Bear's Blog

New Year's card-rabbit parent and child silhouette and Mt. Fuji and the first sunrise

Tiger into Rabbit?

Jan 26, 2023

Chinese New Year started out with a bang - especially here in the United States. Another mass shooting has overshadowed what should have been an extra special celebration; the first year since California declared Chinese New Year an official holiday.

I believe anyone who commits a mass shooting is mentally ill. Most people are truly good at heart, trying their best to be a positive presence in the world. I was - and still am - looking forward to the peaceful, hopeful and prosperous rein of the Rabbit.

After a fierce Tiger year, we could all use a breather. This year is notably special because in the Year of the Water Rabbit all the elements are Yin, or Receptive, and gentle in nature. It’s something to aspire to; being kind in our thoughts and deeds, both in how we care for ourselves and others. It’s a challenge because American culture is notably an aggressive one.

In all of the industrialized world, we alone seem to have an epidemic of gun violence. Maybe our attachment to guns comes from the bloody Revolution that birthed this country. Whatever the reason, the impulse to settle our differences violently has been fueled lately by misinformation, partisanship and the politicians who use fear to fundraise.

The national discourse is such that most of us, hearing about the latest mass shooting, assumed it was a hate crime targeted at Asians. That assumption alone shows how much misguided hatred has been channeled onto an innocent target. Any grievance, no matter how big or small, is often acted upon with killing vengeance. Is feeling safe at work, at school, shopping, enjoying a concert or dance hall, in a parade or community celebration, a luxury? When and how will this stop?

Kids crying for help falls on deaf ears. Grieving communities calling for help makes no difference. Responsible gun owners need to stand up to the gun lobby that makes any progress on common sense legislation impossible. Call it what you want, but the gun violence in America IS out of control. Steps are needed to get weapons of war off the streets, for our security and that of our police (peace!) officers.

As always for me the question is simple - love or hate? What kind of a world do you want to live in? None of us are perfectly realized, but a genuine effort (even if inconsistent!) is enough to offer. My best proactive effort is a daily Tonglen practice. Call it prayer, mediation or a blessing; even our subtle efforts affect the greater field, and the souls that inhabit it.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I had to get this “off my chest” because my heart is heavy. Let’s go with the empathetic, patient - but also quick to respond - Water Rabbit. Rabbits are very social animals. I had a house rabbit who became fearful and unhappy when I got a puppy.  I gave her to a woman with 3 house rabbits, and she flourished! “Violet” literally doubled her weight and became the alpha rabbit. Now I will always learn how to best “keep” a pet, if at all.

True love is to allow others the freedom to flourish.

Peace, love and healing -

Bear

PS. - Since I wrote this on Monday there was yet another mass shooting. In the most recent data, the #1 cause of death for children in the U.S. was firearms. The survivors of these tragedies are deeply affected, and we all suffer from second-hand trauma as well. 

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