Tao Tuesdays: Chapter 45

I got this great photo at www.hetemeel.com!
I got this great photo at www.hetemeel.com!

Who needs Taco Tuesdays when you can have Tao Tuesdays? I am sure that Einstein would have really loved this…

Here is How it Works

I will post a chapter of the Tao Te Ching each Tuesday.  (My version – you can see all of the chapters on my List of Chapters page if you want to work ahead!) I will put a Mr. Linky entry form with it so that you can write your OWN commentary to the chapter on your own blog and then come back here after you post and add your link! Simple! (Please add the DIRECT link to your post about that particular chapter to make it easy for our readers!)

I Ching: Hexagram #4 – Youth

 

Boy_Cooking

 

Meng / Youth

Hexagram #4 I Ching(Hexagram image from Wikipedia)

The trigrams of this hexagram are Mountain (top three lines) over Water (bottom three lines). The mountain represents the wisdom of age, the water at the base of the mountain represents youth. Water (youth) tends to go in all directions and doesn’t really have a set path. Mountains tend to be very unmoving as we adults often are. Water is fluid. This fluidity is crucial for mankind to evolve out of our old set patterns that may not serve us anymore. Mountains are strong and have the wisdom of experience. Mountains are able to guide the water in directions that have proved effective over time.

This hexagram addresses both the student and the teacher. It is suggesting an ideal balance for learning. This is the first time that the I Ching speaks in the first person for the guidance. The I Ching wants us to be sincere in our quest for understanding this ancient text. Don’t keep asking the same questions if you aren’t going to listen to the answer. After three attempts to guide someone, the I Ching gives up.

This hexagrams reminds me of my role as a parent. Sometimes it seems that my daughter asks questions just for the sake of asking questions and is not really concerned with my answers. Sometimes she will not like my answer and seek guidance elsewhere. If she is asking me a question, shouldn’t she be listening to my answer? Parents everywhere struggle from this – it is a timeless battle.

The I Ching reminds us to ask for help from someone who is more experienced. It is OK to not always have the answer. If we consult a teacher with a sincere desire to learn, it will help us a great deal. But if you do ask for help, listen to the advice. Don’t ask again and again until you find the answer you want.

I can relate to the youth in this hexagram. I have never been one to simply accept an answer without letting it percolate and see how it sits with me. I think one of the challenges of youth is to decide which parts of your parent’s set of beliefs you want to keep and which you want to leave behind. Some religious sects would have us continue on, generation after generation, without questioning the laws that have been set before us. Our ancestors have much to teach us, but it is up to us to decide which parts of their understanding are better left behind. This is the only way for us to grow.

Our internal wisdom relies on a trust of our own heart. Our body responds to truth in a visceral way. We know it when we feel it.

As the teacher, the I Ching suggests that it is better not to force your teachings onto people. Let people come to you. If someone has a question, they should come to you. You don’t need to work to teach people things. People will learn when the time is right for them to do so. Perhaps that is why my daughter doesn’t listen! ;)

In each hexagram, there are six lines. The lines have their own story, so it is important when you are doing a reading for yourself, it is important to figure out which lines are changing for you and which ones are relevant. When you have a changing line, you want to focus on that for specific guidance. In the story related to this hexagram, whether you are in the teacher or student role, above all be respectful. Keep in mind, above all, respect for humankind.  Be patient with others. Be patient with yourself. Sometimes bad choices are made simply from lack of patience. If you are able to wait for the perfect circumstances, it will save you a lot of grief.

If you are teaching someone, you need to be patient.  Not everyone knows as much as you about your favorite topic. There are always going to be people who know more and less than you about any given topic. We are all teachers and students for each other. We are all both. Both roles are important to recognize.

Tao Tuesdays: Chapter 44

I got this great photo at www.hetemeel.com!
I got this great photo at www.hetemeel.com!

Who needs Taco Tuesdays when you can have Tao Tuesdays? I am sure that Einstein would have really loved this…

Here is How it Works

I will post a chapter of the Tao Te Ching each Tuesday.  (My version – you can see all of the chapters on my List of Chapters page if you want to work ahead!) I will put a Mr. Linky entry form with it so that you can write your OWN commentary to the chapter on your own blog and then come back here after you post and add your link! Simple! (Please add the DIRECT link to your post about that particular chapter to make it easy for our readers!)

I Ching: Hexagram #3 – Sprouting

Magnolia

 

Sprouting

This third hexagram is called “Chun” or “Tun”. It means “sprouting” or “difficulty at the beginning”.  As with all of the hexagrams, where you stand in relationship to this energetic pattern depends on the lines that you are shown. Each line produces a variation in the storyline. For these posts, I will not go into the details of each line but stick to the meaning that is generally held about each hexagram. If you are intrigued about learning more, I will post the resources that I use at the bottom of each post so you can try your own I Ching readings and see for yourself.

OLW 2014: Feb/Mar Update

I wanted to take a moment and update you on my One Little Word (OLW) project…

OLW_Nature_Feb_Review_500
I missed February’s update. I did it, just not on my blog. In February, we were asked to create some action items to make our word more concrete. My word for this year is NATURE, so my action items were:

 

  • Study the I Ching
    OLW_Action_Item_I_Ching_500

    Nothing says NATURE better than the I Ching. Well, perhaps a patch of woods does, but the I Ching comes close. My action item for this year around the I Ching is to try and read a bit of the I Ching every day. February was a bit of a blur to me, but I have started doing this the last few weeks. Another part of this goal is doing regular I Ching readings for myself. I have done a few, but would definitely like to do more.

  • No More Plastic Bags 

    OLW_Action_Item_Bags_500My second action item was to stop bringing home those crazy plastic bags. They are so ubiquitous…

     

    Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.08.31 AM

    Since making this action item, I have been busy with this one. I even got some little netting bags so that I can purchase produce and keep it together in a little bag while I shop without using yet another plastic bag for produce. I started carrying a couple of used plastic bags in my purse, just in case I forget to bring our recycle bags in from the car. I still forget to bring them sometimes, but rarely does it get by me anymore. I went to the store the other day with Eric and had run back to grab a last minute item. When I had returned, everything was already bagged – in plastic. Sigh. When I got home, I realized that they had even put my little individual salad dressing (from the salad bar) in its OWN plastic bag. Double sigh. I know that they mean well, but this whole plastic bag thing is so pervasive once you start looking at it. Wow. They are on the freeways, in the trees, on the streets, in the bushes. Everywhere. Can’t we just be done with them?

  • Walk more 

    OLW_Action_Item_Walking_500This one was a latecomer. I put it down in my little OLW Nature book as an action item in February but then didn’t do it, until recently. It finally got nice enough outside to walk safely. The snow is melting! My friend Miriam is walking across the country and my sister Kim and I were going to walk with her for a bit, but that is looking doubtful at this point. Still, it made me realize that I want walking to be part of my life. It gets me outside, it gets my blood pumping, it gets me noticing my neighborhood and it slows me down. I love walking. I got myself some really nice walking shoes. This last week, I started walking to the gym after work. I sort of gave up on walking to work for now, after slipping on the ice one morning and hurting my knee. I decided that walking to work will have to wait until winter is COMPLETELY gone. (A watched pot never boils, right?) RIGHT. I won’t go digress into my winter tirade… grr. But it has felt good to walk. Even just a bit. I found some websites on trails in MN and even some walking groups. I spoke to some women at work who are doing big walks for charities and thought I might join them sometimes in their practice walk. We have a lot of great trails around here so that would be nice.

  • Grow my own veggies 

    OLW_Action_Item_Veggies_500Too early to tell for this one, but I did ask my sister Jackie about this one. She is a good gardener and always inspires me. I asked her what I could grow that would be easy. She suggested growing some stuff in pots out on my deck. I love that idea. It will get me out on the deck more and is easy access for the kitchen. I am thinking of starting very small, like just tomatoes and spinach or something like that. Too early to do too much on that front yet. Wait until the snow is gone. I could start some seeds in the house, but I never have much luck with those. I don’t know.

March Update

 

So that was our February challenge – to create some action items. For March, our challenge was to create a vision board of our word and this is what I did… (click on image to see it full size).

OLW_Nature_Vision_Board_500

 

 

Scattered Life Collective: April 4th

scattered_life_collective

This post was inspired by a blogging adventure  called Scattered Life Collective by Cynthia Lee. It’s a great series and I hope that you will check out the rest of the participants and perhaps even join us!
——-

current time: 7:48 AM, Friday, as I post this.

on the menu:  Hunan Tofu with veggie eggs rolls from the Asian Bistro. Eric and I used to go there a lot when I was working from home, but we just haven’t been going as much and I missed it. So I called up Theresa and she knew what I wanted and then I picked it up on my lunch hour.  It is so much food that it lasts me for two meals. Gotta love that!

Tao Tuesdays Chapter 43

I got this great photo at www.hetemeel.com!
I got this great photo at www.hetemeel.com!

Who needs Taco Tuesdays when you can have Tao Tuesdays? I am sure that Einstein would have really loved this…

Here is How it Works

I will post a chapter of the Tao Te Ching each Tuesday.  (My version – you can see all of the chapters on my List of Chapters page if you want to work ahead!) I will put a Mr. Linky entry form with it so that you can write your OWN commentary to the chapter on your own blog and then come back here after you post and add your link! Simple! (Please add the DIRECT link to your post about that particular chapter to make it easy for our readers!)

Our Trip to Puerto Rico

Thought I would take a moment today and share our latest vacation with you.

Puerto Rico is an absolutely GORGEOUS place.

 

Jungle

I have been to Maui and I actually preferred Puerto Rico for its beauty (and other things). During our brief week there, we saw a tropical rainforest, walked through one of the largest caves in the world, ate some pig off a spit, got lost, snorkeled, saw monkeys, circled the island in our rental car, had a car breakdown (almost) and then quickly replaced with another better one, got stuck in multiple traffic jams, got sunburned, saw some old forts that were actually pretty cool and spent a day and a half out of the sun (on the last two days). We also got to practice our Spanish, which was fun. We found that people would generally speak English to us every time we attempted Spanish. The people were SUPER nice to us everywhere we went.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

The Pork Highway

 

We ate dinner on the “Pork Highway”. Although we got a first-hand understanding of ordering food when the cashier does not speak a lick of English (and we were pretty uneducated on how to order lechon in Spanish), we did manage to get ourselves some fresh pork from a spit-roasted pig, which is what the “lechoneros” are all about. The Pork Highway is called that because it is a narrow mountain road with little food shacks about every 50 yards or so, each unique but the collection of shacks comes alive on weekends when the locals flock up to the Pork Highway to eat fresh pork off a spit.  They also have lots of great music and dancing. We got there late, but have made plans to get their earlier next time and to practice what to order.

Colorful_Streets_of_PR

 

The first full day there, we checked out Old San Juan. I had seen photos of the colorful buildings but it was really cool to see it in person. I missed getting a photo of the cobblestone streets, but the effect of this place is rather alluring. The streets are so narrow here that when the locals park, they turn in their rearview mirrors to prevent them from getting ripped off by passing motorists.

Yellow_Building

 

Isn’t this just a cool building?

Streets_of_San_Juan

 

There was a lot of great architecture in Old San Juan. Here are just a few of my favorite shots…

Cool_Architecture

 

 

Colorful_Building_2

Tatia

 

Here is a sweet photo of my girl. :)

Infinite_View

 

In San Cristobal fort, there were a few really cool architectural details. Loved this one!

Church_Window

I believe this little window was in Fort El Morro. Look at how thick those walls are!

Fort

 

These little turrets were all over San Cristobal. Loved them. Love that old brick.

Cool_View

 

The views from San Cristobal are stunning.  This is a peek through one of the cutouts on the roof.

Old_Brick

 

I think this was just a building in Old San Juan…

Ancient_Trees

We also visited the jungle. More specifically, the “rainforest”. El Yunque is the only official rainforest in the US Park system. These were some fallen, cut up trees. Naturalized.

Jungle_Trees

Jungle, baby!

Waterfall

After a rather long and steep hike through the jungle, we ended up here. We were clearly NOT ALONE.

Jungle

At the end of our jungle tour, we climbed a tower to get a first-hand look at the wilderness around us. Cool, huh?

Amy&Eric

 

Here is a photo of me & Eric. Loved this one.

Family

 

And here is us as a family. On top of the tower overlooking El Yunque.

Mountain

It rains almost every single day in the rainforest. But not the day we went! :) Lucky us. (Well, truthfully, it DID rain, but only for about 2 minutes. It was a cool sound. It was like a waterfall rushing at us. And then it was over.)

Bamboo

 

I loved the bamboo. It was everywhere on the mountain passes.

Weel, that was pretty much our trip. Thanks for reading!

Scattered Life Collective: March 28th

scattered_life_collective This post was inspired by a blogging adventure  called Scattered Life Collective by Cynthia Lee. It’s a great series and my friend, Deborah Weber often participates in it too. Deborah is an amazing woman who has turned me on to so many crazy wonderful things that I just can’t even list them.  ——-

current time: 11:35 AM. As I write this, I just woke up from a crazy long nap. Oh bless. Napping is such a wonderful thing. I think that I have taken more naps these last few months than I have taken in the last ten years! It is fabulous.

on the menu:  This week, we had a Taco Tuesday. Life is back to normal after a wonderful vacation in Puerto Rico – which surprisingly had very little Mexican food. Lots of beans and rice, though. They make special beans. And special coffee. Outside of the strange fact that everything you buy is served on styrofoam (because it’s cheap, Tatia says) there is a delightful homey-ness to their cuisine. I think perhaps if we decide to make that our home in a few years, I will get into the habit of bringing dinnerware in the car with me. Would that seem pretentious? I just hate styrofoam for a multitude of reasons. As for Taco Tuesdays, it was very yummy. I made homemade guac and had my own version sans meat/carne with lots of veg. Oh yeah. Love those meals where meat lovers and veggie lovers can all eat the same dish and be very satisfied. Tatia ate the hard corn shells instead of the soft wheat shells and Eric complained. I had my whole wheat soft tortillas which were covering up the white flour variety that Tatia prefers so she didn’t see them. We all eat different shells. Eric suggested that I not buy her special shells, but I reminded him that if I did that we would all be eating whole wheat soft tortillas.

I Ching: Hexagram 2 – Earth

Tending the Fields

These last few months have been a blur.  I have hardly blogged at all. I have hardly even read the I Ching at all.

As I was feeling guilty about this, I started reading the second hexagram of the I Ching – Earth. The very words of this chapter seemed to soothe me at a very personal level. It reminded me that I do not need to DO anything. I am perfect just as I am.

This second hexagram of the I Ching reminds us all of our foundation. Nothing can exist without Earth. Even Heaven, as grand as it is, needs Earth to ground itself. I needed to ground. So much happens in the time when we think that nothing is happening. For me, I was focused on having fun in Puerto Rico. (Blog post coming, I promise!) I was also focused on acclimating to my new job and taking in all kinds of good stuff there. Life has been really good lately… very yin. My personal development side of things seems to have been set aside, but perhaps it was just a time for me to take a step back for a bit to get a better perspective.

This is not an apology.

Whenever I read a blog post about someone not blogging for a while, there is always this apologetic tone to it. This is not an apology. I am going to rather suggest that we are all free to allow ourselves some yin time to adjust to new things when they come our way. I am giving myself some yin time…

Earth.

I love this quote from Deng Ming-Dao’s chapter on Hexagram #2. It says it all:

“The earth accepts you too. When you sleep, you lie down. When you are ill, you lie down. When you make love, you lie down. We may be living in high-rise buildings, and cushioning ourselves with satin sheets, but every day, we return to the primal act of lying down on the earth, as every single ancestor has done before us. When the final lying down comes, there is nowhere else for us to go but the place that has always been our bed.”

Big heart out to you, Ming-Dao, if you are reading this (and even if you are not! ;) ). You are my hero. Your words are so beautiful. Thank you for writing them and sharing them! :)

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