For those of you who are not familiar, my family goes to the Japanese Shinto temple in Granite falls every new year. https://www.tsubakishrine.org
It's not that we are Shinto but it's a beautiful place to celebrate the new year and the priest there always has some very interesting things to share about what the new year means in a more "elemental" way.
I am no expert, but Shinto-ism is sort of like a celebration of nature. The symbology associated with Shinto are the square, triangle, and circle.
The square symbolizes the sun.
The circle symbolizes the moon.
The triangle symbolizes the stars.
This symbolism aligns with the aikido symbology.
Did I mention before that I practiced aikido?
The other common symbol of Shinto is the gate or "torii."
Passing through the gate is an act of cleansing. As you pass through the gate you are cleansed of bad energy so that you only bring good energy to the shrine.
Anyway, here were my take aways:
-This is a year of preparation, not really a time to start something new but to build the foundation of something you have been working on.
I took it to mean that it's a good year to put energy into something you want to grow and expand next year. So I asked myself,
"What is it that I need to build so that it can grow and expand in the coming years?"
Other descriptors of this year:
- The direction for this year is EAST.
I decided that I would put my little appreciation "alter" in the East facing direction. It's kinda nice since it's the direction of the sunrise. Also helps me remember it.
Maybe I will appreciate more sunrises this year.
- The number is 5.
Ooh, I like this. I have always felt an affinity for the number 5; not sure why. The O in "O Institute" also stands for 5. Referring back to the 5 factors that I believe are an essential part of our overall wellbeing: Health, Relationships, Career, Finance, and Sense of Purpose.
- The color for this year is dark GREEN
It is supposed to signify the strong foundation before the leaves change color. Again, getting back to the idea of preparation. I guess I will be wearing more green this year. LOL.
Whenever I think of a new year or change in general, I always connect it back to ideas or concepts that have woven their way into my default consciousness that I have to review and possibly eliminate.
No easy task.
One such realization for me this past week has been the idea of grief.
We connect the idea of grief to loss of life.
But I feel that grief is a process that we must endure whenever there is significant change in your life; moving, changing jobs, change in relationship "status," etc.
My most recent big change happened almost 2 years ago when I stopped working for RoundGlass. I realized that I didn't really grieve that loss. There was some "getting used to" for sure but I didn't really process the significance of the change.
I just carried on.
I tried "to go around it." ;-) (BB)
I had been working for that company for 5 years.
I had sacrificed a lot of my time, energy and sanity to it.
And when I left, I just sort of carried on back into private practice as if it was no big deal.
What I did not do was process the grief of the loss of identity, friends, coworkers and vision that I had signed up for.
When I zoomed out and looked at it, it was important to me.
I realized how much I had sacrificed and I was not happy with the way things turned out.
I was not happy with who I had devolved into during my tenure there.
I was not happy with the way things ended.
I knew it was time to leave but I felt like we had abandoned the vision of what I had signed on to and it just sort of fizzled without really being addressed.
Today, I realized the last couple years to process that grief. Seems long? Maybe. Or maybe the default model of grief is wrong. We traditionally get 3 days to grieve. Three days!
By comparison, my 2 years seems like an eternity. But I had to let that idea go and just allow myself to process the grief however I needed to.
I want to clear my head and vision to be around the work I have been dedicating myself to for the past 20 odd years, and that is improving overall health by changing the paradigm. No more problem solving model of drugs and surgery but a model based on prevention. You can only prevent disease and improve quality of life through education and by changing behavior.
That's the goal.
Will I be able to do it?
But at least I know that I have grieved my loss.
I know the vision of what I want.
I am committed to giving it my best shot.
And in the meantime, I will face EAST, focus on the number 5, and try to wear as much green as possible!
Wait, does money count as dark green?
Time to buy a ticket.