signed up for a series of classes on expanding consciousness.  Of course, once they began, I questioned why I had committed to weekly classes, with assignments, when I was feeling so “un-energetic!” And then, the irony of it began to reveal itself: I was taking these classes on expanding consciousness, while being challenged to expand my own consciousness! Of course, the timing was perfect! These classes showed up just in time to support me in a transition I wasn’t even yet aware of!

The Sheep/Goat officially grazed in February 4, finding me continuing to evaluate my Ram01
engagement in life, based on what my body is telling me. I have always felt a deep connection to the earth and to my body. The Horse energy challenged me to listen to and respect that connection on a level deeper than I had before – another layer of the onion!  How perfect that my personal transition coincides with the transition from gallop to graze.

Although far from easygoing, this Sheep year bodes for a gentler and more stable time. This Yin Wood Sheep year is considered a symbol of optimism and flexibility for compromise and progress. And I plan to graze on that!






The Transition from Slither to Gallop

I don’t know how the month of January has been for you, but I found it quite challenging! Certainly, the frigid Minnesota weather has everyone hibernating as much as possible, but the challenges I experienced transcend Mother Nature. Unexpected circumstances created a situation requiring me to revisit a difficult time in my life – a time from which I believed I had long since healed. Concurrently, my life’s pace was picking up speed as I was suddenly besieged by deadlines. It occurred to me that I was feeling the transition from slither to gallop as the 2013 Year of the Snake slithers its way out and the spirited 2014 Year of the Horse prepares to gallop in January 31st.

snakeThat situation the latter part of this Snake year immediately transported me back to a life changing event nearly 30 years ago: a divorce from which I had long since healed and moved beyond. Or so I thought, until the recent death of my ex-husband. Feelings flooded back and I realized, in this Snake year, vestiges of old emotional connections were emerging and requiring my attention. I felt like the snake that has one last push to finally and completely shed it’s old skin. It is a fact that snakes shed their skin to allow for continued growth. With my ex-husband’s passing, I was being invited to reconcile and shed subtle emotional ties I hadn’t been aware were standing in the way of my continued personal growth.

Something, or someone greater than I, was nudging me to complete a cycle. The Snake year was a strong year for inner development, emotional renewal, metamorphosis, elimination, and recycling. As this Snake year was coming to a close, I found myself faced with an unanticipated opportunity to address each of these.

As executrix of my ex-husband’s Will (an unexpected surprise), I became involved in assisting my daughters to prepare his home for sale. They invited me to help them make decisions about what items to keep and what to recycle. This is always a painful activity for family who are left to make BoxReSdecisions about the things their loved ones accumulate over a lifetime and then leave behind. In Feng Shui, when an item in our life is no longer needed or no longer serves us, it is blessed and recycled. That means it is mindfully and respectfully discarded or donated. Going through the last tangible remnants belonging to a loved one who has passed is a painful yet essential component of the healing process. It affords a chance to reminisce, share stories, laugh and shed tears in honor of the memory of the deceased.

MultiImageOf course, in going through his belongings, I came across old documents and photos of my ex and me from what seemed another lifetime. I believed I had long since neutralized the pain and resentment that accompanied our divorce. We had not remained friends. But going through those old memories gave me an opportunity to re-visit that stressful period. In the re-visit, I was able feel gratitude for the good times, release any lingering resentments and lovingly say good-bye.

While experiencing these last remnants of snake shedding, I am also sensing the energy of the horse_FINfeisty horse approaching! Horse energy is wild, willful, and independent. 2014 is predicted to be a high-energy year requiring decisive action. Compassionately releasing old emotional ties to a distant past has helped prepare me to embrace the Horse’s free spirited nature! I’m ready for the sprint!





Changing Course

The month of September has never been my favorite. The variable temperature changes are a reminder of what’s to come as we transition from summer to fall and then the cold of winter. Nature’s cycles remain consistent year after year, yet I still find myself especially resistant to changing course from summer to fall. Those transition periods, based on the ancient Chinese theory of the Five-Elements, relate to the Earth element. This element is typically associated with what the Chinese refer to as late harvest, or late summer, the period of time from early August to early September. But the Earth element also plays another role.

As we transition from season to season, we are presented with a few weeks of a different kind rhythm. For example, as summer transitions to fall, there is a fluctuation of warm summer-like days with cool, fall-like days. It’s a sort of “tease” of what’s to come and in that tease, there is a gift of “pause.” That pause is the Earth Element gently preparing us to change course. And, every year I resist! The most obvious is my obstinate refusal to begin wearing “fall” clothes. Not in September, thank you very much!

In Five Element Theory, everything and everyone is influenced by elements that make up all matter. These elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Chart2Water is considered the storehouse of vital essence. It is responsible for growth, development and reproduction and promotes introspection, persistence and motivation. This is the element associated with winter.  Wood represents growth; it carries the seed of new life and is associated with spring. Fire reflects the warmth, brilliance and vitality of summer. Earth brings fullness, fertility, order and stability; it is the center from which we operate. When we are centered and grounded, we are better able to embrace change. The Metal element symbolizes the harvest of fall. It signifies a gathering of soul and spirit and brings decline and contraction with shorter days and colder nights.

ColorLeavesAnd, of course, this decline is evident as we watch our gardens give one last eruption of beauty before dying back in preparation for the dormant rest period over the winter months. We transition from basking in the warm sun to basking in the exuberant fall colors – one last hurrah before the leaves fall.

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” – Lauren DeStefano

While I appreciate the display, I remain in resistance through the autumnal equinox until about two weeks into October. When I can no longer ignore the Halloween decorations and pumpkins that suddenly dominate the landscape, I release my hold on the Earth energy and allow myself to become a full-blown participant in the activities appropriate with the new season. This burst of energy compels me to re-organize my closet. I put away summer clothes, shoes and bags while deciding what stays for another season and what gets recycled. Ah! I’ve been infused with the sense of order the Metal (autumnal energy) element brings. Next, I re-organize my kitchen. I unearth the slow cooker; squash soup replaces tuna salad. Fall is officially here and its Metal energy insists on change and a sense of order I can no longer deny.

I begin my garden clean up to assist in preparation for the progression to the Water element of Jimmieswinter, knowing, of course, it will make this natural evolution with or without me. I transition my flowerpots, replacing those plants that succumbed to the fluctuating temperatures with plants that enjoy the cooler nights. I add pumpkins and gourds. I finally fully embrace fall! Those outdoor pots are a visible statement that I am no longer resisting the change.

What other inevitable changes in our life do we resist when they show up? How long do we put off succumbing to them? And when we finally do, how do we acknowledge and celebrate the fact that we actually moved forward? Each season brings the opportunity to look inward at what course change or corrections are awaiting recognition. We can use the Earth energy of the changing seasons as a gentle reminder, a pause, if you will, to look at where and what we might be resisting in our lives. We can then use the elemental energy of the season to support us in making the transition. There is a rhythm to everything in life; there is a time for growth, and a time for endings. Being in the flow acknowledges these life cycles. Nature is, indeed, a model for changing course.