“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
We find ourselves approaching the Chinese New Year - the year of the Dog.
Having just recovered from the New Year festivities in January the wheel of the year is turning efficiently and we have passed Imbolc and the feast of Brighid and we now find ourselves approaching the Chinese New Year on 16 February and this year is the year of the Dog.
This is always a major milestone for me.
This is because it really does mean that the year is stepping up its pace and there is no longer an excuse to put anything off until later, Carpe Diem! Seize the day! In fact this kind of thinking is entirely in keeping with man’s best friend as our doggy pals really do live in the moment and make the most of it as it comes. Take my Ziggy. A Jack Russell, a huge spirit in a small body although at 15 years old he finds himself to be not as small as he once was, I truly empathise, I really do!
Anyway, Ziggy is partially deaf, arthritic and mostly blind.
But he is very happy and mainly well although he can no longer do his famous balloon dance! When we first discovered that his cataracts were inoperable we were worried that his quality of life would be so impaired that we might have to make the difficult decision to let him go, thankfully this has not come to pass. Ziggy is a veteran of the world. He can take you to all his favourite parks, watering holes and bus stops. He loves to travel and he can do this even though he can’t see a thing. His nose has become his eyes and he has made the adjustment so beautifully and without complaint.
This inspires me.
Life will find a way, always, and what better teacher to give this lesson but my dog. I have another dog, Robin, a Chihuahua, much younger and not as charismatic but terribly sweet unless you are a stranger or a rather large hound. When Robin was new to the house he was chronically timid, he was afraid of everything. Going to the park was a nightmare as he would be so afraid of the attention of other dogs. Ziggy, however, would come to his aid and divert the unwanted attention on to himself and give the signal that Robin was a no go zone.
Robin has grown in confidence and copies Ziggy in all that he does but what I have found so utterly heartwarming is Robin reciprocates the protection that Ziggy once gave. When they are walking along Robin walks so close to Ziggy that their bodies rub together, this gives comfort to Ziggy and when Ziggy looks a bit lost as if he doesn’t have his bearings then Robin will step forward to lead him on. The altruism and natural dynamic of care and protection is something that many humans could benefit from if they had it in their heart to practice it.
We can certainly learn a lot from dogs and I think that this year of the Dog will be no exception, it will be a year of learning…and loving.
It has been 12 years since the last Dog year (they come around in a 12 year cycle). A lot has happened in those years, politically, socially and spiritually. I am sure each of us would have much to document in terms of personal happenings and perspectives. It might be of interest to take a note of significant changes since 2006, make a list of any achievements or perhaps you have had to let go of outworn cycles or baggage, maybe you have started a new career path or upped your game as an entrepreneur. It can be of enormous value to look at how far you have come along your path and should serve as an empowerment to consider your progress.
Some famous people born in the year of the Dog.
Winston Churchill; Elvis Presley; Mother Teresa; Madonna; Steven Spielberg and Michael Jackson.
Lucky numbers are 3, 4, 9 and associated flowers are roses and orchids. If you like colour in your life, red, green and purple are complementary to the Dog year.
Your Chinese horoscope will depend upon your date of birth and the corresponding element and that is far as I can go with that as I am not a Chinese astrologer.
The general qualities of those born under the Dog are...
Loyalty and honesty, a good natured person who is helpful, kind and sincere. They love to be of service to others in some way but there are shadow aspects to the dog which are a stubborn streak, overly emotional and sensitive and way too fussy!
My thoughts are that the year ahead will show an emphasis on mental and physical well-being, both individually and in a broader sense socially. Balance will be struck with rest and exercise. The need for money and power will not be as obvious as it has been recently, although we must be mindful that this will exist under the cover of the night!
In the collective we can expect greater clarity.
This will help us to feel mentally well and secure, joyful influences will encourage us to do positive things for ourselves like study or home building. We can expect partnerships, personal or professional, to take on a new meaning and there will be a fresher more vital energy at our disposal. We may see more fitness centres or personal training schemes pop up and of course there will be competition amongst the holiday companies all offering deals for restful spa destinations. Let’s make the most of it!
However, we must beware of the tyrant.
The greed for power and dominion will never truly disappear. If we equip ourselves with the qualities of the dog then this could be a year of successful personal endeavour and the laying of foundations for a peaceful, prosperous future.
A MINI 'WHAT ARE THE INFLUENCES?' SPREAD.
What are the influences around my physical well-being?
What are the influences around my thought processes?
What are the influences around my spiritual path?
What are the influences around my relationships?
What is the best foot forward?