On Friday, January 19th, the last of the 24 seasonal cycles of the Chinese seasonal calendar begins. This cycle, Major Cold (Dahan), coincides with the coldest part of the year and signals the end of winter. Over the next two weeks, nature will reveal her coldest face, and then slowly, the temperature will stabilize and gradually increase as spring begins.
In the last cycle, Minor Cold, we “pushed” through resistance and hardship by harnessing steely determination and perseverance. During Major Cold, as we encounter the coldest part of the year, a new theme emerges: endings. The wisdom precipitated by Major Cold is distinct from the wisdom of Minor Cold, it is the wisdom of letting go.
Picture yourself at the gym working out with free weights. You lift thirty pounds. Easy, no problem. Sixty pounds. Harder but you manage. Eighty. You struggle, push with all your strength, and finally succeed! How about trying to lift a thousand pounds? No way. The word that comes to mind is “impossible.”
Some challenges are difficult but manageable while others are clearly impossible—like lifting a ton when you can barely clear eighty pounds. Hard challenges can be overcome through perseverance and hard work. But "impossible" situations are not going to be resolved— regardless of how hard you push. So what should you do when you are confronted by the impossible? Realize that you have reached a dead end. Stop pushing. Let go. Walk away.
Try this: With your arm to your side push the back of your hand against a wall for about thirty seconds. Push the wall away, and then let go. Your arm will feel very light and rise up almost effortlessly. During Major Cold, you are invited to identify those immovable walls in your life you are pushing up against and to stop pressing. The time has come to release the unworkable. When you do, your spirit will feel lighter and you’ll be happier. The year is about to end. Let it slip away peacefully and carry with it impossible dead-end scenarios that are clogging up your life. Trust that springtime lies around the corner and that new possibilities will soon be revealed.
Practicing the Major Cold empowerment on Friday, January 19th between 10:08 PM EST and 12:08 AM EST will enhance your ability to accept endings and release unattainable goals. (Remember to adjust for the time difference if you live in another time zone.) The Major Cold seasonal cycle lasts until Saturday, February 3rd at 4:28 PM EST when spring begins. Until then, meditate on this: sometimes, the hardest decisions to make are the easiest ones to live with.