Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of 2008

I am not planning a big end of the year review or a long list of New Year’s resolutions. What I do find curious is that I probably read more fiction in 2008 than in any year of my life, or at least since junior high. Somewhere along the line I stopped reading fiction. When my aunt went into assisted living a few years ago, I started reading some of the books that I planned to give to her so as not to offend her good Lutheran sensibilities. This has now morphed into me reading a 700 page fantasy novel this month, with a 800 page novel somewhere in transit to me in our library system. I averaged close to reading a novel a week, most of them much shorter.

2008 also involved a major education of my heart. I did more talks at church than any other year, which I discovered is more art than science. I also became more aware of people’s “world view,” beliefs, perspective; whatever one might call the foundation from which people’s opinions and actions spring. This is where Tai Chi came in handy. I began to be aware of people’s energy without judging it. I was more interested in learning how to “dance” with it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Snow I

For the last two months I have been reading Liuhebafa Five Character Secrets. Li Dongfeng, some time during the Yuan Dynasty, managed to write 134 wise phrases about Liuhebafa, an internal martial art, using only five Chinese characters for each, like the martial arts meet haiku.

I was thinking about that today when I was moaning about our weather forecast. Snow, snow and yet more snow: sore back; chapped face, hands, and feet; all over tired. I’m sure the martial arts masters would not have tolerated my whining. If I considered myself a martial artist, I would probably consider doing some training exercises using the snow, as if daily shoveling weren’t enough. Instead I thought about the magic of those five Chinese characters. They reminded me of acronyms.

SnowSometimes Need Observable Whimsy

I think Li Dongfeng would have liked that. I could imagine a Taoist monk catching snow flakes on his tongue as he shoveled snow.