Hey, Baby, what’s your sign?

Have you been fortunate to catch a glimpse of the moon these last two nights? She was so full and bright, I didn’t need a flashlight for the early morning and late evening tours outside with Kermit the Dog! The owl and the coyotes outside the back window have also been commenting on her more than usual.

In other news: phew—it’s been a week, and it felt good to acknowledge it to my friend and traditional Asian healing practitioner Melea yesterday, who mentioned that she’s been hearing a lot of her acupuncture clients report similar feelings of frustration these days.

It turns out that turmoil—both on a personal and a global scale—is not uncommon as we head toward the end of a Chinese zodiac cycle of 12 years. That’s right! We’re back to the Year of the Rat on January 25, 2020, so hustle off to your local Chinese buffet and check out what the placemat predicts for you in 2020.

am i a snake?

I was endlessly fascinated by those placemats when I was young—and given that I grew up in a small town in Vermont, I didn’t get to see them so often! I wonder now if it wasn’t my first exposure to a sort of personality typing system such as Myers-Briggs, DISC, Enneagram, etc.

I grew up thinking I was born in the year of the snake. Really? Who in the West thinks that’s a good thing? Well, just so you know, in China snakes are called “Little Dragons,” so there.

Early in our relationship, my husband—who is from China—pointed out that my birthday falls so early in January that I would fall under the previous year, so I’m really a dragon! Much cooler, right?

And now that’s got me thinking: as useful as typing systems (and zodiac signs) can be, their danger is that they can also stick us in a category or way of being we begin to associate with our essential selves: I’m a snake, I’m a Capricorn, I’m a 9 on the Enneagram, I’m an INFJ, so I’ll always be this way.

limitation or superpower?

Knowing your signs and/or types can be instructive. One of our children had a very wise preschool teacher who told us early on that our preschooler was an introvert and would behave much better at home if given some time after school to be alone and recharge. I bless that teacher regularly for saving us a lot of battles in the long run!

As an adolescent, this same child did a class presentation based on the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking and discovered that while “being shy” can be considered a liability, being an introvert is actually to possess a superpower.

When I took the Myers-Briggs test as a mature adult, I scored very differently from when I was younger. (Okay, yes, I’m still pretty far to the J side of the P-J scale, but not the 98% (!!!) I scored the first time around.)

The lessons for us all? Knowing your sign and/or type can make you stuck or can empower you—and since there is a margin of error involved in personality typing (probably more so than in zodiac signs) and you are constantly evolving, treat those designations with a healthy dose of critical thinking.

make the connection

What does all this have to do with health coaching?

As a health coach, I support clients in examining not just what they put in their mouths but their relationship with food: Is food a reward? Is it a punishment? Do they live to eat or eat to live? Do they limit themselves to a particular eating style, and why?

Most importantly, we look at whether the way they are eating supports their best health or detracts from it: what our bodies ask for changes over time, and ways of eating that served us when we were 20 often don’t serve us (at all or as well) when we’re 40+, but we label ourselves as carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, etc., so we don’t give ourselves permission to experiment.

I’ve found this is particularly true if we fall into an extreme eating style—meaning that our diet becomes our religion, one that we force on others with the conviction of a zealot. (You know who you are—please check yourself!)

ready to experiment?

If you live in the Ann Arbor area and are considering some experimenting with your eating style in 2020, please join me in January for a FREE kitchen coaching series, a collaboration with Sweetwaters Coffee + Tea inside the Meijer at Ann Arbor Saline Road. Kristen Jackson and her crew not only offer some delicious refreshments there—they are very intentionally building community by hosting a variety of events.

At noon every Sunday in January, we’ll be offering a workshop, a grocery store tour, and a Q+A followed by open “office hours” at 1pm—curious about your own situation and/or about how a health coach can help? Drop in and see me!

The workshop themes are as follows:

  • January 5 | What’s the best way to eat? (It’s a trick question)
  • January 12 | Label Reading 101
  • January 19 | Going (more) plant-based
  • January 26 | Thriving Without Certain Foods (gluten, dairy, sugar…)

Join me and Kristen in January!