Kung Hey Fat Choi
2018 is the Yang Earth Dog year! Each year is governed by one of the 12 zodiac animals, according to Chinese astrology. Last year was the Rooster, this year is the Dog . 2018 is a Yang Earth Year, also referred to as a Yellow Dog year; yellow being the color associated with the Earth element. The character of each year is steeped in Chinese theory and tradition. ABOUT EARTH; After two Fire years, an Earth year may feel calm by contrast. But Yang Earth indicates major land issues. However, the Earth can also yield treasures, such as archeological discoveries and rare gemstones. Earth years can be warm, which is consistent with warmer weather trends scientists have documented. The Earth element is also associated with Dampness and Humidity; we may see increased humidity in areas and seasons where it does not usually occur, particularly in summer. But Earth is also powerfully grounding during times of stress and turmoil. So attending to your backyard, garden or balcony plants will help you connect with the stability of Earth. Spend time in inviting outdoor spaces or botanical gardens. Earth energy also represents gathering, mature energy that is sensible, realistic and grounded in Truth. Dog years see Sympathy and Empathy coming to the fore. This year will present opportunities to help others, with compassionate ideals guiding action. We may see grassroots movements gaining momentum, and designated spokespeople conveying the desires of the collective. This is a good year for collaboration and partnerships! WHAT THE EARTH ELEMENT MEANS FOR HEALTH: Earth refers to the digestive organs: Spleen, Stomach, Pancreas and the lymphatic system. So digestion and eating are in the spotlight, for better or worse. The function of the digestive organs is to transform food into Qi and Blood, and transport it throughout the body for health and vitality. When digestion cannot complete that task, either because of overeating or eating inappropriate foods, then the residue of food lingers and becomes Damp. And when Damp languishes, it becomes the more intractable Phlegm. Phlegm is created in digestion, and then is said to be stored in the Lungs, where it can manifest as congestion or sinus problems. ORGANS OF DIGESTION: Although it is generally considered a good year for health, watch out for a range of potential digestive disturbances. This can include overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food for your particular digestion. Do you know what foods contribute to dampness? Here’s a start: ice cream (especially at night), dairy, sugar and sugary foods, eating cold breakfasts, having an icy cold smoothie for breakfast, and eating cold salads with thick or heavy dressing (a heavy rotation of salads are counter-productive, particularly in the winter). But if you love your salads, then at least let them sit at room temp for 30 minutes or so before eating. Add cooked veggies to your salad greens to make it easier on your digestion (the veggies don’t need to be warm in your salad, just having been cooked changes their nature). DAMPNESS & PHLEGM: One of the weather issues is the possibility of increased humidity. As without, so within. Inside the body, humidity manifests as Dampness or Phlegm. This might be experienced as chest congestion, a phlegmy cough or sinus issues. Weight gain is often described as excess dampness, another reason to be vigilant about exercise and healthy food choices and habits. If you have been wondering about your blood sugar regulation or endocrine health, ask about it when you next visit your doctor. EATING WELL: When we make healthy food choices and create healthy food habits, we nourish life. Eating is one of two ways we stay alive (the other is by breathing), so paying attention to your digestive health is important! Learning about or refining your eating habits will help create vitality and help you enjoy life more. Root veggies are associated with Earth (yams, sweet potatoes) so incorporate them into your menus year-round. CONSIDER YOUR “PACK”: Dogs form packs, and this points to more “be with” time with family and friends. Community experiences will become more important, and new friendships may be discovered as a result. EARTH EMOTIONS: Contemplation is one of the psycho-emotional aspects of Earth. At it’s best, it results in meditation, consideration, and approaching issues logically, thoughtfully. So yeah, keep meditating! When this impulse goes awry, it can result in worry and compulsive behavior, and clutter may overtake your space, becoming more disorganized. In the effort to think logically, we might actually overthink and confuse ourselves! Many thanks to Diane Gallin and Lillian Pearl Bridges’s insights and outlook for the 2018 Yang Earth Dog year.