“2016 can suck it!”
I keep hearing this along with posted images of the grim reaper. “When we ring 2016 out, make sure to put a bullet in its head.”
Without a doubt it’s been a rabid, laughing hyena of a year. Maybe not the worst year in history. Maybe not as bad as 72,000 B.C. when a volcanic super-eruption on the island of Sumatra exploded and an apocalyptic winter reduced human populations to 3,000 survivors. And then there was the Black Death. I can well imagine folks saying “1348 can suck it!”
More recently, 2003 has been flagged as a really bad year and, believe it or not, 2006 had more celebrity deaths than 2016. But there’s no denying it: 2016 does not have a huge fan base. I’m not at all surprised.
At this time last year I wrote a blog piece about the Year of the Fire Monkey “its wild and mischievous energy that could rock the world if wisely channeled,” but also “if it burns too hot, flame out of control.” Donald Trump is the perfect president-elect for a Monkey year. I haven’t checked this yet, but I would not at all be surprised if he was born in the year of the Monkey. If you follow this at all — or if you remember my new year’s 2016 blog — Monkey cannot stop chattering (tweeting?). He is reckless, dangerous, and the biggest fool in the zodiac. Yet, it’s that energy that can often shake things up, create a necessary correction when things have maybe gone too far the other way (and only then might we find the middle ground). In the ancient stories Monkey often shocks us with his crude antics just to show us where we do not want to go. He even raised havoc in Heaven until Buddha got a hold of him.
The good news, Boys and Girls, is that we are now headed into a Rooster Year. 2017 will set the world stage for the Year of the Red Fire Rooster. Don’t let the fire element scare you; the Monkey’s fire is yang energy; Rooster’s flames are yin. Phew.
The Old Sifu once told me, while first teaching me Golden Rooster stance in kung fu, that the Rooster is associated with the Sun Coming Up. Rooster crows at dawn, welcomes a fresh, new day (thank you, God). Rooster is also about being cool, calm, and confident, he’s a kingly bird, his mannerisms are proud and graceful. Rooster is a leader with big goals but keeps a wise and enlightened approach to those goals. Although I’ve heard it said that Rooster likes to crow about his achievements, what Old Sifu advised me about this Rooster Year is “say less, do less, but do it better.” I brought up Bruce Lee’s oft-quoted “fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks, fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
“That’s what I said,” said the Old Sifu.
Feels to me like Rooster is a good year for simplifying. Reduction. Those who follow Tao are spare in what they do; they seek quality. Call it Tao jazz if you will: It’s often the notes we DON’T play that make the music swing. It’s when the Rooster kicks ass in the barnyard but doesn’t crow that he’s truly the cock of the walk.
One thing that the Old Sifu said that did concern me was: “In the Year of the Rooster, the new leader must not flaunt his authority — a negative Rooster trait that needs to be checked — and must not underestimate his world opponents.” Yeah, it’s time to move past the Monkey business.
The wise Taoist Deng Ming-Dao, had this to say today:
“We’re at the end of a year. What’s done is done. For all of us, there was some good and some bad. Some joys and some disappointment. Some elation and some grief. Thus is human life not a pure metal, but one that is alloyed, tempered, and forged….We all recognize that we did what we could, and while we are ready to try again, we must have the faith, the honesty, and the optimism to declare that events are done.”
Wishing everyone a peaceful, simple, productive, and healthy new year. Looking forward to your great works and friendship.
And, hey, 2016: Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.