2015 welcomes in the year of the goat/sheep. Not only was I born in the year of the goat, but I am also a Capricorn. They certainly don’t make them any more stubborn than me! This is actually a characteristic that I have made my strength as I was not born with any other particular talents. Together with the fact that I never outgrew asking ‘Why?’, it has meant that I like to solve problems especially veterinary ones where conventional medicine does not have good answers. I also don’t like giving up.
The Western paradigm is one of breaking things down to the smallest particle, the atom and beyond. It likes to categorize; black or white, effective or not effective therapy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and its influence from Taoism is concerned with patterns, how each part fits into the whole and there is no beginning or end but a continuous cycle. The taiji ying-yang symbol is one such example, the chinese zodiac calendar is another. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Five Elements is another.
One of my early teachers, the vibrant Dr Cheryl Schwartz, author of Four Paws Five Directions, describes the Five Elements according to dog breeds. The Boxer belonged to the Fire element, always cheerful and lively, too much of them though can leave us exhausted. The Labrador is the quintessential Earth dog, heavy, prone to weight gain, placid but a bit of a worrier. The Greyhound is a Metal dog; self contained, not one to show exuberance to strangers. Many puppies are still in the process of developing their Water element. They are a bit scared of lots of things and often pee in fright. Jack Russells are often Woody. They can go all day chasing rabbits and hang on no matter what. They are happiest being busy and love to escape from home. So I guess that describes me quite well too.
When we look at the Five Element chart, we see that no element is boss, no one is better or worse. They cycle through one another and they also control each other. There is balance. We need all of them.
I read an article a few years ago that nowadays we are constantly in search of happiness. However, if we are never sad, scared, worried or angry, how do we know what happy is? How can we appreciate joy? Since then, I strive for wholeness, I am not ashamed of my periods of impatience, my fear of horror movies, my stubbornness and my inability to appreciate popular music. So there is no right or wrong. It is all about finding the balance within and between ourselves and our animals.