Grandma’s New Year Adventures in China 1937

During Chinese New Year, people pay respect to their ancestors. In keeping with this tradition I am sharing a message from my own ancestor, about her experiences while doing Christian missionary work in China in 1937. As far as I can tell her trip was from Swatow (Shantou) to perhaps Hangpu is 'Hopo'.

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The Roar of Awakening

Believe in debtThe Chinese Year of the Tiger begins on Valentines day this year, making it extra special in my book… 14/2/2010. I was born in the year of the tiger so I confess to being prejudiced in this area ;-). In honor of the upcoming New Year and because I was just going through an old folder full of some favorite quotes from years ago and discovered this wonderful tale of a lost tiger:

The Roar of Awakening

A tigress, pregnant and nearly ready to deliver, walked stealthily along the edge of a high cliff foraging for food. She looked over into the grassland below and spied a flock of goats grazing in the sunshine. Hungry as she was, she hesitated because the drop was precipitous. Then she took a great leap, and in the fall she lost her balance. The noise sent the goats scurrying into the forest for shelter. The neck of the tigress was broken as she hit the ground, but in her death throes she managed to give birth to her cub. Then all was silent.

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Belly Button Rings and Qi

Passion NavelI had a strange experience the other day. I was in the shower and suddenly got a weird metallic feeling in my belly button. It seemed to originate from my navel piercing and shot upward towards my breastbone. It felt like the sound of a fingernail on a chalkboard and sent shock waves through my cells.

I pierced my belly button the end of the summer in 1994. My friend and I had been working at a boy scout camp in Lake Arrowhead as cooks for the summer. These were some spoiled boy scouts if you ask me — they had a heated pool, we cooked them 3 meals a day 6 days a week, and on Friday they had BBQ ribs. Anyway, whatever, it was hard but fun work and we were so glad to be done for the summer that we rushed into the nearest tattoo parlor and got our belly button’s pierced. We had been warned to eat beforehand, but didn’t heed the advice so my friend passed out when she leaped from the chair right after her piercing. I took my time getting out of the chair after that and was fine – but it took a while for my belly button to heal. I was at a point where I was going to give up, when it suddenly healed up and has given me no trouble for 14 years. Part of the reason it was strange to suddenly get this nerve grating metal feeling from it.

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The Feng Shui Cookbook

Chinese philosophy holds that life force, or qi, comes from breath and food.


I recently came across a very special book called The Feng Shui Cookbook: Creating Health and Harmony in Your Kitchen by Elizabeth Miles. Although this book is small and easy to overlook it is a very different breed than the glossy-food-porn-coffee-table cookbooks that we see so much of these days. Elizabeth Miles has done an incredible job of condensing a layered and vast amount of information and experience into a very handy and practical guide to conscious cooking.

I have heard about Feng shui for years but never really looked too deep into it, so reading this cookbook has been very eye-opening for me, she gives a very good description:

Feng shui is the ecology of flow, the architecture of energy. Based on the idea that good fortune results when people live in balance with their environments and their inner natures, feng shui has been praised as an environmentally sound practice that emphasizes respecting rather than tampering with nature. Today, this ancient and intuitive idea is so forgotten as to seem revolutionary. -p4, 5

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How to Count Yarrow Stalks

yarrow stalk i chingWith the global mind shift moving into high gear, more people are getting interested in other ways to slow down and live consciously. As a result we are regaining respect for many things we had dismissed because we did not understand them. Using yarrow stalks to read the I Ching is one of these things. I have found using the I Ching or other methods of understanding your present moment (such as runes or tarot) can be much more useful than talking to a psychologist. It is also much more affordable =)

I had used three coins to count the lines for years so it took me a few tries to figure out how to use the yarrow stalks. This method puts you into a meditative and receptive state of mind. Yarrow encourages this being a plant that collects energies and sends them spiraling down through it’s hollow stems. The counting becomes a mystical experience with the sound of the stalks clicking and resonating together as they are thrown down, or collected together. Then, when the hexagram is formed, trying to understand what my translation of the I Ching is saying and how that relates to my situation. The whole practice is a wonderful exercise that gets the whole body, soul and mind involved.

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