Tibetans celebrate Lozar, their calendar new year, in what we Westerners would call February or March. The new year of the Earth Dog began Feb. 16, 2018. In a twelve-year cycle that includes both “real” animals like tigers, horses and pigs, and “mythical” animals like dragons, Asians open to the flavor and energy of a specific animal that guides humans through a full year in the cycle. We have begun the year of the Earth Dog, practical, ordinary, loyal. Nothing fancy.
Earth Dogs are attuned to the subtle changes around them, and can sniff out issues hiding under cover. They are not easily bamboozled. They take joy in fresh air and nature. They’re loyal to their principles. There’s a no-nonsense way they can cut through the potential stagnation of workaday life, and drag us out on the next wonderful walk, the next fresh air adventure.
An Earth Dog year invites us to be practical, steady, hold with our principles (and not get distracted by the smell of manure). It invites us to track the connection between cause and effect. The causes and effects can cover wide-ranging territory: have you ever watched a dog on a ramble? It’s time to notice what’s happening in our own lives and turf, to explore this more carefully.
A clear idea can be the cause of future constructive action and positive effects. It could be that under the guise of winter we’ve put on some excess weight. In Ayurveda, elder sister to Tibetan medicine *, if you want to create the causes for losing weight, you work with the idea of “light”. You choose more light, dry foods like quinoa, millet and corn, rather than damp dairy. You use light phytonutrient-rich vegetables such as arugula, cilantro and spinach as the causes for a radiant immune-strengthening effect. You can adapt breath patterns like Kapalabhati, breath of fire, to enliven your digestive fire and support healthy metabolism. Walk in fresh air regularly to infuse prana/energy into every cell, helping you to lighten up and sleep more deeply.
Research shows that wifi exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, our sleep-enhancing brain hormone. Turning off one’s modem and smart phones each night can result in the effect of a better-rested nervous system and mind.
A larger scale idea that is being discussed a lot here in the US right now: no longer selling assault weapons. This could be the cause for a lot less violence in the world.
Internationally respected Tibetan teacher H.E. Garchen Rinpoche has often said that bodhicitta, the wish to benefit others, is the cause for all happiness.
Our poster child for the Earth Dog year is named, appropriately enough, Dante. His life does include much Divine Comedy. He is a mixed breed, highly enthusiastic canine currently residing in Ames, Iowa.
What ideas have you got for constructive action in your own life? What effects would you like to see? How might the year of the Earth Dog support a wiser, more practical, vibrantly ordinary you?
- Tibetans staged international health conferences as early as 1,000 A.D. Practitioners of Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Mongolian medicine were invited from India, Mongolia and China. Here’s more about Tibetan medicine.
Photo of Dante copyright Iza Bruen-Morningstar, 2018
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT https://amadeamorningstar.net/ is an expert in Ayurvedic health care https://amadeamorningstar.net/blog/ . She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training https://amademorningstar.net/the-institute and hands-on knowledge that includes: Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. Her new book with photography Renee Lynn, Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda, Delicious and Nourishing Recipes for All Seasons, is due out this spring.