How A Dream Can Die

There is no hexagram for loss in the I Ching. The dao resolves the inevitable ebb and flow of creation — including life and our journeys through it.

The full moon in Cancer portended letting go.

Full Moon Chinese scroll painting
Tao Lengyue (Chinese, 1894–1985)
Full Moon, 20th century
China, NY Metropolitan Museum of Art,

It is now clear that I must accept I have probably lost a part-time income I enjoyed. The institution was acquired by an investment group. Even though I hold a terminal Ph.D. degree in my field and hold advanced certifications offered by the institution, I am now deemed unqualified to teach. In a shakedown — which I tellingly wrote as shamedown on my first effort — we are being asked to take courses from our employer to keep our jobs. Pay for play.

The Signs and Markers Pile Up

Without this income, I cannot retire from my adjunct teaching. I cannot afford a home with a yard and my Doberman Pinscher in this area and become active in the sport of training. I can’t afford one anywhere, for that matter. Not now.

Even if the job re-materializes, it points out the tenuous nature of my plan in these times when the social safety net is being shredded in Washington. Without Social Security and Medicare, my means of support are limited and fragile indeed. I must keep my current employment and pray that lasts!

I need to develop some additional income streams, probably by reviving another site about fashion I started in 2008.

Health Factors Warrant Consideration

In December, I experienced a flare of a stress-related illness sparked by the goings-on in Washington. I questioned whether I have the energy to train a large dog. With a yard, it is possible. The walking and activity with my companion dog will further healthful living and minimize such flares.

But the yard is not possible. Not right now anyway.

Some people urge me to get a doctor’s note to have a small therapy dog in my apartment. I like all dogs, but it would not be even close to go to this plan D.

First, I have found no small dog that equals the noble characteristics of a Doberman. A standard poodle is a close alternative. I had one in the past.

However delightful the poodle, it does have the breed characteristics of a Doberman. I doubt that even a small standard or moyen poodle would be accepted by the condo association.

Living in a third-floor apartment, I will not be able to let the dog out in the mornings while I have coffee and meditate. The texture of my days will change in a way that having a yard would not. I want the safety net of a yard for the dog and me.

Coping with the Cancer Full Moon and Loss

Tapestry old stage pursued by hounds
1500s Tapestry, S. Netherlands, NY Met Museum, Old Stag flees from pond pursued by hounds

The Cancer full moon (January 12) was widely interpreted in astrology as a watery condition and a time when we would be asked to foresake and forego.  I am sad to let go of this dream that has energized me for the past 10 months. I am bereft at the realization I may not be able to manifest this dream for years, if at all.

Opening the I Ching, Wilhelm translation at random, I am at the Taming Power of the Small, Hsaio Ch’u (9). Strong elements are held in check by the weak. We are told that we can only persuade a tyrant — and we certainly have that imminent — by small persuasive actions. “So also an individual, when [s]he can produce no great effect in the outer world, can do nothing except refine the expression of h[er] nature in small ways” (p. 41).

And so it is.

The < ahref=;ft=grief&amp;offset=40&amp;rpp=20&amp;pos=44″>New York Metropolitan Museum of Art</a> offers this poem with the image, which seems apt:

This tapestry illustrates a poem about human frailty, in which the stag represents Man. Here, Age and her hounds Heat, Grief, Heaviness, Cold, and Anxiety, drive the stag from a lake. A French inscription may be translated:

Then Old Age mounts an all-out assault
That drives him from the lake
And unleashes upon him Pain and Doubt,
Cold and Heat, and thus brings on
Care and Trouble to seize him.
And Age with wrinkled flesh
And Heaviness make him flee
Toward Sickness, the dreaded one.