In later years I’ve found it better to keep an open mind on things when possible and been surprised at how often I’ve got my “facts” wrong lol!
One year, a Christmas afternoon visitor asked five-year-old Ruth, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” After a moment’s hesitation, she answered, “No, but then it’s not my birthday!”—James Hewett
(photo from bing)
It’s human nature to place ourselves in the “star role” of our life screenplay. In a sense it’s true, but only for us. As life goes on we come to realise others may see life very differently and we may play only a minor role in their production, or be merely one of those passing “pieces of furniture” used in TV adds as “background crowd”.
Humbling as that may seem it actually gives a great freedom when you realise you are not being, assessed, critiqued, or appraised most of the time. Even if the new bright scarlet Christmas scarf/ reindeer outfit/ cracked karaoke performance etc. get you some fleeting attention the vast majority will have forgotten it by next day or sooner.
Understanding this enables to be more FREE!!!
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress.
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
I find my joy of living in the fierce and ruthless battles of life, and my pleasure comes from learning something, from being taught something.
—August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, and painter
I don’t know as I’d say I find joy in the “Fierce and ruthless battles of life.” I’m not at all keen on those lol! But finding pleasure in learning – yes! I’ve always loved to learn (though my teachers might think otherwise!) I was the child sneak reading an encyclopedia under the desk during class. We didn’t have the internet back then but I joined a library at age five and never had my head out of a book from that time on (wonder I wasn’t run over!). But my learning wasn’t limited to books as I became more socially confident I found in every individual a world of fascinating memories and information. I loved home schooling my kids discovering the fascination of science along with them (hardly taught in my all girls school). As I aged and matured I began to add wisdom to my list of topics finding its gems in those “fierce and ruthless battles” aforementioned .
Have I stopped now? Of course not! That would take all the fun out of life!
(“Stolen” from my friend’s face book page – a long term UK Chinese resident)
Six facts about the Year of Monkey (Xinhua) in the Chinese culture. February 8, 2016.
The Chinese zodiac comprises 12 animals – mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig – all fixed in that order on a 12-year cycle, and each related to one of 12 Terrestrial Branches. Ranked the ninth, the monkey is related to Shen Terrestrial Branch, and seen as a symbol of vitality and wit.
The Year of the Monkey follows the current Year of the Sheep, an animal many consider passive and docile. The monkey is more favored by prospective parents, because many believe babies born in the Year of the Monkey will be energetic, self-assured, sociable, smart and innovative.
The most famous monkey in the Chinese culture, the Monkey King features in the classic Chinese legend Journey to the West. He had many supernatural powers and was responsible for protecting a well-known pilgrim in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) on a journey to retrieve the Buddhist sutras from India.
The Monkey King stands for bravery, sincerity and the power to fight evil. In Fujian Province, he is worshipped as a guardian of families.
The Monkey King is also the hero of many traditional operas, movies and TV series. One series on Journey to the West has been broadcast more than 3,000 times by various TV stations since 1986.
A stamp issued in 1980, the Year of the Monkey, is now priced at 12,000 yuan (about $1,800) each, but the face value printed is only 8 cents (about 1 US cent). It is one of the most prized stamps among collectors.
Many other countries also have issued stamps to celebrate the new year. This year, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Japan, France and Canada are among those issuing their own monkey stamps.
Made familiar in the monkey master in Kung Fu Panda, the monkey is an important symbol in the world of Chinese martial arts. The school of Monkey Boxing derives from the gestures of monkeys. The moves are agile and swift, with some of them even imitating the monkey in real life.
SYMBOL OF HIGH POSITION
The Chinese character for monkey is very similar to that for powerful men or high positions, and they are both pronounced “hou.” So in the Chinese culture they are closely connected, as the monkey was considered an auspicious symbol for high social status, such as government officials or royalty.
In Chinese pinyin, “a monkey on a horse” is similar to “be promoted to a higher position immediately”. Such combinations can often be found in folk arts, such as sculptures, paper-cuts and paintings.
MASCOT FOR GOOD HEALTH
The monkey is considered a symbol of health and longevity, as many kinds of monkeys have white beards like old men.
In ancient China, people also believed that monkeys were sensitive to the plague. Traders and merchants often traveled with a monkey to protect their horses from diseases.
(In case you are wondering, I’m not a monkey but a rabbit -main attributes sexy and loyal – I can live with that! lol!)
Leaves of orange and red rustled in the breeze above her. She loved the forest, the solitude. Here she could be truly alone with her memories, indulge her senses to the full with no eyes to watch. She danced, spinning in circles, trancing passing patterns in piles of past years leaves now brown and gold. She smiled, giving voice to her joy, for the birds and woodland creatures alone.
Stopping to recline on a weathered stump she glanced at its aged rings. So had her life been, circles growing outward, growing stronger. Within lay the marks of time, the storms, the years of want, the years of plenty, the years its heart had near frozen. She stroked the smooth surface in understanding. The tree no longer lived here, converted to furnishings it now enjoyed a different existence, yet its roots remained, the story of its life embalmed like a woodland throne.
Her eyes reached up to the sky above, shafts of sunlight patterning the canopy, as the sun broke through the cloud transforming the air to gold. She sucked in her breath at the beauty of it all. Why couldn’t life always be like this? Why didn’t people seem to understand?
She thought about the ugliness of her job, the sordid squalor of the city streets. She wanted to help, to make a difference, yet it so often ended the same. Young lives grew distorted in the urban landscape.
Perhaps if she brought them here, perhaps here they too could be free to grow, to expand? Funding was always short, but she had wealthy clients also. Perhaps they’d see it if she brought them here. Perhaps they too might benefit? A picture formed in her head, something simple, nothing grand, just a place they could come out here in the woods where rich and poor might mingle, might learn from the world around them, might grow strong and healthy. Despite her studies she fought a losing battle, but here, perhaps here, one might turn the tide?