The full moon of the night symbolizes the approach of the new moon in two weeks, heralding the entrance of the dragon. With two claps before the dawn, I sprinkle the ashes of the year of the rabbit into the river, watching it take the past into the living sea and putting it behind me. A final clap and I turn to reflect upon the last year and energize myself for the future.
2011 was an interesting year. It saw destruction and fire. It also saw the inevitable hope that rises from the ashes and lights the path ahead.
I lost two people in my life this year and had to say goodbye to another. Both my uncle and stepfather passed from this life. My stepbrother made a choice to continue his errant ways and decided to walk another path in his life. I faced the fire of dealing with past personal issues and embraced the compassion that comes with placing the needs of others over the wants of self. In the end, as the fire burned intensely, as the smoke threatened to choke the very life from my lungs, I emerged on the other side, stronger and ready to face the future. Such is the warrior life.
So, what does it all mean? Warrior-protectors preach perseverance. It is the driving force behind what we have to do every moment, every second, every day. It is getting up to face whatever hardship threatens to derail our path. It is saying “I have to” when everything inside screams “I don’t want to” so that we may lead a happier life later.
There are a lot of things I wanted to do this last year. But, there were a lot of things I needed to do instead. It is about finding the balance between want and need. It is about staying in the middle, focused on the here and now. It is about letting go of the past, welcoming the future and living today. Banpen Fugyo! Stand ready to embrace whatever comes your way!