Lessons of the Rat
With the Lunar New Year on January 25th, we are yet again cycling back to the first animal on the zodiac sign this year, which is the year of the rat.
For many people who are not familiar with the qualities of the rat, there may be a skepticism as to what special gifts this animal may offer. Traditionally, most people see rats as pests, and a nuisance to get rid of. However, there are many lessons we can learn from the qualities of rats and what they represent. If you were to take the time to reflect on these qualities, you can apply it to your own health and wellbeing as you move forward into the new decade.
1) Rats are conventionally misunderstood & misjudged.
Rats are considered pests, carrying harmful diseases. While true that they may inhabit unsanitary environments, they are also fastidious about their cleanliness. They groom themselves religiously throughout the day. Rats do not intentionally make people sick or harm people, they are merely just trying to survive. Tying this into your own personal life, who is a person you have misjudged recently, or what situation do you feel like you’re holding onto with feelings of angst, limitations or fear? Do you find yourself blaming this person or situation? Suspending your judgements for a moment, what has this person or situation allowed you to learn? What are you willing to take responsibility of?
2) Rats are survivors. They find ways to adapt & flourish.
Rats can navigate and scavenge in the unlikeliest of places. Despite their environment, they find ways to adapt to and thrive. The energy of the rat asks you to question yourself during times where you feel stuck: What resources do you have in your life that you can use to better yourself, whether it’s physically or mentally? And be honest with yourself, what excuses are you making up that’s keeping you in the same place? And most importantly, do your actions and choices align with your purpose in life--- your WHY? Chances are if you are feeling stuck or you’re not feeling excited about what you’re doing, then it’s time to start redefining that.
3) Rats are sociable & loving.
Rats stick together in packs. Each member serves a purpose and by working together all members can live in harmony. Majority of you lead very fast-paced lives, wearing multiple hats. It’s easy to feel like the to-do list is never ending, and every moment is back-to-back with different projects. Let the rats’ sociable and loving qualities be a reminder to celebrate with those in life, and to choose to surround yourself with people who build you up.
Finally, let Gusteau from the movie animation Ratatouille summarize the powerful rat that you are inside of you:
“You must be imaginative and strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.”
To incorporate some of these qualities into your life, here’s what you can do:
1) Start a personal journal.
On one end of your journal, go through and check in with yourself and answer some of the questions asked in the preceding paragraphs. Start to find a specific time of the day where you simply allow yourself to write down whatever comes to your mind. This is a great way for you to see how you’ve grown overtime and have a place to express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. On the opposite end of your journal, write down what you’re grateful for each day and write down quotes that inspire and resonate with you.
2) Find an accountability partner(s) and check in with each other daily.
Start by asking each other the following variations of questions. Often times, these questions spark insightful, honest, and supportive conversations. Ask each other:
• What are you grateful for today?
• What are your wins today? And what are your challenges? And how can I help?
• What was something new you learned today?
3) Develop a meditation/breathing practice.
One more quality that rats are known for is their focus and intelligence. The practice of mindful breathing and meditation is amazing in calming the nervous system and slowing the conductance of brainwaves to a state of creativity, connection to intuition, and healing. Allowing you retain better memory, learn better, and develop greater clarity in thinking.