Bicultural Healthy Living is the ability of immigrants and refugees to bridge two cultures, the American mainstream culture and their culture of origin, into one that allows them to live healthfully and happily. By leading a bicultural healthy lifestyle, we hope that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities can find a path that allow both their Asian/Pacific islander and American culture to co-exist with the ability to use one or both cultural protective factors when needed. This blog will explore the various ways and strategies to improve the health of AAPIs and the community as a whole by living a bicultural healthy lifestyle.
Happy Lunar New Year, below is an article from Tiger’s Play Astrology to illustrate the upcoming Year of Dog would be a year of fairness and equality!!!!
VIEW—FREEDOM and FATE
Astrology, 星命家, and Geomancy, 風水, are two premier subjects of the Chinese Traditional Mantic Arts. Their development in China over the last 2,500 years continues a tradition whose history is incalculable.
Fate is the predispositions we inherit from our many past lives and Ancestors, 宗, to re-create and solidify karmic patterns. As Liu Ming once said, “Fate’s most bitter edge is the apparently ‘un-learnable’ lesson – repeated inauspicious conduct. We have all probably said: ‘I can’t believe I did that again!’ Freedom’s worthless edge is sloth. Squandering freedom is common. Most of us spend most of our time in the vagaries in between.”
Because we are a compound of patterns in flux, we have no permanent or abiding self, for a permanent self could not interact with an impermanent flux. Our Original Nature is neither fixed nor unchanging. Our nature is Freedom, the freedom of light to move within space unimpeded, creating the appearance of solidity. Our Nature is Pristine Awareness, fundamentally empty, 空, and therefore free to manifest or project an apparent “world.”
Everything that goes out returns. Everything that is compound dissolves. Everything that struggles exhausts itself.
Welcome to the Year of the Yang Earth Dog, Wù Xū 戊 戌, also known as the Mountain Dog. Be warned—we each have a unique Qì Character and Fate. Therefore, we digest the year differently. There is no “auspicious year.” The following is a rough approximation.
Yang Earth is the Dog’s Native Element, so this is a double Earth year. For the Dog, Yang Earth represents territory. The impulse of Dog Qi surveys and guards the Earth and can traverse territory quickly through explosive movement. The Dog’s keen senses cover the land and go for miles. Yang Earth represents the virtue of support, stability, solidity, and alliance.
The intensity of the past two Fire-Metal Monkey/Rooster years, characterized by passion and delusion—enlightenment and clarity, the very heart of alchemical transformation, will stabilize, harmonize, settle, and every insight garnered has the chance to gain maturity and fruition in the grounded and stable image of the Earth Dog. In the cycle of Time, the Dog manifests the Vision of the Rooster and then guards what has been created with great devotion, for better or worse, so in the Pig year we can relax and enjoy the fruition of the 12-year cycle.
The intense scrutiny of the Fire Rooster has brought us great clarity, insight, and certainty of belief. The Rooster has crowed—the Dog will now follow orders. If you have been waiting for change, action, to move forward—Earth Dog is the Time. This year presents a capacity for action, manifestation, and fruition that has not been present for quite some time. So, look deeply into the past year and ask—what have I learned about the nature of Life? What do I want from life? And most importantly—whom do I care about?
Fire and Wood are “un-manifest,” invisible, so the past four years have provided little Qi for outer or worldly accomplishment. To have accomplished “worldly” goals would have proved both exhausting and frustrating. While the past four years have lacked manifestation, they have provided a tremendous inner intensity, a journey of self-discovery and transformation, and now is the Time to bring forward that intensity in the form of our most noble aspirations and insights, all that we demand of life, not for ourselves alone, but for those we care about.
Bring forward these aspirations with caution—the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and if we do not take care, whatever certainty the Rooster has created, the Dog Year will manifest, for better or worse—war, violence, territoriality—all possible in a Dog Year! Bring forward your aspiration with the question—how can I support and empower others? In the Dog Year, power is wielded not through leadership but from behind the scenes. This year is about the cheerleading squad, not the quarterback…follow the leader, but without leaders.
The Qi Character of the Earth Dog year will bring a powerful sense of social and family value in the form of the wolf-pack. We will be prompted to nourish our sense of loyalty and re-value all our relationships. Rooster year offered great reflection in terms of the “pecking order,” social hierarchies, power structures, sexual/gender/personal identity—who are we in relation to others? The movement to dismantle oppressive power structures and condemn sexual predation have been very characteristic of a Fire Rooster year; so has been the tendency of those in power to further entrench their beliefs.
Earth Dog year will provide a wonderful opportunity for the social and political change we are seeking, not through huge public demonstrations (that was Goat year), but through the strength of personal alliance—friendship, family, partnership—small, personal, local, grassroot demonstrations of conduct—how are we to change the world if we cannot change our ourselves, our family, our neighborhood?
Overall, this is a year of fairness and equality—all controversial issues will be given their due, revolutions may be successful, politics – liberal, and political oppression – opposed. Integrity and honesty can flourish under the Dog’s just influence, that is, if we use our freedom well.
Our culture is obsessed with dogs, so Dog Qi may be the easiest for us to understand. The greatest virtues of the Dog are subordination, service, and loyalty—think Samurai. Yin behavior when faithful and devoted; Yang behavior when a fierce guardian. If you want to make the best of Dog year, work to strengthen, heal, and solidify your alliances, and do so with altruism, kindness, and inclusivity—welcome everyone into the pack—some sniffing and growling is okay; I know we are all a little guarded after the chaos of the past two years. Do as the bumper sticker says—wag more, bark less.
Dog Qi functions based on a deep and simple principal of trust. When we meet a dog (the animals) we encounter a defensive territorial stance, so we put out our hand, they sniff; we pet them, offer treats. If their human shows acceptance and lets you into their home, dogs can quickly switch from defensive to slobbering love machines. The Dog’s instinct is to protect no matter what, so it perceives everything as a potential threat to those in its territory. But at its core, Dog Qi is overwhelmingly loving. Dogs alternate from growling to rolling over and showing you their belly. They go from “I can kill you,” to “do me!”
Show up for people like your dog shows up for you. You’ve had a rough day; you walk in the door and are met with waging tails and puppy licks—how much does this brighten your day? Imagine friends like this. Who shows up for you? Who is there without you having to ask? Who values you despite your flaws and shortcomings? To whom to will you offer these virtues?
Make time for people, for family, for dinner dates and quality time, for small gestures of love and loyalty. Ease up on the judgment. Stop double-checking to see if everyone is worthy of loyalty; value yourself and all others as perfectly lovable humans as you/they are. If they turn out to be jerks, who cares; shake it off like a wet dog. You can be friendly and warm without sacrificing your boundaries. Boundaries are healthy; walls are not.
Remember a time when someone supported you without reserve—keep this feeling in your heart throughout the year and approach each situation with an open heart. Also, please make time for yourself—every Dog has in them a touch of the lone wolf. Dogs are characteristically private and enjoy solitude. Enjoy yourself, but don’t hesitate to reach out; join the pack, or you may be forced to go at it alone.
Classical Chinese Medicine associates the Dog with the Pericardium, 心包, which represents social bonding, our capacity to love and be loved. Like the Xīnbāo, the function of the Dog is to protect what is most valuable—our precious Human Heart, 仁心. The Dog exemplifies “trauma informed care.”
The past two Years have been about Mental Health, taking care of our “inner landscape.” We have been called to honor, understand, and destigmatize mental illness, to open the conversation around anxiety, depression, and the social construct called “mental illness.”
This year is about social welfare, equity, and equality. The Dog calls us to acknowledge the fact that humans are not meant to go through the world isolated or alone. The Dog loves everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, or legal documentation. In our culture, work, and social lives, we will be called to befriend, protect, and advocate for all those without support. So, speak up! Bark at injustice! Make the change, implement the policy, and stand firm at the lines that will not be crossed! In our personal lives, we will be called to nourish, heal, and process the deep traumas around our Heart, the ones that keep us from experiencing the true connection we desire. We will be called to let down our walls and let in love.
The New Year is, traditionally, a time for repentance and forgiveness, so wipe the slate clean; forgive those who’ve wronged you and let go of any judgmental Rooster Qi you’ve been holding onto—happy Dogs don’t hold grudges. The Dog’s ears and keen senses intuit and feel; they listen carefully and closely with the spirit of—how can I help?
The happy Dog is faithful, loving, loyal, caring, protective, helpful, intuitive, insightful, private, just, expansive, congenial, quiet, and calm under fire. The pathological Dog is territorial, stubborn, argumentative, spiteful, vain, rigid, stingy, critical, and frozen with anxiety.
Dog Qi most exemplifies the Buddhist Bodhisattva Ideal, so be like Guānyīn, the one who hears the cries of suffering throughout the six-realms, whose compassion is limitless.
Every harmful action I have done
May all beings remain in boundless equanimity, free from attachment and aversion!
Prepare to Celebrate the Year of the Dog
The first day of Lunar New Year is on Feb 16, 2018 and it’s fast approaching! ASQ would like to wish everyone will have a fresh start in the year of the dog!
Getting ready for the new year
Some of the Asian community members may be busy with getting ready for the Lunar New Year and thinking about a resolution for the year of the dog, ASQ has prepared a pack of lucky red envelopes which will be given to each caller who calls ASQ to inquire quit smoking materials or to complete an online enrollment to receive quit smoking service. Red symbolizes good fortune in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures, that is why red envelopes are widely used during Lunar New Year and other celebratory events.
To celebrate the year of the dog and to wish everyone will have a healthy start of the New Year, these red envelopes are given out to Chinese and Vietnamese callers from now till Feb 20. While supplies last!
Help Smokers Quit
You can assist community members or patients to make a quit attempt by making direct referrals via ASQ web-based referral website or assist them to fill out an online enrollment form by going to one of the in language forms below:
Safe Routes to School plans Winter Walk to School Day Feb. 7
Students are invited to join the Minnesota Safe Routes to School’s second annual Winter Walk to School Day Feb. 7.
“We celebrate winter in Minnesota. The cold, snow and ice are just another season and meant to be enjoyed,” said Dave Cowan, SRTS coordinator. “Walking and biking to school in winter is another way to get outside, be active and connect with your community. We encourage all Minnesota kids to put on their hats, gloves, boots and coats, and walk with a friend, class or entire school.”
Schools are invited to submit their stories and photos of their event to compete for the Golden Snow Boot Award. Last year, Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School won the award. The school dropped nearly 100 percent of their students at a community center about a mile away from the school.
“They traveled through parks and trails and noted that, in spite of the cold, they enjoyed watching the sunrise and felt it was a great community-building event,” said Cowan.
Join the Walk to School Day at Feb 7th, 2018.
Mental well-being is about your quality of life: realizing your abilities, dealing with day to day stress, have meaningful relationships, working and contributing to family and community.
About 80% of us struggle with mental wellbeing at some point, whether we have a mental illness or not. Common challenges and signs include: ▪ Lack of a sense of purpose ▪ Regularly stressed from daily pressures ▪ Lack of a good social support system ▪ Lack of housing or employment ▪ Experiencing social exclusion
Life Implications Poor mental well-being is linked with higher rates of: ▪ Injury ▪ Disability ▪ Chronic disease ▪ Job productivity ▪ Criminal justice involvement ▪ Life expectancy ▪ Lifetime Mental Illness
Culturally Important For groups that have experienced oppression, moving toward optimal mental well-being is an important goal. This struggle is fueled by historical and current collective trauma and injustice, which must be addressed to achieve mental well-being.
Tools and Tips
- Develop relationships with people who are caring, supportive, emotionally healthy and safe. This is critical at every stage of life. Join a group. Get your child a mentor. Invest in your friendships.
- Develop skills to manage stress and to engage in your world. Learn about your unique strengths and passions. Use them! Volunteer. Develop a gratitude practice, guided imagery, mindfulness, yoga, or other centering activity.
- Find hope and connection often found through community, culture, and faith is powerful. Cultivate connections that are important to you.
- Connect with nature to reduce stress and improve attention. Walk outside. Play outside. Protect and expand green spaces near your home, daycare, and work.
- Sleep, exercise, and eat healthy Good choices for overall health also matters for mental well-being. Our bodies and brains are connected; our physical and mental well-being are linked.
- Organize Get active in your community. Almost every government and business decision impacts our mental well-being. Decisions can influence inclusion or availability of key mental well-being ingredients. While you’re at it, you will build and model self-determination and self-efficacy, key social and emotional health skills.
For more mental well-being resources go to MN Dept. of Health’s Mental Health Promotions (https://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/t opic/mentalhealth/).
Historical Dietary Guidance Digital Collection (HDGDC)! The HDGDC allows you to access over 900 historical posters, brochures, and other documents from as early as the 1890s that have been collected and digitized at the National Agricultural Library.