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Year of the Horse, Of Course

January 31, 2014

Happy Lunar New Year. Predictions for the Chinese New Year promise a fast 364 at full-gallop, tail and mane aloft in a rush of speed. One of the reasons I adore Chinese New Year is because I’m slow. Or at least I’m aiming for slow. It’s a process, really, not something I could reasonably say I’ve achieved. In any case it takes a while after Jan 1st for me to reflect and ponder the whole “New Year” thing and by the time Chinese New Year rolls around I’m more or less ready with resolutions and resolves. Also, animal metaphors just work for me. They’re more meaningful than numbers. This year, the year of the horse, I’m focusing on the value of process over product. This year, I’m focusing on mindful. This year, I’m focusing on slooooooow. Or, I should say, doing things at the right speed, which is sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

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Click for printable colouring page if you happen to know someone who would like to colour a horse decorated with sea shells and dolphins.

Good-bye Year of the Dragon (2013). I very much enjoyed reading Cressida Cowell’s fantastic “How to Train Your Dragon” series to the kids — wonderful books. I very much appreciate all the beautiful flying creatures my kids have drawn for me this year, all the imaginary dragon’s eggs that have been sat on and hatched in forts and nests in my home this year, and the many conversations about the merits of, say, flame power vs. water power in respect to the fighting strength of dragons. The House of Flurfel has been full of dragons in 2013.

This winter in 2013  our baby turned 4, thus making us a baby-free household by this important standard:

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If you aren’t familiar with this “no unhappy babies” symbol, it is on almost everything ever manufactured on this great Earth from toys to bicycles to pajamas to instruct watchful parents to keep said manufactured good away from their babies, lest the baby try to swallow the product whole, thus making the baby unhappy, possibly to the point of death. It seems to me that our world, albeit filled with dragons, became quite a bit calmer and less stressful as soon as those “no 0-3 warnings” became inapplicable to us. It seems to me that life is markedly easier when you don’t have to worry about someone swallowing your bicycle. Or lego. Or pebbles on the beach.

I have become three things in the year 2013 that I was not in the year 2012: An Ashtanga yoga do-er, a ukulele player, and a university instructor. I love all of these things, they have each transformed me, and it’s difficult for me to imagine myself without them now. Funny how that goes. A lot can happen in a year, day by day, increment by increment. Here’s to process; it’s a beautiful thing.

I am converting the room that was our nursery into office space. I’m taking it slow — first I repaired the drywall where the nursing rocker knocked so many little dents into the plaster. Now I’m painting over the “night fury” dragon that someone sketched on the wall with a Sharpie marker. It will take at least one more coat. Goodbye year of the Dragon. Hello year of the Horse. Horses run. Horses work hard when it’s time to work hard. Horses know how to lean into a job. Horses know how to enjoy a meadow full of flowers.

Dragons are lovely with their flight, their sheen, their speed and their tempers, especially when they’ve been tamed. I’m all for the Year of the Horse though. Horses don’t just gallop. They walk, trot, and canter too. They go the right speed.

Some mantras for Marlene:  “This will take as long as it takes.” “We will get there when we get there.” “Breathe.” “Why does everyone get to go to Mexico except for me?” Oh wait, not that last one.

Here’s to ploddingness! Here’s to sniffing roses and munching on daisies! Here’s to things taking a while to sink in and to getting them just right! Here’s to process!  Here’s to change! Happy Lunar New Year.

xox

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