BRING ON THE YEAR OF THE HORSE
Since before Christmas my social media pages have been full of mentions of 2014 as the Year of the Horse. That's the Chinese zodiac designation for the Lunar New Year that starts January 31 on our solar calendar.
Thanks to the placemats and some Chinese restaurants I did know that each year is assigned an animal symbol in that culture. But I can't ever recall such mass awareness of the Chinese designation of a specific year before.
For those of us who share our days with them, what's not to like about a year celebrating the horse? The yang wood horse, to be precise, as detailed in a fascinating article describing the monumental shift this year is apt to bring.
I'm quite looking forward to the optimistic, uplifting and energized phase the author describes as characteristic of a green horse year.
"Follow your intuition fearlessly, as it is both the horse’s main attribute which preserves its freedom and powerful health and it is Wood’s primary talent for stretching into the unknown future," she writes. "Reach out with irrepressible faith to a new level of social communion and mutual support. Trust every impulse to embrace a revitalized and renewed sensitivity for the pleasures this earthly dimension has to offer."
Sounds pretty good to me after the travails of the past few years, about which her description definitely resonates, as well: "We have just been traveling through ... two Water years, which immersed us in a descending place of degeneration, dissolution and chaos, a time when our internal world of formless spirit and emotions held total sway over every attempt at external control or order."
Um, yeah. Water is so not my element. Bring on the wood and the yang, thank you very much. I'm ready for outside influences to stop cluttering up my life so I can get on with the work I love.
Meanwhile, meandering around the web, I've turned up lots of educational stuff about Chinese healing five-element theory, including Madalyn Ward's site where you can figure out the elemental aspects of your horse's personality. Oh, and some pretty fabulous art, as well. One of my favorite finds: this scroll of "100 Steeds." Beautiful!
May we all have an educational, productive year full of abundance and joy. Bring on the Year of the Horse!
WHEN IN DOUBT, BE KIND
In the last newsletter I wrote about my experiences after an auto accident and the challenges that experience created in my daily life.
I was amazed at the responses from people all over the world who had been in similar situations or who had been in other stressful circumstances that turned their worlds upside down.
Both friends and people I've never met were moved to share their stories with me. These are all normal, productive people living lives that appear happy and healthy. And yet, they have sorrows and pain and difficulties that don't show.
What a great reminder that no matter what people's lives look like from the outside, the inside view may be very different. I am not always the most patient person, with myself or with others. I get annoyed at what I perceive as nonsense or inappropriate behavior.
Well, in the new year I won't promise not to grumble a bit and mutter to myself about fools and rudeness. But I will strive to give people, both those I know and complete strangers, the benefit of the doubt. And, even if I fail to do that, at least to be kind.
TOO COLD TO RIDE? BAKE!
Though here in Arizona January has been one of the warmest on record, in much of the U.S. it's perfect weather for staying indoors and spending some quality time in the kitchen. That goes for many of my European readers' locales, as well. Brrr. Fire up the oven and bake some healthy horse treats.
Carrot Oatmeal Horse Treats
2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
½ cup rolled oats
¾ cup grain (rolled oats or barley or dry COB with cracked corn)
2 cups shredded carrots, blotted with paper towels to remove some moisture
½ cup honey or maple syrup, room temp.
1 cup coconut oil, warmed until just melted
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Preheat oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and oats. Add the nuts and carrots. In a separate smaller bowl use a whisk to combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and ginger. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.
Or spread about ¼ inch thick on a parchment-covered baking sheet (like a big bar cookie) and bake 10-12 minutes until they start to set up. Remove from oven and score with a sharp knife or cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes to finish cooking. Remove and slide parchment onto a rack. Break apart as they’re cooling.
Makes about 3 dozen 3” treats.
There's a print-friendly version of this recipe on my website, plus a recipe for human treats, as well. Enjoy!