Rice Paper

I gave my Sensei a roll of rice paper tonight.
 

Songs for the Floating World

 

 

Inspired by Chikamatsu’s play
Shinju ten no Amijima

ACT ONE

Fistfuls of new Treasure-silver,
Pine-nuts from a stooping pine,
Buy this body, buy a singer
Once a nun at Ise Shrine.

Pleasure-houses on the river
Near the footbridge of Tenjin,
Laughter from a lamplit lattice,
The God of Death in a cherry screen.

The paper-merchant cannot hide
With stars and leaves in twilight whirled,
Tales of love and suicide,
Rumors from the Floating World.

ACT TWO

Here in the paper-merchant’s alley
See the winter sun’s decline
The paper-merchant dreaming calls
Koharu of the lantern-sign.

He lingers in the plumtree summer
Where their paper vows began,
Listens to the late cicada –
Summer writing on a fan.

Fools run out in icy weather,
Jihei sleeps and will not rouse,
Paper lanterns, paper money,
Twenty-nine rice-paper vows.

ACT THREE

Lovers pass like night or water,
Fish nets hanging in the stream,
Lovers of the pleasure quarter,
Cast off love of things that seem.

I was a fish once in the fish net
Now I wait by the lantern sign
Selling love or selling stories
Once a nun at Ise shrine.

Midnight quarter by the river
Furtive rumors, soft foot-falls
Handfuls of new Treasure-silver
Sliding windows, sliding walls.

CLOSE

Dawn bells of the Daicho Temple,
River, lovers, lies, regrets
Fishers floating on the river
Draw up the dead in icy nets.

Koharu and the paper-merchant
Lie in a lotus calyx curled,
In the life to come united,
Rumors of the Floating World.

No lovers in the latticed chamber,
The God of Death in a cherry screen,
The lamps of the pleasure-house are smoking,
Cast off love of things that seem.

 

 

 
 
 

Anne Winters is the author of The Key to the City (Chicago), poems nominated for the National Book Critics Circle prize, and of Salamander (Princeton), translations of French poetry, which won Poetry Magazine’s Glatstein Award. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in Paris Review, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, Yale Review, and elsewhere. She has received the Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant and an NEA fellowship, and has been a Fellow of the Camargo Foundation and the Karolyi Foundation.

Kanku Dai

Tonight in the dojo we worked exclusively on Kanku-dai and I feel very peaceful and happy about the hard workout of both body and mind.  I review the sequence of movements in the kata and reflect on the wisdom of my Sensei.  It was a very rewarding evening!
 
"Kanku-dai means to observe the universe or the sky (from the distinctive first movement). Dai denotes that this is the greater Kanku kata.

"The kata was originally known as Kushanku, the name of a Chinese martial artist who came to Okinawa in the eighteenth century. This was Gichin Funakoshi’s favourite kata and the one that he chose for the first public demonstration of karate outside Okinawa. Funakoshi believed that Kanku-dai contained all of the essential elements of Shotokan karate. It is also the favourite of Okazaki Sensei, who demonstrates it in the Best Karate series.
 
 
 This kata is often selected by the examiner as the second kata in a nidan grading.
 
The major points are techniques which are both fast and slow, powerful and soft, expanding and contracting and jumping and crouching. The kata should be performed as if completely surrounded by enemies. Conditioning is also a major point, because of the length of the kata. There are 65 movements, which should take about 90 seconds to perform."
 
 
 
Go to this location above to view the kata.
 

Lake Minnewanka

The beautiful greens of the afternoon fill me to overflowing and again I am immersed in beauty, peace and the sense of ‘sharing the road’.  I drove us up to Lake Minnewanka, a short distance after the Banff gates.  I felt so relaxed!  I always feel relaxed in nature!  Greeting us, only feet from the parking area, were a herd of mountain sheep.  I am grateful for the group of friends who share this experience with me again and again.  I love the smell of the mountain air and the open blue sky!
 
Stewart Canyon

The Cascade River cut this gorge over many thousands of years. When Lake Minnewanka was dammed, this canyon was largely filled in by the backed up water.

The Story of the Weeping Camel

A beautiful movie recommended by my older daughter. Her family laughed as she mentioned the title and we couldn’t imagine the impact it would make on us.  In the end, I think everyone would benefit from taking the time to watch this film.  It is really very special.
 
 
I felt such optimism about life and the power and magic of music.  The film captured my heart.  I hope that you will rent it and curl up with someone you love…it will be an evening you will treasure!
 

Weeping Camel: A Real Mongolian Tear-Jerker

Stefan Lovgren
for National Geographic News
July 19, 2004

Among the nomads of Mongolia’s Gobi desert, camels provide life’s necessities. Camel hair is woven into clothing. Dried camel droppings fuel fires. Camel milk serves as a dietary staple. Shoes and saddles are fashioned from camel hides.

Wealth is measured in part by the number of camels a person owns. So when a camel mother rejects a newborn colt, the nomads take the rejection very seriously.

In keeping with an ancient ritual, a musician must be summoned to perform a ceremony. The rite aims to coax the camel mother into nursing her baby. If the mother accepts the baby, legend has it that the ritual causes her to weep with joy.

The ritual is at the heart of The Story of the Weeping Camel, a docudrama about a family of Mongolian herders who face a crisis when a camel rejects her newborn.

Now in release, the film has been an audience favorite at film festivals. It is the first film to be distributed under the new National Geographic World Films label.

"It’s the story of salvation, of the loss of love and the struggle to win it back," said Luigi Falorni, the film’s Italian co-director. "I believe each one of us has gone through the same as the little starving camel at some point in life: feeling estranged, unceasingly searching for protection and needing to belong. [The baby camel’s] fate is evidence that no life is possible without love."

"The people are a remarkably self-sufficient people, producing all they need for life by themselves," he said. "They don’t think about money. They cherish nature, because they depend on it. And they have a very strong connection to their animals. They understand that we, as humans, have to adjust and not the other way around. That is the philosophy of the nomads."

 

Karate and Well-Being

Chitose

 

Chitose Tsuyoshi
A Bridge Through Time
by Michael Colling
(History: A knowledge of the past based upon Testimony)


Chinen Tsuyoshi, later to be known by the name Chitose, among others as was custom to his culture, was born in an era where the Okinawan fighting arts were quietly taught to those who knew the right people. His lineage can be traced back to Chinen Yamagushiku (aka: Chinen Peichin and Aburaya Yamaki) 1791-1881. He is a grandson of Matsumura Soken, well known into modern times as one of the most notable of his era. It seems with this family background Chitose was destined to follow the path he spent a lifetime studying. As a boy Chitose saw the entrance of karate into the school system in Okinawa by Itosu Anko (1830-1915) in a regimented form for mass instruction, to Funakoshi Gichin, a school teacher he had in grade school, introducing this art to Japan as a middle aged man to the Crown Prince Hirohito in 1922 at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo, to the opening of worldwide acceptance when U.S. servicemen began learning the art under different sensei and taking it home to open dojo in the states.

 

http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/article33.htm

 

In Shotokan, we trace our study to Chitose and Chito Ryu.

 
 

Remembering

Lloyd, Jordan  

LLOYD _ Jordan Michael 1987 – 2006 Jordan Lloyd, beloved son of _______ and brother to _____ of Calgary, passed away suddenly on Thursday, June 15, 2006 at the age of 19 years. Jordan was born in Calgary on January 5, 1987. He was educated in Calgary graduating from Henry Wise Wood High School in 2004. He was a member of the Roundup, Stetson and Stampede Show Bands. Jordan had a zest for life; he enjoyed sports and took every chance to travel. Jordan touched the lives of many, his smile was as big as his heart and his absence will leave a void that can never be filled. Besides his loving mother and brother, Jordan is survived by his grandmother; his aunt; his uncles; as well as numerous cousins. Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Fish Creek Chapel (14441 Bannister Road S.E.) on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. A Celebration of Jordan’s Life will be held at McInnis and Holloway’s Fish Creek Chapel (14441 Bannister Road S.E.) on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 at 2:30 p.m.  If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to The Alzheimer Society of Calgary, Suite 201, 222 – 58 Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2H 2S3 (Telephone 403-290-0110, www.alzheimercalgary.com ). In living memory of Jordan Lloyd, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: 403-256-9575.

 

Ordination to the Priesthood

I gathered up all of my prayers, tucked them into my heart and headed for the Cathedral.  I decided to go ahead with my plans after a very long conversation with my daughter…one that overflowed with thoughts on love, life, death and intention. She would be surrounded by friends very shortly…and I had decided a long time ago to support a young friend in his recent path to the Priesthood.
 
In no way, did I think that I would be touched like I was by the rites I witnessed. From beginning to end, I was moved.  There was a wonderful sense of excitement, love and support that permeated the congregation.
 
This morning I set the program out in front of me and I review the events, thinking about each ritual and what points I could possibly write about here.  My old dog beckons for a river walk because it has rained these past seven days….and finally the sky is a pure blue and the sun is warm on my back.  I will summarize just a few moments that were special to me so that they are captured somehow in words. 
 
 
Promise of Obedience. Invitation to Prayer. 
 
The Litany of the Saints is always a special moment for me in any celebration.  I remember it most on the night of my Confirmation as a twenty year old.  I can not even reflect upon this without remembering and mentioning by name, my special Oblate friend and Priest, Father Seamus Carroll.
 
The sung litany sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it.  I have a huge sense of the communal prayers of the people being heard by God.  I have a sense that all that lives and breathes and everyone who has gone before us is caught up in a POSITIVE and beautiful meditation of love.   As the people intercede with all the Saints for the new ordinandi’s, they lie prostrate ("the ancient gesture of supplication and the dying of self,").
 
 
Laying on of Hands.
 
One by one, the candidates went to the bishop and knelt before him.  The bishop placed his hands on the head of each, in complete silence.
 
Next, every priest present (likely seventy-five), wearing stoles, lay their hands upon the candidates in silence.
 
For me, touch is a very powerful expression of love, compassion, forgiveness and healing.  I felt an amazing blessing as these men processed past me…each, blessing the two young men, only feet away from me.  I felt an historical context with The Church and was reminded of Jacob’s blessing on Joseph’s sons.  I felt this ritual to be rooted in a huge history.  I looked at the older priests with a profound respect.  There has been much said in the media about those priests who have made horrific mistakes, but little is said of the commitment and dedicated ministry of the others.  On this day, two young men…only beginning.  As the bishop stated in his homily, they will have to, like us, roll out of bed each morning, place their feet on the floor, and make a decision…to live fully and in faith.
 
This entry…to be continued later…for now, it is time to dawn my coveralls…and make my way to the Bow River, where this loyal friend of mine will enjoy the morning light.  Have a beautiful day one and all and hold on to one another!
 
…I’m back…after sharing a few out-of-focus photos from my walkabout this morning.
 
 
Investiture with Stole and Chasuble.
 
The young men took on the stole and chasuble…one was assisted by his parents, and the other by priests of his home country.  I know that I was very moved by the loving embrace shared between parents and sons.  There were tears among family members as they demonstrated openly their tremendous affection for their children and remarkable support.
 
 
Anointing of Hands.
 
Although the photo here is not from last evening’s celebration, it captures in part, the ritual whereby the priests, vested in stole and chasuble, knelt before the Bishop who then anointed their hands with sacred chrism for service to God’s people.  I was reminded of my friend…coming into The Chapel…and his gentle prayers over my own artist-hands.  I think that our hands are powerful reminders….we serve one another, in love.
 
There were many events throughout the Ordination that captured my heart and caused me to be moved deeply, although I have only captured a few.  My prayers are lifted up for these two men and I hope that they will rely on God for peace and understanding all the days of their lives.

 
 
 
 

City of Angels

My daughter called me the night of June 15…her English class had ended at the University and she had caught her train south as usual.  She explained that there was an accident ahead…somewhere on the line and that the trains weren’t operating.  She would have to sleep over at a friend’s on that side of town or take a shuttle bus home.  We agreed that she should stay put and come home the next morning. 

Some time yesterday afternoon, she learned that the young man who died as a result of this collision was someone she had cared for deeply these last several years.  He had only recently celebrated the purchase of his new motorbike and had taken it out for a spin.  It turns out that my daughter and this young man were only a very short distance from one another when this horrible accident happened.  It is absolutely tragic…an impossible thing to imagine from the perspective of his mother and his brother….and an event that will impact deeply, my daughter.

It seems odd…but something that keeps coming up for me since learning all this, is the movie the City of Angels…the one starring Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage.  Remember back to the concluding scenes….remember the words of the protagonist who is asked by an angel….”given the loss of this woman you loved so deeply….if you had known that you would be left to suffer the pain of losing her, would you do this all over again…would you leave your angel wings behind and come to earth as a human being?”

Cage replies after just a moment’s thought….” I would suffer this loss again…just to touch her skin one time….hear her voice just one time…smell her hair…just one time.”

It is evident again and again in my life that we are here to live our lives consciously…we are left to appreciate and cherish all that is a part of our experience. 

This is an absolutely bizarre time to be writing…but I can not sleep as yet.  Tomorrow I will write about the Ordinations of two young men in our Diocese, one who has contributed so much to my own Parish over the last many months.  For now, good night to each one of you.

Take a bite into a pear and really taste it.

 

Ultimate Journey

 
It’s a worthwhile thing to spend some time looking at the world through these folk’s eyes.  They kept a wonderful archive of both photos and writings.  I believe that human beings can be inspired by people like Chris and Erin to follow their dreams and explore any one of the many roads ahead. 
 
In my heart-of-hearts, I believe that ‘the road’ is a simple metaphor for how one can choose to live ones own life.  It is a simple matter of connecting to that place in your heart that speaks to you….it is a matter of opening your ears to listen to what it is telling you.   May all readers be inspired by their own story and live life fully…connected to personal dreams and ambitions.
 

“Hi, we are Chris & Erin:  former New York City dwellers for whom life was going pretty well.  We always enjoyed motorcycling and traveling, and slowly realized that our annual 2-week summer vacation just wasn’t enough.  So, we quit our jobs, sold our apartment (huge profit), our furniture, donated most of our clothing, and became instant minimalists.  With Passports, Carnets, and other paperwork theoretically in order, we loaded our tent, remaining clothing, and other worldly possessions onto two BMW motorcycles. 

At first, our families were worried about us, but as time went on they got used to the idea and now they are even secretly proud of us.

The purpose of our trip is to see new sights, meet new/different people, learn about other cultures, gain and share new experiences, and face new challenges.   Aside from helping to engage people in conversation, the motorcycles provide us with a freedom of movement, ability to explore, and greater exposure to our senses and surroundings. 

The bikes were shipped from New York to Morocco, and on May 20th, 1999 we arrived in Casablanca to launch our 15-month ‘Round the World (RTW) adventure.  We started the trip, like it was an extended 2-week holiday, and spent the first 6 months racing through Europe trying to check-off as many sites as possible.   While on the road, however, the trip took on a life of its own — We learned to slow down and spend more (quality) time in fewer places, to  get a better feel of the places we visit(ed).  The trip went far beyond our wildest expectations, in both experiences and time, and after more than 4 years traveling, we arrived back in New York in August 2003.

Of course we’ve had breakdowns and other problems along the way, forcing us to turn to locals for help, and providing us with some of the greatest experiences and best friendships along the way.  Many of the places we’ve seen have been incredible — and the people, well….extraordinary!

We hope our journey inspires others to follow their own dreams.   As Erin now likes to say, “life is too short to drink cheap red wine”.  If you have any questions, comments, or other suggestions, please do not hesitate to email us.”

Finding Your Way

 
 We celebrated and shared in a Farewell Mass for our oldest students this evening at the Church.  This is my first year teaching this grade level and I am so amazed by what wonderful individuals these students are!  What a heart-warming and affirming evening!
 
I will remember this group as being, for the most part, an inspired bunch!  They wrote well.  They shared perceptions that were honest and thoughtful.  I am really going to miss them and the support of their wonderful parents.
 
May your road be always lit…may you appreciate and enjoy life’s blessings! Congratulations!
 
May the Inukshuk be your guide for a safe journey throughout life’s travels. 
Let it always guide you home.
 

The Inukshuk (pronounced IN-OOK-SHOOK) meaning "in the image of man", are magnificent lifelike figures of stone which were erected by the Inuit people and are unique to the Canadian Arctic. Standing along Canada’s most northern shores, they endure as eternal symbols of leadership, encouraging the importance of friendship and reminding us of our dependence upon one another. 

In the Baffin region of Canada’s Arctic, the traditional meaning of an Inukshuk was to act as a compass or guide for a safe journey. The Inukshuk, like ancient trackers, helped guide people seeking their way through the wilderness. An Inukshuk on land with two arms and legs means there is a valley. At the end of this valley, you will be able to go in two directions. Today, this serves as a reminder that we always have a choice in the direction we choose to take in our lives. 

Erected to make the way easier and safer for those who follow, an Inukshuk represents safety and nourishment, trust and reassurance. The Inukshuk guided people across the frozen tundra and gave them hope in barren places to handle hardships they encountered. These primitive, stone images showed the way ahead… pointing you in the direction you wanted to go. Had they been able to speak, I am certain they would have said… "Here is the road. It is safe. You can meet the demands that this path holds. You can reach your goals and attain your vision of where you want to be." 

What is true about the Inukshuk is true about people. 

Inukshuks in themselves are the product of cooperation. The hands and efforts of an entire group were required to build these massive stone sculptures. They are the result of a consensus of purpose, of focused action by a group united in its goal and labor. The inukshuk reminds us that as good as our individual efforts may be, together we can do even greater things.

Each individual stone in an inukshuk supports, and is supported by, the one above and the one below it. No one piece is any more or less important than another. Its strength lies in its unity. Its significance comes from its meaning as a whole. 

Each individual, by themselves, is significant. As part of a team each of us supports, and is supported by, another. We are united by our common goals, and together we are part of a greater whole.

The stones which make up the Inukshuk are secured through balance. They are chosen for how well they fit together. The removal of even one stone would destroy the integrity of the whole. So, too, with a team. Each individual in a team is necessary for the realization of the team’s purpose. The removal of even one person will result in the weakening of the structure. What holds the team together is the balance – the complementary nature of the individual skills.

The Inukshuk are a symbol of the human spirit. They recognize our ability to succeed with others, where alone we would fail. Remind us of our need to belong to something greater than ourselves. Prompt us to reconnect with our individual responsibility to invest our efforts today so we may all have a better tomorrow. Ask us to heed the knowledge of our inner knowingness, hear the voice of our intuition and move to the harmonious music in our heart and spirit. Inukshuk convey the importance of personal contribution and reinforce our ability to commit to common goals. They implore us to share the fruits of our learning, our wisdom with one another. 

The Inukshuk is a reminder for all of us that our efforts towards the common good of our earth community are appreciated. It is an enduring symbol that invites us to speak with one another on a higher level, from our hearts and spirit, about what really matters in life. 

from http://www.instacoach.com/inukshuk.htm