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Complementary Corner

2011 – The Meaning of the Year of the Rabbit

Renee Lehman

What do the following words have in common? Civility, Graciousness, Courtesy, and Respect. They have been used frequently in personal and public conversation about the "state of harshness" (rudeness, unkindness, impoliteness, and disrespect) in our society. What is happening?

When speaking of the balance of energy in the world, there has and always will be an ebb and flow between hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, war and peace, and turbulence and calm. This is like the constant movement between Yin and Yang. For instance, dropping a stone in a calm pool of water will simultaneously raise waves and lower troughs between them, and this alternation of high and low points in the water will radiate outward until the movement dissipates and the pool is calm once more. Yin and Yang are thus always opposite and equal qualities. Further, whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality: for example, grain that reaches its full height in summer (maximum Yang) will produce seeds and die back in winter (maximum Yin) in an endless cycle. Thus, we are moving from a height of "harshness" (more Yang) and are being called and reminded to return to a state of "gentleness" (more Yin).

What a perfect time for the Chinese New Year to begin on February 3, 2011 to be the Year of the Rabbit! How did the universe know? So what does the Year of the Rabbit mean? First, a little history on the Chinese Calendar.

Chinese Calendar History

The Chinese calendar was originated by the Yellow Emperor Huang Ti, and has been in use for centuries. The Chinese calendar is called a lunar calendar, but is really a calendar based on the moon and the sun. The Gregorian calendar, which the world uses today (originated 430 years ago) is a solar calendar.

The Twelve Animals of the Chinese Calendar

The Chinese calendar is made of five, twelve-year cycles. Each of the twelve years of the Chinese calendar is appointed one of the following 12 animal’s names (in this order): rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, fowl, dog, and pig. The animal that rules the year of your birth is said to exercise a major influence over your life, and that year in general. Much of the information used for this article is taken from The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora and Laura Lau, 2007.

The Rabbit

I am in tune with the pulse of the universe.
In my quiet and solitude I hear the melodies of the soul.
I float above commonplace dissent and decay.
I subdue by my ability to conform.
I color my world in delicate pastel hues.
I epitomize harmony and inner peace.
(Lau & Lau, 2007)

Rabbit Personality

A person born in the year of the Rabbit is considered sympathetic. They know how to comfort others, and will patiently listen to them. They are realists. They cannot bear people who like to criticize others and people with bad tempers. They will not venture forth with you into strange places even if you are their best friend. They will help any friend who is in trouble if it is within their power. But if you hurt them they will leave you quickly and in a friendly way.

The Rabbit is someone who is the soul of graciousness, good manners, sound counsel, kindness, and is sensitivity to beauty. The Rabbit embodies soft-spokenness and elegance, and will rarely use harsh words or foul language to make a point. The Rabbit will lead a tranquil life since s/he will opt for a peaceful and congenial environment. The Rabbit earnestly believes it costs people nothing to be nice to each other, and will make every effort to be civil, even to his/her own worst enemy. The Rabbit hates fighting and any form of blatant animosity or belligerence.

Even with the docile appearance of the Rabbit, s/he often possesses a strong will and self-assurance. Also, despite all of the above positive characteristics, the Rabbit hates over-involvement, and can be overly sensitive.

General Predictions for The Year of the Rabbit

Most Rabbit years are quiet, tranquil, peaceful (or at least a respite from conflict or war), positive, and inspiring. In 2011 the emphasis is on family, diplomacy, keeping the peace, and personal development. A renewed appreciation of loved ones and friends is expected to occur this year.

Overall, it should be a fun and relatively peaceful year. Even though aggression, violence and war zones will occur, the Chinese Year of the Rabbit favors peaceful solutions and diplomacy, so there will be a feeling that all is not lost and that hope is still very much alive. Therefore, 2011 is likely to be a relatively calmer one than 2010 both on the personal and world level.

Words to Live By in the Year of the Rabbit

  • An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. (Mahatma Gandhi)
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)
  • You must be the change you want to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)
  • But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:17-18)
  • We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. (Anais Nin)
  • Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)
  • So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. (Mathew 7:12)

Do any of these resonate with you? If so, write it down and place it somewhere you see it every day. Use it to help you be more compassionate, gentle, and courteous this year.

Finally, as we move into the Year of the Rabbit, I ask you to think about one of my favorite quotations:

  • Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.
  • Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
  • Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
  • Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.

(Author Unknown)



Renee Lehman is a licensed acu¬puncturist and physical therapist with over 20 years of health care ex¬perience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA. She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

Read other article on well being by Renee Lehman