Gentle Resolutions for a Peaceful Rabbit Year

Rabbit brings a peaceful 2011.

Our collective nervous system can heave a big sigh of relief for the arrival of the Chinese Year of the Metal Rabbit coming up on February 3. Following the fierce and feisty Tiger year 2010, Rabbit ushers in a period of relative peace and tranquility. While Tiger likes to stir things up, Rabbit likes to smooth things over. Rabbit’s keywords are calm, cooperation, and creativity.

Sounds pretty good, huh?

Rabbit people  should thrive this year, and the rest of us can also take advantage of kinder, gentler times to recharge our systems after some very rough years all around.  Rabbit people (folks born in 1915, ’27, ’39, ’51, ’63, ’75, ’87, ’99 and 2011) are said to be calm, gentle and persistent. The rabbit is a symbol of endurance, so slow and steady seems like the best approach to everything in 2011.

The new slow, sure, cautious pace might be an adjustment for those of us with more active nervous systems (I’m talking to you Tigers!), so think about channeling that prodigious energy into artistic pursuits. You Roosters would do well to rein in that argumentative, devil’s advocate thing you do, too. Education, leisurely travel, hobbies are all good places to focus excess energy this year.

If your *other* uptight, draconian New Year’s resolutions are bumming you out (lose weight, do everything better, faster, more, be perfect!), consider turning your energy toward kinder, gentler Rabbit-like intentions. Here’s some ideas for easy and positive changes you can make that resonate with the energy of a Rabbit year and might be a little easier to stick with than that run-a-marathon thing you were talking about.

Hang out more. Rabbit years are said to be good for relationships and family activities, so make it a point to spend more time hanging out with the people you most like in the world.

Let yourself sleep more. Go on, give yourself permission to take naps, go to bed early, sleep in. The world will still be there when you finally get up.

Meditate a little bit. Meditate on being peaceful. Start small – aim for ten minutes, or two. Not only does meditation improve your brain function (memory going downhill, anybody?), but by meditating on peacefulness, you can contribute to peace in your family and in the world. Try this: Write the word “peace” on a piece of paper and tape it to the dashboard of your car – you might find stoplights a bit less annoying with this reminder close at hand!  “If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can blossom like a flower, and everybody in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Take it easy. What activities and obligations can you let go to make room for more leisure time? What creative pursuits did you not get around to last year? Now is the time!

Get creative. Rabbit years are a good time to start creative projects and businesses. Rabbit only comes along once every twelve years, so now is the time to dig out that novel or quilt or complicated thing you were working on  in the garage during your last spurt of creativity. Or try something completely new: you don’t have to be good at it, just play! I take inspiration from Natalie Goldberg when she wrote in her book Writing Down the Bones: “You are free to write the worst junk in America.”

-by Abba Anderson LAc MSOM

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