Chapter 63

March 26, 2012

Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.
See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.

In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy.
In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds.
The sage does not attempt anything very big,
And thus achieved greatness.

Easy promises make for little trust.
Taking things lightly results in great difficulty.
Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them.
—Tao Te Ching

the space between us

March 4, 2012

(these are not tears) (smile). photograph by Ellen Jong.

For two days, hot tears have fallen from my eyes. It is like this, letting go, freeing myself of the demons that have haunted my soul. Tears fall in a baptism of sorts, holy water from the Holy Spirit, cleansing me of the dark forces that have stolen my life, of living death without being dead. Tears fall to set me free, to force me to let go of the lies I believe, of letting me be with what is most ugly in myself and in others. Tears fall to remind me that I am human, fallible, flawed, but most of all—full of hope, of infinite possibility, of knowing that it is only the truth that shall set me free.

In the past two days the most amazing thing has happened. I discovered what the word “friend” truly means. I always thought myself a good friend, only to find out that many of the people I had taken as friends were anything but. Wolves in sheep’s clothing for so long, they had taken themselves for sheep, but the trail of blood suggests otherwise.

But don’t get me wrong. Wolves have their rightful place. Nature designed them to thin the herd. They belong amongst themselves, in a pack. They hold together and feast upon others, and that is what gives them life. But me, I am a sheep. I eat things green and have fluffy hair. I prefer to be docile, I prefer to be calm. I know that when I am not, it is only because I am in the presence of a wolf. I am unconsciously highly alarmed.

But back to the sheep, back to where I belong. This is a metaphor, so I don’t want to string it along. I do not mean to suggest that I am a sheep in the sense of a follower, though I do take God, the Tao, and Nature as my guiding force. I trust in energies larger than me because I am an animal and I am ruled by biology, chemistry, physics, and beyond that—the mysterious.

Spirituality is something I have begun to discover, something I have begun to investigate, on my own and with people who are receptive to greatness. To be receptive to greatness means to be humble for it is only in the state of humility that we can grow. To think we have all the answers, to think that as we are is all that there is, is to be a member of the living dead. For there is no life where there is no growth, there is only self importance blocking out all hope. And having, once upon a time, been filled with this, for having been a sheep in wolves’ clothing, I know for myself that this is not living as it is meant to be, but quitting life long before you die.

live free. don't be a slave to the limitations set by your fears. photograph by Ellen Jong taken in Shanghai. La chinita linda tiene cojones mas grande.

Ahh, but none of that. Not today. The tears are gone and I am okay. Not okay meaning healed , not okay meaning that the pain is gone, but okay as in, I accept everything as it is, for what it is. I accept that I did not listen to the words that were howled with the anger of a thousand wolves. The Walls Stay. Sheep Be Gone.

I accept what could never be. I accept that I deluded myself into dreaming of love because I believed that no one would choose to suffer at their own hand. But I was wrong. And for that I pay. I failed myself as only I could fail. I lead myself to believe lies rather than walking away. But this has served its purpose, a greater one than I could ever imagine for it has only been a matter of three months, but everything has changed. I am not the person I was before, and I see this in the air I breathe.

This morning I rediscovered something about who I am. I am a collaborator, I believe in connection. My girl, Miss Jong, she has her first solo New York City exhibition coming this June. And we met the other day to discuss the project. And while I first met her under one context, that is as an author in my imprint, my imprint is gone but we are still here, both of us growing, expanding, reaching beyond who we once were.

In speaking with Miss Jong I was reminded of who I am, for it is she that said the words I quote more often than not. Two years ago, she said to me, “Your gift is articulating other people’s ideas.” I love that. I love her precision with words, her ability to say exactly who I am and for me to embrace it to the fullest. Because she has reminded me of what makes me human—of our need to connect intimately, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.

What we need—as animals—is to be part of a loving community. What we need—as artists—is to build a community based on our truths. Miss Jong has an exhibition and I have this blog. What I write, the images I publish, the quotes I discover, the artists I revere—this is my interpretation of myself and I speak for no one else. No longer am I fraught with having a legacy, of leaving a mark after death—because death is no longer a fear. Life, life is what is scary. And this is what it takes to face down my fears: speaking my truth, finding my voice and using it. To sing, to scream, to giggle, to hum, to moan, to growl, to laugh, to sob.

Emotion is the core to all human connection. What makes us go beyond our boundaries is trusting ourselves in order grow and expand and move towards other people. I know this is true for me, and I take some of my more deeply ingrained psychological truths as universal.

But I also accept that though I am right for me, I am not you. You know your truth. Let go and find the place where you can go deeper into yourself. What is beautiful is that we all work in complementary mediums. My skill with words serves your ideas. Your skill with ideas serves my words. This is what I love most about collaboration. Discovering myself in the space between us.

Photograph by Ellen Jong. bless your heart girl, it brings the freakiest people to my blog. that's what is amazing about art. It speaks to people with a kind of intimacy that we may not necessarily imagine when we set forth on our journey of self discovery ..

you already know

February 21, 2012

To see things in the seed, that is genius.
—Lao Tzu

Chapter 52

February 7, 2012

The beginning of everything is the mother of everything.
Truly to know the mother is to know her children,
and truly to know the children is to turn back to the mother.
The body comes to its ending but there is nothing to fear.

Close the openings, shut the doors,
and to the end of life nothing will trouble you.
Open the openings, be busy with business,
and to the end of life nothing can help you.

Insight sees the insignificant.
Strength knows how to yield.
Use the way’s light, return to its insight,
and so keep from going too far.
That’s how to practice what’s forever.

—Tao Te Ching

2012 ~ Enter the Dragon

January 29, 2012

The measure of the moral worth of a man is his happiness.
The better the man, the more happiness.
Happiness is the synonym of well-bring.

Do not have an attitude; open yourself and focus yourself and express yourself.
Reject external form that fails to express internal reality.

We can see through others only when we see through ourselves.

To understand your fear is the beginning of really seeing.

The question: I’m loved?

All quotes from Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee

Chapter 33

January 5, 2012

Understanding others is knowledge,
Understanding oneself is enlightenment;

Conquering others is power,
Conquering oneself is strength;

Contentment is wealth,
Forceful conduct is willfulness;

Not losing one’s rightful place is to endure,
To die but not be forgotten is longevity.

—Tao Te Ching

Chapter 78

January 3, 2012

Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water.
Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong,
none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it.

So the flexible overcomes the adamant,
the yielding overcome the forceful.
Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.

This is why the sages say those who can take on
the disgrace of nations are leaders of lands;
and those who can take on the misfortune
of nations are rulers of the world.
True sayings seem paradoxical.

—Tao Te Ching

i love Bruce Lee

December 28, 2011

Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce,
but still only light and flickering.
The love of the older and disciplined heart
is as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.

Frankness and truthfulness to myself and to the one I love.
Truthful between two as one.
You are part of my life,
no pride, vanity, or anger involved.


Chapter 29

December 27, 2011

Do you want to improve the world?
I don’t think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.

—Tao Te Ching

Chapter 37

December 21, 2011

Eternal Tao doesn’t do anything, yet it leaves nothing undone.
If you abide by it, everything in existence will transform itself.
When, in the process of self-transformation,
desires are aroused, calm them with nameless simplicity.
When desires are dissolved in the primal presence,
peace and harmony naturally occur, and the world orders itself.

—Tao Te Ching

even in death there is no end

December 16, 2011

How do I know that loving life
isn’t simply a delusion?
How do I know
that when we’re afraid of death
we aren’t like someone
who left home as a young child
and has forgotten the way back?
How do I know that the dead
aren’t so happy that they wonder
why they once clung to life?

You may dream that you’re at a banquet
and wake up to find yourself miserable.
You may dream that you’re sobbing your heart out
and wake up to find yourself at ease.
How, in the middle of a dream,
can you know that you’re actually dreaming?
In the middle of a dream, you may even
try to interpret the dream;
only after you wake up
do you realize that you were dreaming.

Someday there will be
a great awakening, when we know
that all this was one big dream.

And when I say that we’re dreaming,
of course I am dreaming too.

Chapter 8
The Second Book of the Tao

Chapter 8

December 11, 2011

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

—Tao Te Ching

Enter the Wu Wei

December 10, 2011

Last nite I met Tomas Crowder, who produced the documentary film Surfing Favela. Ostensibly it was to speak about his latest project about skateboards and Cuba… but we never got that far. Perhaps it began with the mention that the name of his production company is Wu Wei, a Taoist phrase that means acting without effort, or more familiarly, to go with the flow. And so it went that what began as a business meeting turned into something totally unexpected.

There we were, at my spot, talking animal spirits, past lives, psychic energies, my favorite topics. But then it went deeper, one step at a time. And there I was coughing up hairballs to a man I’ve never met before. And what was unusual was how calm I felt, how I could be at peace with the turmoil within me, and listen—actually listen—to what he said.

Thing is, so much of what we discussed flowed through me like the wine we drank. I knew it as I felt it rain down upon me, but to recall it word for word would be inexact. But one thing he said very much left an impression, as that so often happens when a thing of weight lands on an accommodating surface.

Stop hiding, Mr. Crowder told me. How right he was. Because more often than not the easiest way to hide is to appear in full sight. And so I have done that, for the better part of my life. Smoke and mirrors, the things of appearance are nothing more than tricks upon the mind. And so I take this advice, and I let it marinate. The right person speaking the right words at the right time is the Wu Wei of Fate.

Enter the Wu Wei

Chapter 73

December 7, 2011

Who is brave and bold will perish;
A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two, which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favoured by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

The Tao of heaven does not strive, and yet it overcomes.
It does not speak, and yet is answered.
It does not ask, yet is supplied with all its needs.
It seems at ease, and yet it follows a plan.

Heaven’s net casts wide.
Though its meshes are coarse, nothing slips through.

—Tao Te Ching

Chapter 14

December 6, 2011

Looked at but cannot be seen – it is beneath form;
Listened to but cannot be heard – it is beneath sound;
Held but cannot be touched – it is beneath feeling;
These depthless things evade definition,
And blend into a single mystery.

In its rising there is no light,
In its falling there is no darkness,
A continuous thread beyond description,
Lining what can not occur;
Its form formless,
Its image nothing,
Its name silence;
Follow it, it has no back,
Meet it, it has no face.

Attend the present to deal with the past;
Thus you grasp the continuity of the Way,
Which is its essence.

~ Tao Te Ching ~


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