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The Year of the Ox: 2009

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Welcome to the Chinese New Year of the Ox, which according to the Chinese lunar calendar began on January 26, 2009. Many who paid attention to my forecast last year have told me that they benefited from having avoided some of the pitfalls I warned of in my newsletter article. The system of forecasting that I have used for many years is based on the ancient Taoist energy science that looks at the dynamics of the elemental and cosmic influences. Its usefulness lies in the guidance that helps us avoid the negative impact while encouraging us to make the most out of the positive. My past predictions have proven relevant and it is my hope that in this particular time of turmoil and instability, it can be helpful to you and your family to better weather the storm. And like all storms, though destructive and fearsome, this one shall eventually pass and peace and contentment will be restored once again. The key is to cultivate your strong roots to withstand the tempest.

2009, the Year of the Ox, is represented by two elements -- double Earth. The energetic characteristic of Earth element is one of patience, harmony and charity. Like a garden, which Earth element symbolizes, hard work, persistence and patience shall yield dividends in harvest. Similarly, an ox steadily and methodically plows away in the field, producing and sharing what the earth produces with those less fortunate than us are the features of the year. My advice this year is for us to return to the basics and, literally and figuratively, reconnect and take care of our planet earth. It is a time for healing and rebuilding from natural and manmade disasters and breakdowns, and to peacefully bridge cultural, religious and political divides internationally. It will require enlightened leaders in the world to come together to accomplish the difficult tasks ahead as the financial storm and global warming have touched every part of the world and affected every person. But through cooperation, dedication and commitment there is nothing that is impossible, although we need to temper our expectation with patience.

On the health front, the earth element is represented by our digestive and metabolic systems. In 2009 pay special attention to your stomach, spleen, pancreas and intestines by reducing alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, excessive dairy intake, heavy meats and processed foods. Because we have gotten so far removed and disconnected from the sources of our food through modern agricultural techniques, factory processing and distribution that are thousands of miles away, people's health have suffered consequently with increased incidence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Look out for conditions like gastric reflux, gastritis, ulcers, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, polyps or cancers of the digestive track, diabetes, obesity or anorexia, and muscular problems. A return to earth literally means eating more wholesome foods that are locally and organically grown, like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Special emphasis should be placed on anti-oxidant-rich foods that lower your risks of cancer such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, shitake and maitake mushrooms, berries, yams, sweet potato, asparagus, beets, carrots, avocado, seaweed and increase cooking with herbs like dill, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, sage, bay, anise, fennel, cardamom, basil and coriander. Digestive enzymes and high-potency probiotics can also be added to your diet to enhance your digestive and immune functions.

On the financial front, 2009 will continue its cooling trend but with more calm and steadiness in the financial markets. There will be more pain and sacrifices as unemployment rate rises and consumers pull back on spending. The housing market will slump but should reach stability later in the year. The earth energy of the year favors agriculture, food commodities, forestry, selective property development associated with infrastructure building, earth preservation, global warming initiatives like environmental conservation, alternative energy, and "green" industry will be in favor while shipping, transportation, media, banking, and technology will slow down.

In summary, the year 2009 is back to the basics of taking care of our self, our family and our environment. Seek to resolve conflicts and promote peace and harmony among relationships. Work diligently and consistently to rebuild financially and cultivate spiritually with charitable acts and service to the less fortunate. Help restore universal values of respect, compassion, moderation, harmony and self-responsibility in our life and our communities. These are the attributes that are the basis for a happy and constructive life outlined in the books, Path of Constructive Life and Love of Mother Universe, written by my father and me. We invite you to read these and other works we've published to help you achieve your true life.

May You Live Long, Live Strong and Live Happy!

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