Dream. See. Feel. Create. Repeat.

I apologize, dear readers (all 5 of you).Breathe into What You Want

In my last missive, I strongly suggested that you figure out what you want, where you want to go, in preparation for the strong energy of the Year of the Horse. Some of you came back to me, saying “Well duh, I know that I don’t know what I want or where I want to go. That’s really the problem! Once I figure that out, I’ll be okay.”

Well then, let’s get to it.

Most of us (99.95%, at least) respond to the question of “What do you want, where do you want to go?” with some sort of picture, a scene, if you will, from that perfect life. We can see what it looks like, like a crisp, HD photo of a day in the life. And then we stop.

EGADS my dear readers. The manifestation work is only halfway done at that point. Up until then, that’s just dreaming. What pushes you into action is the FEELING associated with that vision. HOW comes after “what” and “where” for a reason. The question is not how you get there, because we already answered that question in my last post. HOW DO YOU FEEL ONCE YOU ARE LIVING THE LIFE YOU WANT? Yes, you actually have to imagine yourself already living the life you want. You already have the picture down, now place yourself in it. Close your eyes, breathe in the surroundings, see yourself move around in your perfect life, and imagine how this feels in your heart.

The question that comes after HOW is WHY. “Why this exercise, Irene?” I am glad you ask. We do this because when you equate a vision into FEELINGS, you bring it to a visceral level, into your body, which brings your dreams into a much more tangible physical reality. It is a reality that is closest to the present moment, where we can touch everything. Plus, our emotions don’t lie, while our external world has the ability to convince us that we want a certain life, even when we really want something else. Once we get to that life, that is when we realize that it’s not the life we wanted at all. But when you feel yourself in that life first, you tap into your internal wisdom. If your heart does not feel completely at peace, you can go back to the drawing board. You can keep creating a vision of the dream, keep tuning into your feelings, until you feel perfectly at peace in that perfect life, because you are meant to get there.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Year of the Horse

Today, we celebrate the Lunar New Year! In Chinese culture, each year is represented by an animal, a totem, if you wish, with an associated element. There are 12 animals that make the rotation and 10 elements, with each of the 5 elements having a yin and yang version. 2014 is the year of the Yang Wood Horse.

“What does that mean, Irene?” you may ask. “It means nothing,” I answer. “What do you mean, nothing? Then what am I reading this newsletter for?” you reply, throwing your hands up in the air, frustrated. “You are reading this newsletter because there is sure to be a witty, made-up banter between you and I, that may or may not have happened in real life.”

By nothing, I mean life goes on. You live each day in your normally awesome way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you notice a pattern of motion in your life that seems odd at the best and disturbing at most. You can’t explain why. This is when you consult the stars (your ancestors, by the way) and seek guidance from universal patterns. My friend, P.A. of Transitions Astrology hooks me up  with Western Astrology readings, but Chinese Astrology can be used in a broader sense. Each animal represents a part of our collective psyche, sometimes drawings us into paradoxical situations, puzzles we want to solve. So read this once, bookmark it, then put it away. It’s not meant to be a map, more of a Lonely Planet guidebook for your life.

The Wood Horse

The Horse is a mythical creature, a gentle herbivore capable of great speed and agility. Its power lies in its legs, used for both movement and attack. But horse’s power is also its most dangerous aspect. This year, expect to feel a lot of motivation, stamina and overall energy, which propels your life forward. Since wood fuels fire and the horse is a fire animal, life moves even quicker. If you have achieved clarity regarding your life path and destinations, then this year will be the year to get there, faster than you may have anticipated. Hold on, cowboy! If, however, you have not taken the opportunity to formulate what kind of life you want, then the horse is going to gallop forward anyway, moving in many different directions at a dizzying speed. Without working towards clarity ( and quick!), you may find yourself, at the end of the year, still stagnating at the same place where you started, but feeling exhausted anyway.

So, homework #1: Spend some time this next week visualizing the life you want, on all fronts: career, relationships, community, intellect, body and spirit. Kind of like planning for a long-term vacation, only your plane leaves in an hour.

The horse is a war animal, having stood in the middle of conflicts for generations. So get ready for some battles in the coming months, both internal and external. A graceful warrior knows when to push forward and when to surrender. With the energy of the fiery wood horse, you may be tempted to carry on with the fight instead of stepping aside. It is the ability to concede with grace that is the warrior’s greatest strength. Knowing what is important to you will help you decide how to act in the face of conflict.

Homework #2: Take stock of your values. In each aspect of your life, know what is important. When confronted with conflict, learn to quickly ask yourself “Do I really care about this?”

Horses love freedom and spontaneity. If you already possess a spontaneous and carefree nature, then this year will be fun and exciting for you. Just stay away from excess. Impulses to over-shop, over-extend, over-anything should not be indulged. However, if you are a more particular and calculated person, the ever-changing patterns of this year can exhaust you if you don’t prepare for it. Flexibility and open-mindedness will help you navigate and stay on track. Also, flexibility of the body stimulates the flexibility of the spirit, so practicing yoga, qigong stretches and receiving massages are great ways to cultivate openness. To exercise the flexibility of your psycho-emotional body, make it a habit to drive different routes, brush your teeth with the opposite hand, eat at a new restaurant, you know the deal. The tree that is capable of bending is the heartiest in the forest.

Homework #3: Practice flexibility. Stay grounded in yourself even when change occurs rapidly around you. Know who you are and you’ll make it out of this year unscathed, reeling from the joyride that can only be taken on the back of the horse.