Tuesday, 29 January 2008

4 - Year of the Rat (early)

Year of the Rat

The Pig is dead. Long life the Rat.

This past year, that of the Pig, was a year of self-celebration, in which one’s path ran a locally flatline. Many steps were taken safely away from the precipice. Looking back it is clear the road was not flat but rose gradually all along and over it significant heights on a stable platform were attained.

This next year, the Rat, is a year of high activity in which effort is rewarded.

But if ever a year required a positive attitude it is the year of the Rat. Otherwise depression will corner us in holes entirely unsuitable to our wonderful existence. An apparently insurmountable obstacle is never such. Sniff about - there’s always a way through or around.

Like the metaphor, the journey is the trip not the destination, so dream fulfilment is the endeavour not the achievement. So be grateful for the hurdles, it is them that in the end will define the satisfaction of the achievement. Appreciate them rather as indicators that there is a better way.

Always remember an obstacle is not the goal, so focus beyond it.

A good mantra for this year is ‘How can I do it?’ as opposed to the ever popular ‘I can’t do it’. And there is ALWAYS a way – action has its own magic. Many things can be achieved provided they are approached with organisation, energy and a relaxed focus. While the Pig got us out of danger. And next year’s Ox is the super builder, this year’s ground-level labour is even more vital. Without its achievements nothing grander will be attained by the time of the Tiger.

Follow those instincts. You’ve come a long way from the precipice – so backtrack if needs be. Sometimes that’s the fastest way forward. More importantly make no assumptions that while backtracking, things have remained the same. Every situation and place is new and more may be gained from the familiarity with the position. While backtracking you may find the reasons for leaving that situation are gone and that the reversal of direction is indeed now the right way. But beware of traps – things that look easily for the taking are not NECESSARILY for the taking ESPECIALLY if it is in a place you feel you have been before.

While it is good to take advantage of life’s random fortunes one cannot count on them. It is through effort, energy and integrity that one’s existence and prosperity is ensured.

This is a good year to accept change though. To realign one’s goals as old ones may no longer be applicable or good enough. Rigidly sticking to a dream made many years ago by someone much younger and less wise than you are now can in itself be the distraction that prevents the fulfilment of a much more worthwhile accomplishment or state of being. Despite what I have written about there ‘always being a way’ it is important still to “accept loss forever”. There is a difference.

Clear Skies

Doctor Lobster

I’ll add 2 personal notes regarding goal shifting from my archives as case studies.

- I once used to claim that my ultimate goal was to leave the earth’s atmosphere and go into space. I recognised and commented subsequently that how could I have been so foolish to be willing to settle for so little.

- Many years ago I concluded that by 37 I would not think about money anymore. “Thoughtless 37”. It was not a VERY serious goal but I think by placing this even laughably in my life I have found myself thinking about money a lot – increasingly as I approach that age. It was made by a youngster unaware of life’s wonders – a youngster who quite frankly bears little resemblance to myself right now. I won’t be held to ‘goal-success or failure’ by some strange spotty kid I barely recognise. If I think about money after that age then so be it. There’s plenty of other cooler stuff to think about between then and now too. And if I were to seriously try to achieve it then I would not be gnawing on one of life’s legbones as I am right now. And that would be a waste of very good bone marrow.

And would I be unhappy if I achieved it at 38? 40? 50? Never? I should not rely on such a thing for my happiness. I hope you understand.

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