Western New Year Resolutions and Chinese New Year Celebrations go together like peanut and butter. They herald in changes filled with hope for the world and all its inhabitants; young and old, furred, scaled and feathered.  Your New Year resolutions help you focus on personal improvements while the Chinese New Year gives insight into animal personality types that are reflected in world events, improvements and people.

2013 was a year of the snake and a year filled with challenges for many of us. Although  great opportunities may have been  present  the Snake Year was seldom able to guard against complacency and indifference—a personality of the snake.  Fortunately, the year of the Green Wood Horse promises to be better because the Green Wooden Horse is a symbol of spring and renewed life.

Time for a rebirth of consciousness and self

According to the Chinese astrology calendar, 2014 is Year of the Green Wood Horse and will start on the first day of spring at 17:04 p.m., Feb. 3, in the U.S. Eastern Standard Time, 14:04 p.m. Feb. 3, in Pacific Standard Time. The Year of the Horse will start early in the U.S. Feb. 4, 2014 (Chinese Time, January 31st, on Western calendars).  It will be the time when the sun enters the 315th degree on the tropical zodiac.

Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival and the Lunar New Year.  Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

The horse birth years are 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, and 2002. If you, or someone you love, were born during the horse years the personality traits you display are those of being cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with your hands. The horse is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able to overcome obstacles as easily as jumping over fallen branches.  The spirit of the horse has unremitting efforts to improve. Therefore, this year will be full of changes.

Unlike the indifference of the Snake, the Year of the Green Wood Horse, 2014, is the year where leaders world-wide will find a way to make a difference. The work horse will make things happen.  This will carry over into our personal and family lives.

As a friend and I were having coffee at a café the conversation shifted to  New Year Resolutions and the difference between need and want in our everyday lives.

“Kathy, what’s your New Year’s resolution?” Linda asked, “Mine is to give up all sweets.” she continued, while shaking two packets of sugar substitute into her coffee. “I’m starting tomorrow.”

“Well, mine is to not give up anything, and to put myself first,” I answered. “I’ve given up so much fighting cancer recurrence and recovering after winning that war, I think I’ve given up quite enough already.  Then, I’ll refocus on the difference between want and need in my life and address them accordingly.”

Linda stopped stirring her coffee, peered over her sunglasses at me , and asked, “What do you mean by want and need?”
The concept of care-giver first rather than last, and the difference between want and need can seem alien to many people, but especially women.  I learned about these during radiation therapy ten years ago while battling breast cancer.  The side effects of emotional emptiness and burn-out can still be seen in women who are unaware of self-care concepts. An empty well cannot give nourishing water to anyone. Many caregivers unintentionally become empty wells.  Putting ourselves first often goes against our true nature.

Women are born natural care-givers.  These natural instincts are reinforced by years of training while growing into womanhood. Unfortunately, many caregivers give unconsciously and unconditionally until there is nothing left to give.  Consequently, their emotional-well runs dry. Lately, there is an alarming pattern of burn-out during these uncertain economic times.  Part of the problem is not distinguishing between wants and needs.

Families have many wants, and the care-giver tries to meet them as though they are needs; a terrible burden to carry. Women become burned out from giving so much of themselves to those who want more than is available.  When there is nothing left to give, the result is medication, and psychotherapy to fill the void, and dull the feeling of failure.

Fortunately, there is a new shift in consciousness taking place in 2014 that may help many overburdened caregivers.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article, with a focus on the new shift into consciousness and self-awareness, and what it could mean to you.