Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy Year of the Rooster!

Today, January 28, 2017, millions of people around the world celebrate the beginning of the Chinese New Year also known as the Spring Festival. In 2017 it is a Year of the Rooster. The calculation of a new year is based on a lunisolar calendar that takes the cycles of the moon and the sun into consideration.

The celebrations begin on a New Year's Eve, a day before a new moon, and last till for fifteen days. The holiday ends with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of a new year. This tradition dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25AD) and symbolizes a truly new beginning as people symbolically are letting go of their old selves.

New Year in any culture means a new beginning and hope, and the Chinese are not different than anybody. For millennia, Chinese astrologers, geomancers, fortune tellers and feng shui masters were devising complicated horoscopes and predicting future in the Middle Kingdom. This tradition is just as vivid throughout the Chinese communities all over the world and is was in China hundreds of years ago.

Personal horoscopes are very complex. They include, among others, the year, the month and the hour of birth. Each year, month and hour has a zodiac animal assigned to it, as well one of the Five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.

The Five Elements theory is a very ancient one. It dates back into the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and was described in the Annals of thereof. The theory describes interactions and relationships between things and the five elements constitute the basis for everything in the universe.

The Five Elements theory became very popular in Chinese culture and philosophy. To this day it is applied in the Traditional Chinese Medicine, philosophy, martial arts, geomancy (feng shui), and divination.

Each of the five elements has its own character and association with the aspects of nature such as cardinal direction, time of the year or season, climate, shape, color, taste. These elements also determine the personality, destiny and personal fortune of a person.

Each person is assigned a zodiac animal of the year in which he or she was born. In Chinese astrology there are twelve animal signs. Each sign is associated with one of the Five Elements. The entire cycle lasts sixty years. 2017 is a year of a fire rooster because the current twelve year cycle is in the fire element. This means that the next time the fire rooster appears it will be year 2077. But things get a little more complicated, since the Chinese astrology ascribes elements to each of the animal signs: tiger and rabbit are of the wood element; snake and horse are of fire; ox, dragon, goat, and dog are of earth; monkey and rooster are metal; and the pig and rat are of the earth element.

In Chinese astrology rooster is a very auspicious, luck bringing animal that is associated with hard work, punctuality, sense of duty, competitiveness, bravery, and prosperity. How lucky this year will be for you depends as much on the stars as it does on what you make out of it. Chinese fortune tellers cleverly show us the potentialities and always suggest that we have the power to forge our luck and escape negative correlations.

Whether you celebrate the Chinese New Year or not, this is an occasion to have some good Chinese food, a cup of tea or a glass of plum wine and reflect on you current new year's resolutions. If you did not make any, now you have a chance to focus on your plans.

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Year of the Fire Rooster - The Reader

Dominique Allmon@2017


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

On My Bookshelf

Like any other reader I am very proud of my library. From time to time I love to take a picture of my collection and show it off.

I love to give books as gifts and gave some of my books away to people who could not afford buying any. Books are the best gifts you can give or receive.

Like many other bibliophiles I buy more books than I can read. This is how personal libraries are made and it does not matter if there is any logic or a system that organizes a collection. You just have to have a sturdy shelf and a place to put it. The collection will grow miraculously and you will have to get another shelf. And another. Once you created a library you can arrange your life around it.

As Kindle and other electronic media alternatives to books are taking over, some people believe that the days of printed books are numbered. We have seen what happened to vinyl records when digital CD took market by storm. We have also seen what happened to CDs when iPods replaced the portable CD player. Does anybody even remember the Walkman?

Predictions of printed books disappearing from our lives might come true one day, but for now, books are safe, at least for as long as there are people who would rather buy tons of books than new shoes or handbags. 

Wishing everybody a really great time with their book collections - The Reader


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Book Lying Idle...

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation... A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold. - Henry Miller in Henry Miller in The Books in My Life

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year's Resolutions And The Power Of Self-Motivation

Tea Time by Dominique Allmon©2017

We are exactly one week into a New Year. New year, new beginning. New beginning means hope. Hope that this year will be different, better. Promises, resolutions, oaths. Most will be broken, discarded, forgotten, and sabotaged as quickly as they were made. Just take a look at the last year, or the one before.

Every year millions of people deceive themselves into believing that this year will be different, better. Many know that they would fail and do not even bother to make resolutions.

Things can only be better if we have the determination to change what bothers and disturbs us. Even if we are not always able to control the circumstances we fall into, we are the ones who decide what really happens to us. Things may go awfully wrong and yet it is our reactions to the circumstances that give a particular event a meaning. 
We are not victims of fate. We are the masters. If we have the wisdom and courage to accept the things as they are and then quickly move on without regret, we will find ourselves in a place where new opportunities are abundant. 

For many people this is easier said than done. Often, an incredible amount of mental strength, determination and self-motivation is required to make a significant change.

How do we know that the effort is even worth the price? Coming out of a safe zone is stressful and can cause a lot of pain. Fear will stop us in our tracks. But unless we understand that we cannot start anything new with an old mindset, we will not be able to change anything in our lives. We must be willing to pay the price in the first place, then watch the things as they unfold before our eyes.

May you have the courage to break your own rules! Happy New Year! - The Reader

Dominique Allmon ©2017