Kendo’s Healing Message for February

At the New Year, Kendo recommends that we employ the metaphor of welcoming the first sunrise of the year, and strongly associating ourselves the healing, strength, and positive new beginnings that it symbolises. Perhaps more practical than ‘New Year Resolutions’ which may become irksome to maintain, resolving to be generally stronger, better, and more positive has broader applicability, and is more forgiving if we occasionally back-slide! If we do, we can simply renew our aspirational vows.

After a few weeks, we begin to feel familiar with a New Year, and by this time, it may feel like pretty much any old year – it’s still bitingly cold outside, our usual struggles continue to confront us, and we’re only half-way to the Spring Solstice – the optimism of the New Year can by now have begun to seem somewhat remote…

However, Kendo would remind us of a charming Japanese ritual which takes place at the beginning of February, called ‘Setsubun’. The aim of this fun tradition is to banish ‘evil’ and welcome good furtune, and it’s practised by throwing roasted soy-beans out of the front door! The ‘evil’ can comprise anything negative, such as negative thoughts, ill-health, and any kind of misfortune, and it goes without saying that any kind of good fortune is welcome!

Kendo points out that it’s not actually necessary to start throwing beans about (though it sounds hilarious!), but even entertaining the image is an excellent reminder of the positivity we embraced at the New Year, and our affirmation of ‘new leaf’ determination to be better from that moment onwards.

So, if things are starting to seem like ‘same-old, same-old’ drudgery, if you’re fed-up with the cold and grey weather, and if optimism is feeling a little scarce, Kendo recommends that we remind ourselves of our New Year optimism and aspiration, by imagining ourselves hurling handfuls of beans out through our front doors, knowing that they take that all our negativity with them, and that in its stead, good fortune will flood inwards and surround us…

The Japanese take the symbolism of the tradition seriously, but they also have huge fun practising Setsubun, and even if it’s hard for us in the West to accept that a bean can actually carry ‘evil’ away, the hilarity of the mental image is healing in and of itself – this might be an argument for practising it regularly during the year!

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