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Fireworks, spring blossoms, and at least for this year, pigs, marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year. The feeling of being between places in year two of what one friend calls my “Lotus Years” is more pronounced than ever. Questions of “Will I ever fit in?” have been replaced with “What can I learn?” or “What can I create?” Most of the answers reveal themselves to me during the period that marks Christmas in the West and the New Year in the East.
During the dark, month-long period between festivities is the hope of a new moon, which also marks the beginning of a new Lunar year in most of Asia. It’s a quiet time for me as I’m not Asian, and one I’ve chosen to dedicate to reflection.
Brooding over new beginnings feels luxurious to me and it’s probably foreign to you. In the West, we really have to fight for “mirror time” as I call it, that critical space in our lives for self-examination. It feels selfish, New Age-y, or both, so we settle for a one sentence New Year’s resolution that will be a footnote to our post-holiday recovery. Without a plan though, our best intentions will almost always vaporize.
In the West, January 1st follows so closely on the heels on feet worn down from shopping that there’s no time to reflect on what a New Year means, let alone what it can hold, or what we need to do to achieve our wildest dreams. That’s why for me the anticipation of the Lunar New Year with its rituals and dark moon, itself a harbinger of the unknown, offers the necessary time to slowly and intentionally cultivate plans for endless possibility. Why don’t you claim it, too?
This year afforded a relatively clear view of the sky, at least until it became filled with smoke from fireworks and fires. Even still, I had to search for my friend. I don’t always know where it is, disoriented as I am by this still new geography and the haze of pollution. Most of the time, I have to rely on my imagination and an app to visualize the moon in its current state. Whether imagined or real, however, I always offer it gratitude. When I do this, I am connected to the true pace of life — slow, steady and always becoming. — M W
The moon is just one way I ground myself in Hanoi since it's impossible to walk barefoot outside without injuring myself. What things in your life help ground you or give you the space to nurture your Creative Spirit?
Do you spend time during the Chinese or Western New Year cultivating plans? If so, how does using this time in reflection benefit you?
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