Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy New Year!

Yahoo! Avatars

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
— Edith Lovejoy Pierce (via Whiskey River)

“Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.”
— Thomas Mann

“New Year’s Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”
— James Agate

The uncarved block


The new year comes to us like an uncarved block — we do not know as yet what we will create from it. There are limitless possibilities — I hope you will embrace your new year with compassion and substance…

Know the masculine,
but keep to the feminine:
and become a watershed to the world.
If you embrace the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you become as a little child.

Know the white,
yet keep to the black:
be a model for the world.
If you are a model for the world,
the Tao inside you will strengthen
and you will return whole to your eternal beginning.

Know the honorable,
but do not shun the disgraced:
embracing the world as it is.
If you embrace the world with compassion,
then your virtue will return you to the uncarved block.

The block of wood is carved into utensils
by carving void into the wood.
The Master uses the utensils, yet prefers to keep to the block
because of its limitless possibilities.
Great works do not involve discarding substance.

– Tao Te Ching, 28


Leah at Creative Every Day has given us a great theme for the first month of the Creative Every Day 2009 Challenge — Play!!

Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.
-Lucia Capocchione

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
— George Bernard Shaw

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”
— Arnold Toynbee

“If I get to pick what I want to do, then it’s play…if someone else tells me that I have to do it, then it’s work.” — Patricia Nourot


Resources (originally posted April 29, 2005)

I originally wrote this in 2005, as I was starting to become involved in politics. Many of us saw the economic crisis coming, and have been working for some time now to create the changes that began this year with Obama’s election. We all know we have a lot of work left to do, that next year will be a busy one of restructuring so much of what has gone wrong in the last eight years. In looking back through my posts, wondering how we will accomplish all that we need to now, I found this post, which reminded me that we do have the resources we need to create change within us already.

Use a mirror in difficult times:
You will see both cause and resolution.

When faced with adversity, you must ask whether you have done anything to bring misfortune upon yourself. If the present difficulties are the unforeseen outcome of events that you yourself set in motion, then it is necessary both to learn from your mistakes and to search for any possible way to correct them. If the difficulties are due to character flaws, then the situation should be resolved, and the basic fault must afterwards be eradicated.

The wonderful part of all this is that the resources for resolving our problems are also within us. When we watch athletes in competition and they outperform even their own high standards, we often say that they reached down deep and were able to give something extraordinary. When we are in the midst of our own confrontations, we must be the same way. We need to reach deep within and use the utmost of our abilities to overcome our obstacles. This is one manifestation of our continuing efforts at self-development.

When confronted with problems, we have all the more power to respond. When we triumph, we have even more confidence and facility to handle future problems. Therefore, meet life head on. Maintain your self-cultivation, move forth to confront difficulties, and accumulate the momentum that success with give you.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

My biggest problem today is that I’m extremely tired. What I did to bring this misfortune on myself was stay up late last night playing with my new Powerbook… but it was fun!

Ah, so much new stuff to learn – makes me happy! So far, I am able to play music I’ve downloaded and imported… well, I’ll learn to do more stuff, really…

I love the way it is ready to go out of the box, the wireless worked flawlessly, nothing has crashed, yeah!

I think we are all faced with adversity right now, or will be soon. A lot of it is of our own doing, not working hard enough to make other people see what seems so obvious to us about what has been going wrong in this country. But a lot of us have been speaking out, have been doing our bit, and we wonder if our efforts will ever pay off.

Well, looking back to my own personal history, I spent many, many years being selfish and not recognizing what other people needed in their lives. I spent a lot of time beating myself up for my mistakes, and mostly for not being able to rescue people from what I saw as their mistakes. My own meltdown and recovery pretty much taught me that you can’t rescue others, you can only work on yourself. And perhaps to some, I still seem selfish for doing that. But the difference is, I’m no longer trying to run anyone else’s life, just my own. If people want to hang out with me while I do that, great, and if not, that’s ok too. I don’t insist anymore that I “need” other people in my life. I am self-sustaining. Not that I totally support myself, but that I accept total responsibility for myself and what happens in my life. And expect others to do the same. I’m no longer dependent, codependent, or independent. I’ve become inter-dependent.

I’ve tapped into my own resources, in other words. And, to solve problems you’ve brought on yourself, that is what you need to do. It is a lesson this country is going to have to learn, soon enough. We’ll start to figure out that the Saudis can’t always provide us energy, the Chinese won’t always want to float us loans, and the rest of the world is getting tired of producing stuff for us to consume. We can’t be the kids consuming all the resources much longer. It’s time for the U.S. to grow up.

We more than pulled our own weight in the past, that’s for sure. But this generation, my generation, is a bunch of spoiled brats. The rich ones keep demanding more and more, the poor ones are resentful that their dumb luck has kept them down. The adult ones, the lucky few of us who have managed to grow up in the midst of an environment that either spoils or deprives, depending on wealth or the lack of it, are now looking for some way to restore sanity to this country.

And the answer is to use our own resources. We have plenty of them at our disposal, we’ve created many of them. The Internet is the best tool we’ve ever created, the prime accomplishment of my generation, in my opinion. We’ve made this tool to bring people together, and that is what we need to do right now. And if all bring the best of our own resources to the table, we can sort this out, undo the destructive threads that run through this country and start to reweave a new fabric for our culture, one that is more progressive, tolerant, and looks to the future instead of clinging to the old, wasteful, selfish ways of the past.

I know this is possible. I’ve done it in my own life. It’s up to us, the engineers, the techies, the people who read blogs, to work with the smart kids we’ve raised and create the new solutions we need. Many of my blog links are to the people trying to build these solutions. ALL of my blog links are to people with great ideas, great writing, and wonderful, positive messages. Well, a few are snarky just to keep me entertained. But none of them are the mean-spirited, destructive negativity of the right-wing. And they used to accuse the liberals of being negative. Hell, they’re in power, and they’re STILL yelling about everything.

It takes more than words, of course. That’s why I’ve started my MoveOn group and am getting more involved politically. I certainly don’t have much experience at this, but I’m learning. And I see other friends doing the same. So we learn, and grow, and learn more, and do more. And that is what it takes. Use the mirror, see how strong you are instead of what was wrong, and go forward.

Beware of Giant Squid


Via Squid:

Hine Mizushima, a Vancouver based illustrator/animator who makes great squid art and amazing They Might Be Giants videos, recently posted a wonderful “Beware of Giant Squid” holiday card that she made two years ago. The next time you walk by a public Christmas Tree you might think of the happy giant squid that lurks below the surface.


And here’s “A Metaphor of Love” by Dan Santat

Jonathan Coulton » I Crush Everything

I lie below, you float above
In the pretty white ships that I’ve been dreaming of
And I’d like to swim beside you
Getting dizzy in your wake
Getting close enough to touch you
Getting brave enough to take you into my arms
And bring you down to be with me

But I can’t do that thing anymore
I can’t be the thing I was before
Maybe I am better off alone
Because I crush everything
And I crush everything
And I crush everything

Shan Jang

Those who seek mentoring, will rule the great expanse under heaven.
Those who boast that they are greater than others, will fall short.
Those who are willing to learn from others, become greater.
Those who are ego-involved, will be humbled and made small, –Shu Ching

The passing of the throne by the sovereign to a virtuous and competent successor was known in early democratic Chinese history as “Shan Jang”. Literally it means, “the enlightened stepping aside to create room in the center for the next deserving person to step in and take charge”.

— Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch, Tao Mentoring

I need to do some stepping aside and am finding it a bit difficult today. It’s not easy to pass along a tradition that has been yours to someone else, but I’m finding it necessary.

On the plus side, I won’t have to clean up after the New Year’s Eve party…

Christmas Eve

Frederic Larson, Silent Night, Mystical San Francisco

Feeling a bit of my darkness today, as Christmas Eve brings up the memories of those lost to me and mixes with the happiness of having those in my life who are with me now. I never quite know how to feel about this… but I know it is not a unique feeling this time of year. Auld lang syne, and all that.

Via Whiskey River today:

“When we imagine that our experience is unique, we may imagine ourselves particularly talented or particularly hopeless at whatever it is we’re doing. But since all of us are struggling with the same problems inherent in being human, it turns out that all those things we thought were so unique about ourselves are precisely what we have most in common.”
– Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness

There Is A Brokenness
by Rashani

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
Beyond all grief which leads to joy
And a fragility
Out of which depth emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
Too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of whose darkness we are sanctified into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable
And whole.

To all those suffering with losses this Christmas, my heart goes out to you. Those loved ones will never again join you to celebrate the holidays, but they will always be with you in your heart. Remember them with a moment of silence and then move your heart into joy, for having known them. We cannot celebrate birth and the new life brought into the world without recognizing death and knowing our light will eventually fade, and we will return to the Silence that is our real nature.

May all beings know peace.