It was wonderful to have my sister with me for 3 months, and her husband and mother-in-law for a few weeks. Their trip was delayed waiting for Australian visas, but fortunately everything worked out in the end and they were able to make their planned trips to Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef before hubby and his mother returned to China.

On the first day of the New Year, my sister, my Mum, and I dropped Wayne at his father’s farm in South Australia and then went on to visit Adelaide, Victor Harbour and Hahndorf – the perfect trip for a person like my sister who loves gardens and art galleries! We then returned to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road. While in Melbourne we were able to visit the special exhibition at the National Gallery and make several trips to the Botanical Gardens as well.

As you can imagine, she loved the koalas, which is why we decided to export one to China as a memento of her trip. You can see from the photo that this particular koala won’t have any difficulties adjusting to the Chinese environment and won’t have any difficulty with strange food and a very different climate.

As we move further into the New Year (in keeping with this month’s theme), I’ve been thinking about the importance of emotional cleansing and the link between our emotions and our health. Just like we’re not always aware that our body is clogged with toxins, so our emotions can hold us back from creating new things and new pathways.

You often hear people say, “You have to get rid of the possessions that no longer mean anything to you to make room for the things you want.” Well, the same is true of emotions. If we just shove our old, unhealthy emotions and reactions to the back of our mind they will jump out at us one day and we’ll find ourselves wondering, “Where did that come from! I haven’t reacted like that in years.”

We need to make time for emotional cleansing, to ask some hard questions like: What’s not working? What is my role in this problem? What have I contributed to this situation? How can I create a healthy response?

Emotion is good. It’s part of being human, but sometimes we allow it to continue past the point of helpfulness. The antidote to this is reflection and cleansing. I also find that acupuncture and Chinese medicine are tremendously helpful for releasing emotion. Chinese tradition says that it creates a wormhole and opens the energy flow within ourselves and between us and others.

Hóunián dàjí (Lots of luck for this Monkey Year)