Monday, 8 February 2016

Happy Chinese Monkey New Year: Follow Your Heart Desires!

Today with the New Moon we enter in another cycle, a New Year in the milleneum Chinese (Taoist) calendar.
The Wood Yin Sheep trots out, the Yang Fire Monkey swings in!!

"This cheeky animal bursts with exuberance, bringing a lightning pace and fantastic motivation. The Monkey increases communication, humour and wit, helping us get through stressful times with grace and ease. The Monkey’s gift is the ability to find unconventional solutions to old problems. Daring to be different can lead to success"

The Monkey is a trickster, playful, funny, intelligent, inventive (great problems solvers), strong minded, adaptable, curious, creative and last but not least youthful! 
Fire Element: "Fire dances, fire warms, fire burns, fire creates and fire destroys" Kris Deva North in Finding Spirit in Zen Shiatsu
A year  that anything can happen, the way to respond to the unexpected is to be flexible and grounded - sounds contradictory? Well it's the principle we use in Tai Chi, as the flexibility strengths our ability to respond to any situation without letting the situation itself take over, and the grounding gives the necessary stability to be in the here and now: this makes us centered in our power, open to wide vision and harmoniously living.
And you heard the expression "monkey mind"? The mind jumping around, being faster than the body, so practice breathing in and out, and focus on the moment rather than yesterday, or tomorrow, or later.  The scientific world is already agreeing with the benefits of ancient methods of meditation and body movement as Tai Chi, Qigong, Martial Arts, dance, yoga, etc...

The creative mind may also be bubbling with ideas - great!! Channel them, put them in practice, even if involves taking risks... Monkey energy supports success and innovation!!
But be aware if you find yourself spending too much time in mind, remember your body, the grounding helps: even if this just being barefoot, especially in nature. Our body needs more activity: exercise more, move more, whatever works for you and in an enjoyable way. Otherwise if the mind takes over can be overwhelming, depleting, and losing touch with inner wisdom; and for us women the most powerful compass we have within filled with ancestral knowledge, our womb!
So: Keep calm and eat bananas!
Hehehe, joking... But indeed you need energy for this year, so keep an eye how you manage your energy; which for me is about the choices we make. In which, where and whom you decide to spend your energy, choose wisely!...

And saying all the above: 
How does the monkey, yes the animal itself, resonate with to you?
Just take a moment to allow any thoughts, images or sounds to fill your mind...
I had a few encounters with monkeys in my 13 times in India these past seven years.
In India one of their beloved Gods is Hanuman - the Monkey God - so monkeys run freely, mostly everywhere.
I saw so many people being robbed by monkeys from food to objects (not just in India, but also in Africa), and 'monkey gangs' really taking over a place, messing up a kitchen... Can be scary, but I never had a bad experience with them, thus I really respect them and my relationship with them honestly is "hi, bye", as with their unpredictable nature you never know what to expect from them.
I could share a few stories, but let me pick up the ones who mark me most:

    ** 2009 in Bagsunag, in the Indian Himalayas, when I was teaching my first Jade Circle Workshop, we were a big group on a rooftop which was covered with nice fabrics (imagine a tent); a monkey (red face one, which are the more dangerous in India, the black face ones are more gentle), just come in, the dog from the BuddhaHall Center felt him, ran to him furiously barking and the monkey responding to him showing his big teeth in a very aggressive way... OMG a slight panic started to be felt by the ladies; I thought "this has to finish otherwise is the workshop finishing here for today!..." I got up and went close to them, calm down the dog and look to the monkey and gently asked him if he could leave; the monkey looked at me, looked at the dog, and just before he left did a little jump to the dog (just to scare him, like if he was attacking him) and then off he went!...

    ** This one was more recent, a few year ago, in the edges of the Rajasthani desert. Was early morning and I went to the top of my guest house to sit on a wall (was wide enough for that) where I had an amazing view and breeze and maybe two floors high. I crossed my legs, clasped my hands together, closed my eyes and start to meditate... when suddenly I felt a very fluffy warm 'thing' passing by my back, the first thing that came to my mind, was: "do not panic!!..". So without moving my head I opened my eyes to see what it was: exactly what I suspected: a big red face monkey!! Big enough to just push me down; and I just realised I was in his territory!! I tried everything to keep calm, breathe deeply, closed my eyes again to continue to meditate; but my curiosity made me open them again. Keeping still I looked again and the monkey was exactly copying me!  Ok he didn't cross the legs, but his hands together, looking straight ahead with his eyes closed!!!... Meditating together!!... So I closed my eyes again, and then after a while I felt the 'fluffy thing' passing by again and off he went. I didn't abuse my luck, I found another place to meditate!

    Do you know the Monkey is the 9th animal in 12 Chinese zodiac? And we are in the 9 year = 2 + 0 + 1 + 6 - reinforcing this number of completion; but in the Tao, 9 is our infinitive number.
    Infinitive transformation indeed!... But definitely with this fast paced year, gives the opportunity to complete cycles, and don't waste time with anything that no longer serves us, let it go, thanks for the learning and move on.
    When the energy in the air is strong for me the options are: to tune into it, I mean to understand it, which brings the opportunity to make the most of it and gives strength and ability to take the challenges and quickly transformed them into opportunities to change and grow; or if we resist the change is like swimming against the tide, procrastinating and complaining about things instead of doing something about them, we can have a really hard time.

    "The year of Red Fire Monkey brings to humanity the possibility of tremendous growth and vast fulfilment; we begin to create our destiny through intention, desire and focus."
    Glenn Stewart Coles

    A simple ritual to welcome the Monkey New Year:
    Light up a red candle(s), tune into the fire within and without, smile at your heart where the fire lives, smile at the Fire Monkey, ask to align with his energy and for him to show you how to make the most of it. Then set your intentions (reinforcing perhaps the ones you set for 2016) and speak them loudly.

    I wish you a fiercely Monkey New Year, also filled with laughter and fun, may your passion drive you to follow your heart desires!

    © Anamarta

    Monkey and the girl by "Kindness Blog"; third image monkey by Jandkatl
    Monkey "Joker" Zen painting by Kris Deva North