This Life Time

Mother’s Distress Day (I)
This Life Time

In this life time,
I wailed, most lost in emotions, twice.
Once, at the beginning of my life.
Once, at the end of your life.
The first time, I would not remember, just hearsay from you.
The second time, you would not know, it’s useless for me to say.
But in between these two times in sounds of wailing,
there were infinite laughter,
time and time again and again,
resonating exactly thirty years.
You know it all, I remember it all.

Yu Guangzhong

There was a poetry reading and piano performance to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. Inspired and deeply moved by the poet Professor Yu’s three poems on Mother’s Distress Day, the pianist Christiana Chiu-shih Lin composed and performed a beautiful piano piece.

Poetry reading and piano performance

Professor Yu is my favorite Taiwanese poet. Though he taught English and American literature, his poems are all in Chinese.Just want to share the touching poem with this translation (that may not fully convey the poet’s original Chinese words).

For Mother’s Distress Day II:World of Paradox. People celebrate births but mourn deaths. See Chuang Tzu’s quotes on life and death.

 

 

 

Real Charm over Race, Religion and Poverty

Since I read James McBride’s “The Color of Water” that touched me so much a few weeks ago, I stopped blogging and posting on social media to review my goals on peace and doing good through writing.

The Color of Water

The mother was a Jewish immigrant who was sexually abused by her own father and then disowned when she married a black man later turned pastor. She married another black man after her first husband died. Altogether she had twelve children with varying shades in skin color. They all turned out well in career and life due to her focus on their education and taking responsibilities in their upbringing.They all loved her dearly despite of her poor cooking and her having very little time to spare on each of them.

Her life of intense conflicts better illustrates the  teachings of Chuang Tzu that I have tried so hard to share on the Free Easy Mind book site, Freeasypeace blog, facebook and twitter. She just ignored any discrimination and got on with what needed to be done at the moment, providing the best examples of Chuang Tzu’s “treat the opposing as non-opposing” and the way of Zen.

Real life stories provide better insights than teachings of any kind. Though the life story of Su Shih’s conflicts, migration, love and loss or living in poverty had helped me to understand my roots in Chinese culture, tradition and mentality that I want to share with the world in the Millennium Charm book site, but the mother’s life is a better illustration.

The decapitation of a four-year-old girl near a Taipei MRT station had stirred a frenzy on local social media as well as the general media in  Taiwan from death penalties to revenge and locking up the mentally ill. Despite her grief, the mother was very sensible  and wise to state that legislation for death penalty or punishing the killer would not do any good and pleaded that netizens or the public to stop consuming her dead daughter on social media or any media. She called for all donations to be directed to charities instead of her family as well as Taiwan’s society, communities and families to work together to make random killing and violence disappear.What a strong and wise mother of charm!

I have been procrastinating on this post to wrap up my blogging until the final wake up call of the decapitated girl.Conflicts and violence affect us financially, emotionally and maybe sooner or later physically around the world. (See another post on Freeasy Peace Blog) I need to align my writing passion, bilingual competence and the real needs in the world to do good that can really make a difference and use more time and efforts more effectively.

Will stop posting and focus  on writing a novel to figure out how to do good more effectively when we don’t know what we can do to change that seems impossible for us to change. Meanwhile I will also keep my eyes open on more practical and feasible opportunities to make a difference in doing good locally or internationally as well as acquiring better knowledge on more effective social media posting and blogging.(However if I do come across a book or anything that compels me to share, I might blog once in a blue moon.)

Thanks for all your visits, likes and follows, but I will read the blogs I follow to gain better understanding of the blogosphere. May you all have freeasy peace and daily living charm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purpose as a Living Charm

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Picasso.

clowns and children patients Clown Heart and elderly woman

Pretty clowns in Taiwan
A young Taiwanese girl traveled to Italy where she attended by chance a Clown Heart training workshop and joined their tours of hospitals, psychiatric institutions and orphanages. She brought it back to Taiwan and founded  Clown Heart Studio with three others in their twenties to bring happiness for good causes such as visiting patients.Social work can be fun!

Kohama-Island

Closest to heaven pop queens from paradise

Japan’s grandma pop band is made up of  singers and dancers with an average age of 84 from the remote, coral-fringed island in Okinawa  with a population of just 600 and lies a mere 240 km off Taiwan. Okinawan islanders have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, their diet contains more vegetables and purple-fleshed local sweet potato. Their lyrics are about the island and nature such as whales in the sea spouting or dolphins doing somersaults.

In the news clips, I was drawn by the girlish giggles sounding like silver bells from the shortest granny (wearing gray striped kimono in the middle) who had lost her husband and son.

Despite their girl power, backstage walking frames block entrances, blood pressure monitors and defibrillators are close at hand. Hunched over a walking stick, one granny tosses her cane aside like a true rock star when she’s on stage, dancing with joy on traditional Okinawan string music given a Tokyo-style pop makeover.

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 Record breaking Japanese Centenarian swimmer

She started to learn swimming at the age of eighty because of knee problem and has been swimming two hours at a time and four times a week. After the swim she would sleep for five hours.She breaks the record with a 1500 meter swim in one hour and sixteen minutes.

“Now I’ve got my life, this is of great use to me” Chuang Tzu. Eco-parable of Useless Tree

I strove very hard most of my life fulfilling obligations to expectations of parents or society,caring for families or doing good for different aspired causes with less than desirable outcome. Now that I have got my life to solely pursue my passion of reading and writing for personal development, it has been of great use to me in terms of learning, fulfillment and purpose despite of unbearable personal loss or missing the marks of success or the good life by conventional standards.

Though I have not achieved much success or of much use to others in giving away the bilingual reading and writing gifts that I thought I found, I still feel my life has meaning and purpose in sharing the teachings of Chuang Tzu on conflicts and loss regardless if it has helped anyone else.

 

Jordan Queen’s Charm of Wisdom

All around the world, everyone’s heart was shattered by  the drowned Syrian child Aylan’s photo when his body was found at shore last year.

migrant-child-dead-beach-turkeyAylan's photo

It was a shock to read about the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo recently published a cartoon depicting Aylan Kurdi as an adult sexual molester relating to Germany’s New Year’s Eve unfortunate incidence.

Charlie Hebdo on Aylan as adult
I was deeply touched by Jordan Queen Rania working with Jordanian cartoonist to draw Aylan as a doctor if he had the opportunity to grow up.

Aylan's cartoon

That is an example of wisdom, charm and grace illustrating Chuang Tzu‘s “To transform opposing voices, just treat them as not opposing.” 

Queen Rania also wrote on Facebook after Charlie Hebdo attacks: “As a Muslim, it pains me when someone derides Islam and my religious beliefs. It also pains me when someone derides other religions and other people’s religious beliefs……This is not about Islam or being offended by the Charlie Hebdo magazine. This is about a handful of extremists who wanted to slaughter people for any reason and at any cost.” (from Independent http://ind.pn/1n72Vqj)

We cannot change human nature but we can change opposing voices to a more positive light, not with opposition but nonviolent communication towards a brighter future. Do what we need to do and what we can do, speak up or stand up for the innocent and voiceless abused by injustice even if we are not a queen nor can we change the nature of the world today.

Calligraphy East and West

When Isabelle brilliantly combined traditional Chinese and English in her calligraphy drafts, Thich Nhat Hahn’s English calligraphy immediately came to mind. View a video on his calligraphy meditation.

Compare the renowned Cold Meal Scroll in semi-cursive script by Su Shih (1037-1101) with his friend’s cursive calligraphy . The cursive style can be wild and illegible, but this one is more restrained.

Cold Meal Scroll  Cursive Calligraphy

Isabelle’s calligraphy is mostly semi-cursive and cursive scripts. “Running script” is the semi-cursive form and “grass script” is the cursive. The running aspect of this script has more to do with the formation and connectedness of strokes within an individual character.

After working  at the Science and Technology Division at Taipei Representative Office in Europe and UK  for many years, Isabelle Chen Chia Yu pursues her passion in Calligraphy and  Chinese painting of flowers and birds after retirement.

Isabelle and Calligraphy  Isabelle and Calligraphy 1 Isabelle's long calligraphy 1

Isabelle's long calligraphy 2

Many thanks for her support in donating six works on favorite quotes of Chuang Tzu and Su Shih for promoting their thoughts and way of life with the ebooks Free Easy Mind and Millennium Charm on Amazon for the cause of Anders Home.

We worked under the same boss many years ago when she was a librarian and myself a science editor at National Science Council in Taiwan. Ten years later we were colleagues again for a couple years when she was working on international science cooperation and myself on science policy research after a switch to marketing. It is inconceivable that our path would cross again decades later on calligraphy and writing on ancient Chinese wisdom and way of life to bridge East and West for peace.