by Lucy Jay
You’ve probably heard by now, Chinese New Year was on Thursday 2/19 and it’s now the Year of the Sheep. Well depending on your network, it is some version of the sheep, goat or horned animal, maybe with some green wood thrown in. Which one really depends on the culture interpreting the ancient word and their weather, which you can read more about here. As part of the celebration, a number of western writers have taken up the topic of how we can embody the horned animal, learn its medicine and make the most of this year for personal evolution. My particular favorites have included the poetry of Mystic Mamma on cultivating contentment and community as well as this Buddhadharma perspective and this witty read on being a spiritual girl in the material world.
I don’t normally write on this subject, however since I have 3 goats who are central in my daily routine , I have a little bit of a different perspective of what composes the essential teachings of these darling, blissful and infuriating pack animals and what they are asking us to step into for this coming year. Consider this practical advice from my goats to you on your daily rush to survive, cultivate health, maybe create, and hopefully do something good for the world.
- Calm the f*@k down by eating more vegetables. Goats are what they eat and that is why they teach us about grounding, contentment and serenity.
- But then feel free to nibble on any yummy thing that catches your eye if you feel like it and it makes you happy, especially if you’re not supposed to. How can you know if you never try? My goats are in great health, have fabulous hair and have no emotional suppression around their appetites, even when it includes shouting and shaming from me. They know through trying everything what it is they really need.
- Focus completely on whatever it is you really want and go for it, at least a little bit every single day. The souls and minds of my goats are called to the potted plants on our fenced in deck. They spend time each day (except when the weather is bad and they’d rather cuddle in the barn) researching ways to break onto the deck. Every few months, they find a new loophole and achieve the impossible, outwitting me and even my husband, who may have a higher IQ than Einstein did.
- Do not care one ounce about what anyone else thinks or the potential consequences of your desires in life. When my goats achieve a hay storage break-in, one stands on the lookout while the other two stuff their faces. They rotate the guard until caught and on the way out, unlike the fear of my dog when I chase her from the cat bowl, they all grin with pleasure. Try that out and see where it takes you (unless you are already a narcissistic sociopath or have criminal tendencies). See what you would do if you let go for a moment of what everyone else thought of you and how you should live your life. What hay storage is awaiting your break-in?
- Be opportunistic and calmly take what you want with no guilt or shame at all. If you really want to ride waves of synchronicity to your destiny, you have to be opportunistic. That door to the barn might close as soon as it opened – don’t let your shame and guilt take that chance away.
- Don’t be afraid to be cuddly and loving and then 5 minutes later to butt your head against whatever pisses you off. You can do both things to the same person within those 5 minutes. In the end do the right amount of these things so you can still be a pack animal because friends and family are the best and we need each other to grow.
Lucy Jay is a YogaDork homesteading in the Santa Cruz Mountains of CA. She teaches yoga part-time in the Bay Area, helps manage a gleaning non-profit, and spends her free time fighting against climate change and for social justice. She has a BS in Writing from MIT. You can find her online at www.facebook/lucyjaybiz.
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