I’m no expert in Chinese astrology, nor sold on its scientific merit. But one of the people I’ve respected most in this life – Tanouye Roshi – found it a useful framework for understanding the year-to-year changes in the students he faced as a music teacher and Zen teacher, or large-scale shifts in the Zeitgeist. Somehow the shift from Snake to Horse particularly speaks to me now, as I feel the shedding of old skin, and a latent, pent up energy whose form is still unknown, getting ready to gallop forward. Perhaps you feel it as well. Or maybe if I describe its contours in my life, you’ll recognize it in yours and be ready to put the energy of this New Year to the best possible use.
If you look up the Year of the Snake, you’ll read about a quiet year of preparation, laying in plans, latent possibility: snake-in-the-grass sort of descriptions. But if I look at my own life, its most snake-y quality has been shed, shed, shed. Both of my parents and a lifelong friend died this past year. The hollowness of those losses is still with me, even as I recognize the new space it has created. Many wonderful things have also happened this year: continued growth in the Institute for Zen Leadership (IZL), continued work with terrific colleagues who are as close as family, more people using FEBI, and more readiness in the culture – thanks to neuroscience – for whole, embodied leadership. But I can also see in my own work this past year where many things have been on hold. Eighteen months and counting, we’re still awaiting IRS review of our 501c3 application for IZL’s non-profit status, the lack of which has cost us momentum. FEBI is reaching more people, but it has hardly gone viral. Several leadership programs that were supposed to have launched in 2013 are still on the pad.