By: Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Welcome to 2020, the Chinese Year of the Rat!
The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar which is rooted in the Chinese oracle that is called the I Ching or The Book of Changes. The I Ching gave the world our binary language that powered the dawn of the computer age and made many of the technological advances of the modern world possible. The I Ching also accurately outlined patterns of change ranging from the large macro universe to the tiny microcosm of human DNA. Its predictive powers were of such importance throughout the history of China that emperors, farmers, builders, and physicians consulted the I Ching for the appropriate actions that would ensure peace and victory, an abundant harvest, and recovery from grave illnesses.
The modeling of cosmic cycles or changes in the I Ching is called The Five Phases or The Five Elements. Each year there is a dynamic interplay of elemental forces that can be seen as predictable changes in one’s personal life as well as changes in the world. These changes may upset the delicate balance in ecology, geopolitics, epidemiology, and financial markets an can have a profound impact on countless lives. In this, my annual forecast, you will find a general prediction of changes in the world and how they may affect you personally.
To have a deeper understanding of this year’s dynamics, we need to learn about the Five Elements. If you don’t know what your dominant Element is, take our quick quiz to find out what it is.
2020 is at the beginning of a new cycle and as with all new beginnings, there will be a shift in ecology, politics, and economics. This is a “Yang Metal Rat” year, and even though rats are reviled in the west, their intelligence, creativity, and industriousness are appreciated in the east. The Elements at play in 2020 are Metal and Water. In the creative cycle of the elements, Metal gives birth to Water so at first glance there appears to be energetic symbiosis but the Metal Element also represents a warrior so, with the addition of aggressive Yang energy, the imagery is that of a warrior wielding a powerful sword. The threat of aggressive fighting and confrontation will magnify as 2020 progresses and it will peak in the fall which is the season of the Metal Element.
The Water Element fails to provide solid support to the Metal Element therefore the year can be prone to water-related natural disasters like floods, rain, and storms. In addition, landslides and earthquakes may be more prevalent than usual. The lack of the Fire Element also means diminishing optimism that will shaking the confidence in both politics and financial markets, and will usher in conflict and uncertainty throughout the world.
It’s not only useful but imperative to heed the advice of the I Ching, the ancient oracle, so that we can avoid needless pitfalls and maximize positivity in all five areas of our lives: physical, emotional, relationships, finances, and career/work in 2020.
Pay special attention to vulnerability in the corresponding Metal Element organs—lungs, skin, immunity, including that of the large intestines and those of the Water Element, primarily kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, reproductive organs and the hormone, or endocrine system.
Respiratory and Immune Systems
Keep your immunity strong and prevent colds and flu since they can lead to other respiratory conditions like bronchitis or pneumonia. Simple habits like washing hands frequently and avoiding touching your nose or face, can keep microbes at bay. It may be a good idea to wear a mask on airplanes or buses to avoid to avoid highly contagious, airborne-transmissible conditions. Finally, moderate exercise at least five days per week can improve respiratory function.
Nutrition is also important; eat more cauliflower, daikon radish and pears to support the Metal Element and respiratory function that it is associated with. I also suggest taking our Immunity formula because it contains herbs that support healthy respiratory and immune system function, including honeysuckle, forsythia and burdock. I also personally take our Probiotics formula every day, because it contains 10 strains of healthy bacteria and 10 billion live organisms, that support the ability of my gut to support a strong immune response.
Kidney/Adrenals and Reproductive Systems
Stress can lead to exhaustion and adrenal fatigue so be cautious about overtaxing your endocrine system. An imbalance in the system can lead to thyroid dysfunction, infertility, and miscarriages. Also make certain to have routine screening of your reproductive organs; for women the screening often includes an annual PAP smear and ultrasound imaging of the breasts, along with the ovaries, and uterus if needed. Men should have an annual digital rectal exam or a PSA blood test to determine the health of their prostate. If your stress level is high, a 24-hour urine cortisol test can detect problems that could occur with the adrenals or pituitary.
Make certain that you get eight hours of restorative sleep every night. Eat more black beans, sesame seeds, walnut, hemp seeds, and blueberries to support your endocrine system, and take our Adrenal Support formula with adaptogenic herbs and glandular extracts to strengthen kidney and adrenal function. We also offer essential oil rollers in both Calm and Sleep formulations and you can use our Calm and/or Sleep meditation to stimulate and restore normal hormone function, as well as counteract the harmful effect of adrenal burnout. Meditation can reduce stress, and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You could also sign up for online meditation or qi gong classes or attend a tai chi class at a Tao of Wellness near you.
Metabolic health is particularly important in 2020 because the year lacks the influence of the Fire Element. A lack of metabolic fire can lead to weight gain that could result in diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Know your BMI, or Body Mass Index, to help you gauge the state of your metabolic health. Your physician can help you determine your BMI, and any of our practitioners are Tao of Wellness can determine it as well.
The Metal Element is related to sadness and the Water Element is marked by pessimism, so 2020 may be marred by both. Be careful not to let events in the past or anxiety about the future overwhelm you or make you feel helpless, apathetic, or depressed. We can’t change the past nor can we control the future, so the best option is to cultivate our presence and full attention in the here and now, which means addressing the challenges that are directly in front of us, and taking life one step at a time. In times of uncertainty, it is also helpful to be clear about your life’s purpose and that you express your purpose in every moment of every day. Remaining true to your purpose will act it as a compass to guide you through the darkest nights and stormy days. I also suggest that you read my book, Live Your Ultimate Life, in order to help you achieve a holistic understanding of who you are, and to help you uncover and confirm your mission, you’re your purpose in life.
The energetic dynamics of 2020 will tend to create suspicion, mistrust and fear between people because the Metal Element brings out the critical side of humans, who will be looking for faults and imperfections while dwelling on past offenses. That, along with distrust created by the energy of the Water Element could make it challenging to establish new relationships. Criticism and distrust cause fractures and breakups in relationships that lead to fighting, conflict, and even wars between tribes and nations.
The foundation to a good relationship is being completely authentic, and authenticity requires honesty, forthrightness, and compassion. Acknowledging your vulnerability, practicing non-judgment, and forgiving others can help you gain friends and deepen meaningful relationships. Practice gratitude, and develop an appreciation of others, and over time you will find that misgivings and mistrust from the past will simply melt away. Finally, remember that a Metal and Water Element year lacks the influence of the Fire Element, so add a dose of Fire’s cheerfulness to enhance your love of others.
I suggest that you explore tools for clear communication, that you learn how to solve the common reasons for conflict between people, and to help you overcome any trust issues you may have through my online distance learning course: Change Your Self, Change Your Life: Ultimate Relationship Health.
The Metal Element is methodical; it creates processes, and keeps systems functioning smoothly but conversely Metal’s rigidity can hamper creativity and outside-the-box thinking. Additionally, the Water Element contributes to over cautiousness which, combined with Metal Element rigidity, may lead to indecision and inflexibility in the workplace that can cause frustration, discouragement, and a loss of trust in the ability of leadership.
To ensure that you are not adding to this year’s inaction, evaluate and alter your thinking to an attitude that is more flexible, creative, and confident. By cultivating and expressing these virtues you will bring energy and a spark to your work that will help facilitate movement toward a shared vision and your own personal fulfillment. If the world around you seems conflict ridden and uncertain, your positivity, passion, and enthusiasm will uplift you and will keep you on track as you work toward achieving your dreams. This would be a good time to set aside some time to plan out ways to align your work with your purpose and passion.
I invite you to watch my video for five simple ways you can improve your workspace, increase productivity, and encourage personal fulfillment.
With Metal and Water Elements permeating every aspect of our lives, the tendency in 2020 will be to stick to what we are already familiar with, or to get stuck and do nothing at all. Financial markets in general are associated with the Fire Element, and Fire’s optimism is an essential ingredient for propelling the market forward. This year’s lack of Fire Element influence means that financial markets will probably not do well. It is probable that noise from the Bears will get louder as the Bulls will retreat. A negative economic outlook and Bearish sentiment will get worse as the year progresses, which will create a downdraft in the economy. Because of Metal Element influence, the year will be marked by conflict and the effect of trade wars will linger globally and increase the possibility of an economic slowdown. Uncertainty in the political arena will negatively impact business investments, that will in turn add to a downward spiral.
With regard to personal financial health, it’s important to have a savings plan and to practice restraint in a downward market. Work with a financial professional to assess your tolerance for risk and adjust your portfolio accordingly. The Metal Element is associated with industries like defense, gold, and banking so although they may remain level, shipping and transportation will probably continue to be negatively affected by trade wars and the economic slowdown. A lack of Earth Element energy in 2020 also presages a slowdown in real estate, although if interest rates remain low, that factor alone could buffer the downslide. One bright spot is the entertainment sector in which an abundance of media content from streaming rivalries will keep consumers entertained and engrossed.
You may want to download my financial health checklist or explore our online feng shui course for Abundance and Prosperity.
While 2020 may be marked by strong aggression, conflict, and negativity, it is up to you to manage adversity by adjusting your attitude and perspective. Rather than viewing 2020 as a cup that is half empty, look at it as a year that is half full. Be alert for opportunities in which you can add Fire Element sparkle, and bring optimism and positivity to every situation, whether in relationships, health, or work. Most importantly, cultivate your resilience so that no matter how negative circumstances may seem, you can weather the storm and chart a steady course toward the destination you have chosen for yourself.