Last February, I was nervous about what the Year of the Tiger might have in store for me. Truthfully, I could not have imagined the half of it.
Tigers are fierce, with teeth and jaws powerful enough to shear away the toughest of hides. They can shred what you think you know, rendering it unrecognizable. (I just finished reading a long book about predators to my son last night. The tiger and its long teeth grace the cover, so I’m well in touch with the food chain today.)
I wanted that big cat in my corner to protect me from fire, thieves and ghosts.
But he didn’t, which made certain days, certain weeks, feel impossible to get through.
Or he did. He brought me so much closer to all of my fears, fundamentally shifting the way I respond to the things that scald old hurts, the unknowable and the unknown. He shook me by the neck to get me to realize certain things are possible, like the ability to be in the middle of a bad day or moment, surrender to it, then take it in a different direction.
The embrace of the rabbit, while iron this time around, is said to be much softer. I can’t help but hope that is so, but the tiger has definitely made me reluctant to get comfortable, and I think that’s handy.
This is the first day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. The things we do on this and the coming days is said to reflect what we will do for the rest of the year. I’m trying to be faithful and hopeful today. I did my Dharma practice. I went to the gym. I’m writing. I’m helping out at with a project at my son’s school. I’m working on the seventh step in Al-Anon. I’m thinking about distant solar systems and extra-long words. I’m making some plans for work and friendships. I’m enjoying my child as much as ever. I’m praying for people I care about who are facing difficulties — in my life, in Egypt and the habitable zones of the stars that Kepler is watching. I’m trying to take my time with things, like walking across all of these icy sidewalks.
I hope you do something that you love today.
Happy New Year.