My yoga teacher told us last night this it is the year of the Ox and given the situation we’re in, that is very appropriate. You see, the Ox is extremely trustworthy and strong. He is a leader, and he is someone you can count on. (Our boy Obama is an Ox, in fact.)
But the thing about the Ox is that he’s very very stubborn. There are two components to his stubbornness. 1) He doesn’t like to give up his old habits; he has notions and habits, and for whatever reason, he cannot bear to part with them. 2) He doesn’t really like to take advice from other people. In hippie speak: He doesn’t like to “let people in.” Letting people in might threaten his habits, or his old ideas. And that is frightening, it seems impossible. He’s bad with change.
There’s a bit of the Ox in all of us, because change is really hard. But yoga has a solution. We fortify our foundation. (In class, this means strengthening your legs, but please go with my metaphor.) Fortifying foundation means you can take stock of the things you know to be true, the things you can count on. You identify the elements that are truly essential, so when the time comes to let go of the bad habit, you know you’re not left with nothing.
No, my yoga teacher has some great tatooes and jewelry, but she is no hippie. She ended class by explaining that moving the Ox is a slow, not always successful process. It doesn’t just take “faith,” or “willingness.” It doesn’t take openness, because to get open enough to move, you have to persevere. “This year,” she told us. “Will not be easy. It’s going to a year of hard work and dedication. Only after we’ve worked hard will see how far we can go, but there are no guarantees of a quick fix.”
To me, in real life, we get this foundation by asking ourselves what it is that we do know. We remind ourselves of the facts, we work with integrity, we aim for balance. Now is the time to participate. Learn what’s in the 819 Billion Stimulus package. Focus on learning, and doing. Do those things in a pragmatic, controlled manner, and you’ll be more receptive to necessary change.