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New Year thoughts on slowness

Happy New Year! Some thoughts to share...

Kung Hei Fat Choi (gōng xǐ fā cái) is traditional Chinese New Year greeting. It means Congratulations and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!; Happy New Year! The phrase ‘Gong Xi’ (or ‘Gong Hei’ in Cantonese) means 'Congratulations', derived from the legend of ‘Nian’, congratulating each other to have escaped the harm of the beast. For fun, here's a bit of the background: According to a Chinese legend a terrible monster (pictured sometimes with features of a lion, unicorn, and ox), a really giant, monstrous creature by the name of ‘Nian’ lived in the mountains and would come down at the end of the year to destroy the fields, crops and animals and to terrorize people or even kill them all. The terrified people called the beast Nian (年, nian actually is the Chinese word for 'year'). But by and by the villagers discovered that the monster was frightened by loud noises, bright lights, and the color red. Hence all the firecrackers drums and lion puppets at the new year!

Year of the Water Rabbit

We are starting the year of the Rabbit (or the Cat if you're Vietnamese) which is a sign of longevity, peace and prosperity. And according to the very wise internet, 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. And who am I not to pass that particular bit of good news on?! The water element comes around every 60 years and represents fluidity or bendability of character, gentleness, easily adaptable. So here's to hoping this year brings some ease to our lives.

Resolving to slow down

I've spoken before about slowing down. This continues to be my annual resoluton for myself as well as my wish for all of you. I've realized, as I've taken on W72 Wellness, renting to other practitioners and creating a community in this space, that my own self care regimen must include plenty of slow moments. I live in Brooklyn near Green-Wood Cemetery, which I think is the most beautiful park in the city. It has remarkable trees and so many beautiful things to look at. It's quiet and I love to walk around the grounds and gaze at the trees. This week, I even noticed beauty in the pavement. I was walking along and saw this series of cracks and it reminded me of how we see the same patterns again and again in nature, and even in things we think are not completely natural like pavement. This reminded me that thousands of years ago, chinese doctors spent a lot of slow time understanding that these natural processes that happen in the world outside our bodies also happen inside our bodies. I looked at this pavement and saw patterns that I see in skin texture, or capillaries.

Patterns patterns everywhere...

It also occurs to me that I've never written about why I chose the golden ratio symbol as my logo. The ratio, also called The Divine Ratio, for me perfectly captures the fine line between science and art. It mathematically captures beauty, it is the proportion of many leaves, ferns, shells and shapes in nature. It was used to make the pyramids withstand time and to make the Mona Lisa's face so perfectly mysterious. And this idea captures this medicine for me - healing does not only require scientific knowledge, it requires the human touch as well: creativity, compassion, laughter, listening, trust. It is about both things and this is what I try to bring to my practice and to all of you. Something that works well when I take slow moments to see beauty in pavement cracks and how you can see the majesty of a tree when the leaves are gone.

I wish a year of slow moments for all of you as well. As many of you hear me say: be gentle with yourselves, look away from the screens. Take interest in and embrace the cracks, because sometimes that is how the light gets in. -Annalisa


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