Western & Chinese New Year Resolutions: Want vs Needs

Chinese New Year For Breast CancerBY: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos, Intuitive Life Coach, survived three breast cancers, wrote SURVIVING CANCERLAND:

Out with the snake and in with the horse. Western New Year Resolutions and Chinese New Year Celebrations go together like peanut and butter. They herald in changes filled with hope for the world and all its inhabitants. Our New Year resolutions help us focus on personal improvements while the Chinese New Year gives us insight into animal personality types that are reflected in world events, improvements and people.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2014 is Year of the Horse and it will arrive on February 4, 2014 in China Standard Time, January 31st, on Western calendars. Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival and Lunar New Year. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

The horse birth years are 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, and 2002. If you, or someone you love, were born in horse years the personality traits you display are those of being cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with your hands.

2013 was a year of the snake and a challenging time for many of us. Fortunately, the year of the Green Wood Horse promises to be better because the Green Wooden Horse is a symbol of spring and renewed life.

As a friend and I were having coffee at a café the discussion of New Year Resolutions and the difference between need and want was discussed.

“Kathy, what’s your New Year’s resolution?” the friend asked, “Mine is to give up sugar.” she continued, while shaking two packets of sugar substitute into her coffee. “I’m starting tomorrow.”

“Not to give up anything, and to put myself first,” I answered. “Then I’ll refocus on the difference between want and need in my life.”

My friend stopped stirring her coffee, peered over her sunglasses at me, and asked, “What do you mean by that?”  

The concept of care-giver first, and the difference between want and need can seem alien. I learned about these during radiation therapy ten years ago while battling breast cancer. I still see the side effects of emotional emptiness and burn-out in women who are unaware of self-care concepts.

Women are natural care-givers. Many give unconsciously and unconditionally until there is nothing left to give. Consequently, their emotional-well runs dry. Lately, I’ve see an alarming pattern in my friends during these uncertain economic times. Part of the problem is not distinguishing between wants and needs. Families have many wants, and the care-giver tries to meet them as though they are needs; a terrible burden to carry. Women become burned out from giving so much of themselves to those who want more than is available. When there is nothing left to give, the result is medication, and psychotherapy to fill the void, and dull the feeling of failure.

In part 2 of this blog posted next week, we will discuss the new shift into consciousness and self-awareness and what it means to you.
BIO: KathlKathleen O’Keefe-Kanavoseen O’Keefe-Kanavos, Intuitive Life Coach, survived three breast cancers, wrote SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing (Cypress House, Jan 2014) http://tinyurl.com/p7cjfxa websites: http://www.survivingcancerland.com & Access Your Inner Guide, Hosts Living Well Talk Radio, Cancer Q&A columnist- CapeWomenOnlineMagazine, Dream Queen columnist-Wellness Woman 40 & Beyond,Blogger for BreastCancerYoga.com, YourDreamIntrepretation.com, WakeUpWomen, PATHEOS; R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor. Represented by Steve Allen Media


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  1. helensamia says:

    Interesting post and so true… Through every illness I get very concerned to make sure everyone around me is ok!!!!


  2. Dear Amy, yes, you were reborn, as a survivor! It is always wonderful to meet a fellow survivor. Happy New Year.
    Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos


  3. Dear abouthyme, thank you for your comment. so glad the blog resonated with you.
    Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos


  4. abouthyme@aol.com says:

    Wow, that was important to me.

    Sent from my iPad



  5. Kathleen,

    I am having a difficult time putting into words what this post has meant to me. I am so appreciative of your articulation and analysis of this scenario. I went through an unfortunate series of events, the last being breast cancer. I find myself completely burnt out and in many ways a different person than I was. Still I struggle with the reasons why I am different and what to do next. I see a therapist every week and we have made great progress. My husband and I have two young adult children and the transition to a different me has been tough for some people in my life.

    Anyway thanks and Happy New Year

    Andrea Esposito Resposito@snet.net

    Sent from my iPad


    • Andrea, I too am a recent breast cancer survivor and can relate to feeling different, almost like I was reborn. I am currently reading Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen. It is geared to people who have dealt with loss through death and divorce. However, I think you could apply her advice to illness too. Good luck!


    • Dear Andrea, Thank you for your comment! Your response to my article has deeply touched me. As fellow Breast Caner survivors, we now belong to a sisterhood-club to which we did not desire membership, but thankfully, we are also forever connected through this life-changing experience. The growth required to overcome a life-crisis can leave us lacking words to describe our emotions, but know that your sisters-in-arms understand. When we look in the mirror we often do not recognize the enlightened Inner-warrior gazing back at us. I dedicated a whole chapter to this in my book SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Intuitive Aspects of Healing. I wish you and your wonderful family the best Green Wood Horse New Year ever.
      Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos



  1. […] Western & Chinese New Year Resolutions: Want vs Needs. […]


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