“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” ~Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

The Year of the Fire Monkey is upon us, you guys!

I, for one, am extremely excited about this year. I am also, admittedly, a little nervous.

Fire.

Monkey.

This is a potent combination of energies, if you ask me. One with the potential to stimulate some pretty important and profound change. One that will likely refuse to do what’s always been done in favor of doing something unexpected and different.

And one that asks us to be more bold in our actions, more courageous in our convictions, and more badass in our bravery.

Which:  Hells to the yes.

But also:  Crap. Time to really show up and make shit happen.

Two years ago, the Wood Horse brought similarly big, bold energy that lent itself to major transformation — if we allowed it to do so.

And some of us got a little rattled in the process. I know I did.

Last year’s Wood Sheep was a time to regroup, to refocus on family, home, and close connections. To reestablish your roots and plant the seeds of what would be next to manifest.

It was an opportunity to dust yourself off and check your footing before setting out on your next adventure.

Which (spoiler alert!) probably starts right about now.

And the Monkey is, indeed, all about adventure. The Monkey is intelligent, clever, social, engaging, and feisty. The Monkey is playful, fun, and creative.

The Monkey does what it wants and doesn’t care what anyone else has to say about it.

And as long as the Monkey keeps tabs on its temper and its tendency to grow bored and impatient, this attitude can be a key ingredient in the push toward positive change.

There are many things we can say about the upcoming year as they relate to the fire element permeating the next twelve months and the crazy monkey energy running its paintbrush over everything. We can talk about BIG moves and innovation and explosive, decisive action.

And the manifestation (finally!) of things we have spent the past two years imagining and planning and gradually building.

But I believe there’s another key aspect of this cosmological picture that is essential and deserves to be mentioned:  BOUNDARIES.

That’s right. I think this is the year to get real with our boundaries.

According to the symbology of Chinese medicine, the Monkey has a relationship with the Bladder — which is, yes, the same bladder as the one we talk about in western medicine, but is also so much more than that.

(As are all of the organs in Chinese medicine.)

Within the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey is also associated with the Metal element, the yang aspect, specifically — which correlates with the Large Intestine.

And while a full discussion of the roles played by both the Bladder and the Large Intestine within the larger framework of Chinese medicine is far beyond the scope of this article, these two organ systems do have one major commonality:

They are tasked with getting rid of what is toxic and harmful and no longer useful.

Letting go of what — literally and figuratively — weighs you the fuck down.

See also:  Setting clear boundaries between what you want to welcome into your life and what you absolutely do not want to allow in.

In acupuncture, the Bladder channel runs up and down the back, on either side of your spine, and reaches from the top of your head to the tip of your pinky toe.

It’s your backbone. It protects your blind side.

And it draws a very strong and distinct boundary between you and all the potential influences around you.

Last week, I was taught a clear and important message about boundaries and standing my ground. About actively and carefully choosing to what (and to whom) I pay attention as I go about my business in my life.

And while I’m still learning how to appropriately draw lines in the sand sometimes, say no when necessary, and just be ok with the idea that there will always, always be those who disagree with what I say and do — and sometimes even, who I am — I’m getting better at ignoring the noise and hearing what’s really important.

Which is what I think this Fire Monkey situation is asking us all to do.

Because you can’t be bold and brave and make waves in innovative ways if you’re being weighed down by unnecessary baggage.

If you’re letting other people’s opinions rob you of your convictions.

If you’re waiting for something — or someone — to grant you permission to make a move.

This Monkey wants to get a little crazy, you guys. And I say we let it.

Anchor your actions into your truth and get after it.

And maybe make some time for naps and meditation and epsom salt baths. Because staying grounded in the face of some potentially amazing chaos is going to be essential.

But also:  Keep your eyes wide open.

I think we might be in store for some seriously unexpected magic this year.

Happy New Year, everyone! I cannot wait to see what you all create.