It was filled with tension and grief and general discord. After talking with different friends, we all decided that we needed a restart and we were going to grant ourselves permission to do so. It was suggested to me by my friend Cynthia that I take the time in between the “traditional” western NYE, and the Chinese or “Lunar” new year, and reflect on the goals I would like to accomplish during the year. My aim was to keep it as simple as possible. Life is complicated enough. I didn’t want to focus on the outcome, but the act of doing. Once these goals were established, the plan was to enter my “new” new year gracefully and with ease, surrounded by love and support. My goals boiled down to 2 things- have more respect for my life and be more present with the company I keep and reciprocate the love that is given to me.
My first goal is a big one that encompasses many smaller factors. These factors ranged from eating a more balanced diet (I’m already a pretty healthy eater), move my body more, maintain healthy boundaries, and just go with the flow in general. My second goal is a big one for me, as I spend a lot of time traveling for work and pleasure, and have slowly come to realize that I have neglected to nurture my friendships in LA. Because of the nature of my work, I naturally acquire a lot of acquaintances. I had a tendency to group everyone in a box and keep them at a comfortable distance. But the reality is I have some wonderful friends that I was only giving surface time to, when they deserved much more. I determined that it was time to really start being present with them, and enjoy the city that I live in instead of always looking forward to my next escape. With these goals firmly set, my new year began last Sunday and will continue for another week. My plan during the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, was to keep my goals in the forefront of my mind as I celebrated some of the customs and traditions associated with the holiday.
On the eve of the new year, I went to work wearing the brightest colors in my wardrobe, as it is believed to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. My friends and I then met for dim sum that evening. Each item eaten has special symbolism, and we savored our dumplings especially, as they represent wealth for the coming year because they are shaped like ancient silver and gold ingots. We then went for drinks at one of my favorite lounges in LA, where my friend Tai showed up wearing a heavy snake necklace that represented the Year of the Snake that we were about to enter. We all laughed and drank and made warm toasts to friendship old and new. It was a wonderful night that left me filled with gratitude.
Another New Years tradition is to thoroughly cleanse the house in order to sweep away any ill fortune, and to make way for incoming good luck. While my awesome housekeeper Anna aided me in this task, I made my way to the farmers market to fill my home with symbols of deeper meaning such as the sunflower, which represents a good and prosperous year ahead, and oranges, mandarins and tangerines, which represent the fruits of happiness.
My last task for celebrating the Chinese New Year Highbrow Hippie style was to dress for the occasion. This proved to be the biggest roadblock for me , as the color red is preferred for clothing during this time, and I have very little red in my closet. What was a Highbrow Hippie to do? Well, find amazing red leather leggings on sale from one of my favorite stores, Beckley, and put them on prominent display.
These leggings will be in heavy rotation in the next week as I finish out the 14 day celebration by visiting with friends on both the east and west coast, and ending with back to back birthday celebrations for some of my nearest and dearest. And to all I will wish, “Gung Hay Fat Choy” and “Kung Hei Fat Choy”. Happy new year, and I hope that you will be wealthy.