Once again renewed by a close haircut (which suggests more Buddhist tendencies* than Taoist**) and pivoting of the dark/new moon, I am feeling yang energy rising like the bubbles in champagne. (Perhaps that "falling" thing that Guinness does is yin energy?)
Yesterday in a neighborhood where I rarely do business or shopping, on a sunny, balmy morning, after a hurried necessary bank deposit, I stopped in at a shop I never noticed before. All banks are pretty much the same, and so too perhaps, all shops offering "Himalayan Treasures." Just a quick poke-about to see what was on offer, I picked up some incense and a random CD, not knowing if it would be chanting or Nepali jazz. It turns out to be pretty good, manufactured and marketed by the Kathmandu Music Center.
The music, new-agey jazzy with tablas and sitars and flutes and western guitars, highlighted a very peaceful and positive feeling I haven't had in the middle of an ordinary workday for a while; satisfied, happy, and complete, I am liking my job.
For which I today needed to remake some travel arrangements to add on a week of mainland visits...a whirlwind to Atlanta and Washington for some training and project planning. The two weeks will culminate over Veterans Day with another quick stop to visit my son in Portland, Ore., where there is another Himalayan shop with a big brass bowl that has been singing my name to my heart since last I visited. I didn't want to bring a huge singing bowl back with me on a plane, and now I find some very nice similar bowls on King Street, right here in Pacific Ocean City. Is it appropriate to ask for a Tibetan singing bowl for Christmas?
My travel plans conflict with something delightful I found in the mail on the same energetic day: an invitation to the opening of "Masterpieces of Landscape Painting from the Forbidden City," an exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, where I have studied Chinese painting over the past three years. Quel dommage, my teacher will probably be there, and I will be some tens of thousands of feet over Cleveland. Still the exhibit continues through January 8, so after I tire of my Christmas singing bowl, I can be sure to take in the landscapes. And I can take advantage of the lecture series which includes topics like "How to Read a Chinese Painting," "Confucianism and the Aesthetics of Becoming Consummately Human," (with UH's own sage of the Tao, Roger Ames), "Dong Qichang and the Formation of the Literati Canon" and "Landscape Painting and Garden Design." Such are the topics I had hoped, in vain, would be part of the current "Oriental Painting" class I am taking right now.
I will also miss the concurrent film series, "Cinematic Treasures from China, ...highlighting the influential, trailblazing films of Chinese, Taiwanese and Chinese-American filmmakers." But I've not only seen all these films by Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, and Ang Lee, I own them all.
So many good things happen all at the same time. The only thing I will really miss is a lion dance at the exhibit opening. I'll have to wait for Chinese New Year for that. And since at such a late date, I couldn't get a non-smoking room in Atlanta, I will carry with me some "energy" and "wisdom" Himalayan incense to burn there: it is a smoking room after all!
*My own ongoing private Asian film festival is currently featuring a long Chinese series, "The Shaolin Warriors," about Shaolin monks and pirates. It features Sammo Hung and his adorable son Sammy, as a Shaolin master and a monk. What I can't figure out is, while Sammy and his warrior mates are properly shaved, Sammo Shifu sports a hairdo that looks like my own shoulder length locks circa 1972. Do Shaolin masters use hot rollers? In one scene, Sammy and his reluctant monk buddy actually wash the master's hair.
**A Taoist master I met in Wudang last May, when asked what one had to do to be a real Taoist, said: 1) you must know the history of your lineage, the generations; 2) you must have a deep understanding of Tao, and 3) you must grow your hair long, for at least three years, to be natural and to be able to wear the taiji topknot at the bai hui point, where yin and yang meet. In fact the topknot is twisted in a kind of chignon to create a yin/yang object. No wonder the Buddhists shave their heads.
6 years ago