Special Zest

Julie Yip Williams was a Vietnamese American who died recently from colon cancer at 42. She was born blind and her maternal grandmother ordered her death because she saw no worth in her, but the herbalist approached to help kill her refused. Her great grandmother intervened to protect her. When she was three her family fled in a boat and eventually got to the US. There an operation returned enough vision for her to study and qualify as a lawyer. She married and had two children. At 37 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the last four years of her life she wrote a blog addressing much of it to her children who survive her.

“You will be deprived of a mother,” she wrote. “As your mother, I wish I could protect you from the pain. But also as your mother, I want you to feel the pain, to live it, embrace it, and then learn from it. Be stronger people because of it, for you will know that you carry my strength within you. Be more compassionate people because of it; empathize with those who suffer in their own ways.”

And, she wrote, “Rejoice in life and all of its beauty because of it; live with special zest.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/22/obituaries/julie-yip-williams-dies-writer-of-candid-blog-on-cancer.htmland zeal for me.”


New Year kintsugi


‘In Zen aesthetics, the broken pieces of an accidentally-smashed pot should be carefully picked up, reassembled and then glued together with lacquer inflected with a very luxuriant gold powder. There should be no attempt to disguise the damage, the point is to render the fault-lines beautiful and strong. The precious veins of gold are there to emphasise that breaks have a philosophically-rich merit all of their own. ‘

This is referred to as  ‘kintsugi’.

Think of someone who has experienced great difficulty and challanges in 2016 and has worked to mend or recover from the experience. Feel compassion for them. Consider the many other people who experienced similar challenges in 2016. Be compassionate to them. Consider the challenges you have experienced and have endeavoured to recover from in 2016. Feel compassion for yourself.


Fake it after you make it


Bruce Springsteen in talking about his life long depression of a kind also experienced by his father described that he metaphorically “puts on his father’s clothes” to perform. His father had put on his workman clothes to engage in life despite his struggle with depression. So too Springsteen got on stage as an conscious effort to engage despite how he felt. People often say fake it till you make it, but Springsteen faked it even after he made it as a rock star. He said “The performers who we think are wrestling with something significant are the ones that hold our attention,”. The struggle he made to perform when depressed created a transcendence that was discerned by the audience and helped to make him and keep him a rock star.


Living before the bus hits


Julianna Margulies said when leaving her established role in the TV program ER that
“I was under no illusion that I was going to be some big movie star. My dad said, ‘If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, were you living your life truthfully, or were you waiting to get rich?’ If I died and my soul started leaving my body, would I be looking down going, ‘You idiot. You could have gone to Prague, you could have been on Broadway’? Those are the things I wanted to do.”
So she left the series and later starred in ‘The Good Wife’.
Sometimes change, even from something that is very comfortable, is nevertheless needed


Leonard Cohen – a flawed first performance.

From Judy Collins autobiography

‘I suggested he make his debut and sing in public, but he was terribly shy.I knew once he got over his fear, he would be powerful on stage. I was going to appear at a concert for Sane against the Vietnam War at Town Hall, on April 30, 1967. I asked Leonard if he would sing Suzanne there.

“I can’t do it, Judy, I would die from embarrassment.”

“Leonard, you are a great writer and a fine singer, people want to hear you.” He finally agreed, reluctantly.

When I introduced him, he walked onto the stage hesitantly, his guitar slung across his hips, and from the wings I could see his legs shaking inside his trousers. He began Suzanne, with the hushed audience leaning forward in their seats; he got halfway through the first verse and stopped.

“I can’t go on,” he said, and left the stage, while the audience clapped and shouted, calling for him to come back. “We love you, you’re great!” Their voices followed him backstage, where he stood with his head on my shoulder, my arms around him.

“I can’t do it, I can’t go back.” He smiled his handsome smile. He looked about ten years old. His mouth drew down at the sides, he started to untangle himself from his guitar strap. I stopped him, touching him on the shoulder.

“But you will,” I said. He shook himself and drew his body up and put his shoulders back, smiled again, and walked back onto the stage. He finished Suzanne, and the audience went wild. He has been giving concerts ever since.’

His first performance was flawed and many (including him) criticize his voice. But nevertheless he has inspired millions with his poetic music. He passed away yesterday again showing the impermanence of everything.


Worry Ducks

worry ducksThese are Christmas worry ducks. You know how ducks are good at clucking around sharing worries. Well these are your personal worry ducks. Just down load the photo then each day tell your worries to the ducks. Imagine them clucking in sympathy and then leave your worries for them to deal with. Take a break and have a good time. Let the ducks do the worrying.