Self-Effacing and Self-Reflection on a Saturday Evening (5.19.18)

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Yep.  It’s Saturday evening and I’m going to call it an early night.  There are sevearl things going on, but most importantly: I had quit my fuckin’ job and I will never have to see it or work as an employee for another person within this lifetime (note: I plan on being enlightened, so I guess this is my last lifetime, snitches).  Still, I’ve been going through a whole spectrum of emotions; growing, shedding off loose skin, getting in touch with emotions, letting go of the past, slam dunking the future, and in general, just really transitioning.  At times, I can say it’s been stressful; it’s like Armageddon the movie, when the spaceship shoots them to about 6,000mph.  When they’re accelerating, it’s super stressful for them and their blood and organs are all flaburgasted (is that the right word?  The right spelling?  Probably not).  Then, once the dust settles and the target speed is hit, the shuttle maintains the same speed and the astronauts finally feel a sense of equilibrium.

That is what I am aiming for.  This is the case especially since I have other life changes going on, such as adding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other grappling arts to my reportoire of skills: while this may not seem like much, I am 37 years old, and I’ve been doing martial arts for 25 years this year – I am old in martial arts years!  My body has reached a state in which I can use very little input to get a decent output (don’t get me wrong, in the greater spectrum of the Chinese Martial Arts, I am about a 18 out of 100 – if we can be honest in assessing the average McDojo teacher is about a 6 out of 100 and a really good or advanced practitioner is about 60-95 – 100), and I am simply maintaining my practicing (and improving – which has become part of my schedule).  Developing new grappling muscles and skills can be a real headache and body ache.  I think I had a few weekends where I felt completely devoid of energy, and I’ve almost fallen asleep at the wheel several times and had a few bouts of insomnia due to the adjustment period.  Let’s hope things acquire a sense of equilibrium on that front.  Also, no, I’m not going to spellcheck those one or two damn words up there – I’ll let my editor do it.  Who’s my editor?

Next, I have suddenly come across a stage where I can have more control and awareness of my bad habits (stress eating, minor stress spending, oversleeping or over snoozing, disorganization) and have the energy to change them.  In the past, I have felt as if my 100% effort to fight these was like shooting a pellet gun at a giant surfing wave.  I would get in a few licks and then get overthrown by the tide.  Now, I have some more awareness, like stepping back and watching myself like a movie, and some calmness where I can take a breath, assess the situation, and change course in spite of tumultuous emotions or life circumstance.  So here I am, a changed man.

I am excited for what’s to come, but mind you, it is very scary, disheartening, and borderline traumatic at times – self-growth and the making of a good martial artist is like making a sausage: it’s best to appreciate the results without seeing the process.

Another Seinfeldian post, except it’s about nothing and something at the same time.

Yep.  Contact me at: chingyinwriting@gmail.com or look up Chingyin Writing on Facebook.   Have a good day!

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Ramblings on a May 18

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So, since I do not have a definite theme for this entry, I will just call this a “rambling,” or “Rambo’s rambling” (although I’m being rambunctious).  I think to be good in writing, or good in art, you have to be self-effacing and to be honest with yourself.  The martial artist and movie star Bruce Lee talked about the importance of “honestly expressing yourself.”  Perhaps this applies to martial arts and life; to not put on a mask and just go for it without avail.  Tai Chi calls this “investing in loss;” to lose now to win later.   Anyway, looking at ourselves honestly is very difficult because you are always finding dirt, filth, bad habits, and old memories that simply don’t belong there any more!  And it can be so sudden that you find yourself doing crap that you crystallized or thought up when you were 15, and suddenly you’re in your mid 30s!  Weird stuff.

I guess that’s all I have for this entry.  If you open yourself to humility, there are never ending lessons.  And those lessons make you feel stupid!  If there is such a thing as an ego.

Have a good day.  Write or comment:  chingyinwriting@gmail.com or find chingyinwriting on Facebook or knock on my door and punch me on the arm.  Peace!

On Neurosis

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Okay, I was going to start writing about neurosis, then I had to check on Wikipedia to make sure I knew what the heck I am writing about: “a relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress (depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, hypochondria) but not a radical loss of touch with reality.” That pretty much sums it up: all of our mental gunk that clogs up the pipes, but not to the point of suffocation or complete clogging.  So, I think on some levels, it helps us to grow, and when we get too much, then the gunk starts to clog our pipes and starts to take our life.

Now, what can we do about it?  Fortunately, a lot.  However, I do think modern life has robbed many of the ancient and old past times that helped us deal with neurosis and/or life historically: sitting at a bonfire with friends, neighbors, or family members, watching live theater, shows, or performers, socializing with others, being outdoors, having quiet time with no devices or technology, exercising, not overloading us with information, or simply doing nothing.  We are overloaded with information and stimulation and useless tasks (sending and responding to E-mails, paying bills online, running errands), and unfortunately, a lot of that stimulation spills onto the road: more accidents and back up (which robs us of our valuable time and quality of life).

I could run through a checklist of ways to deal with all of this neurosis, but I don’t know how helpful that would be; it would be pretty basic and shallow.  My main thing is that each of us needs to find two things: things and activities that make us happy (on a deep genuine level, and not just a quick fix like an impulse buy or a one night stand or drugs), and balance.  I believe I have reached some level of happiness; I do what I love, I work in what I love, and I’m around pretty damn, awesome people.  But, I have lately figured that I am not very balanced.  That has been a real drain on me; this means from social life, to balancing my martial arts training with rest, or diet; my feeling is that a person should feel somewhat at ease or comfortable or fairly relaxed at least half of the time during the day or week.  I don’t feel that.  I maybe feel like this about 20-25% of the day or week only, and I don’t react and adapt to new stressors very well.  I am always prepared the next day for the stressors of yesterday, and I get thrown off by my inability to adapt and have to relearn the same damn lesson!  Gosh, that generalization sucks.  It’s like a math word problem: you can memorize the equation, but you can you apply it in different environments and where it counts?  As for me, heck no.  That is frustrating.

But, that balancing hard is difficult.  My Tai Chi teacher, Dr. Lee, did say it important to learn how to swim in the lake before the ocean – the ocean meaning real life and the lake or river indicates a closed environment in which one can focus on cultivating their practice.  Either way, most of us are dealing with some type of neurosis, and a lot of can be sourced from: past traumas, family situations, work situations, environmental situations, personal and emotional situations, and just pure life drama.  I guess it’s really about being calm during the storm or prepared internally and externally for it.  Do I have the answers?  No.  But at least I know what’s going on and I’m trying to ride that wave like a surfer rides the wave – I guess I need to be more relaxed and “feel” it rather than “analyze” it.  True introspection right therr.  Writing is therapy!

What’s a post without a corny meme?!

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Except the whole Texas, expletive.  What’s up with that?  😀

Have a good day.  chingyinwriting@gmail.com or find me on Facebook.

 

 

On Mentors

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Without mentors, we are all lost.  Maybe some people don’t need them?  Then, without mentors, I am lost.  I know some of my mentors when I was growing up definitely guided me on a spiritual and personal and ethical path that has lasted a lifetime.  For example, both of my main martial arts instructors helped me as a youth: Dr. (Tony) Sims and Dr. Lee.  Dr. Sims was very philosophical and critical of the world, partly because he is a psychologist and educator.  He taught me how to appreciate people, to make effort to stay connected with people, and to observe relationships and power dynamics (personally and publicly) with a critical light.  He also taught me to be critical of the culture I live in, people’s intentions, and my own actions.  They were some good lessons.  Also, he taught me something that I like to call “diagonal learning.” This means a prism to view the world through a deeper, richer, and more intellectual light; this means lessons and ideas that veer beneath and peripheral to mainstream society’s cultural script.  The cultural script is usually very limited and only gives a very basic guideline on how to live, and sometimes is straight up and flat out wrong.  However, it is unfortunate that people do not look around themselves and see for themselves if the cultural norms and their own beliefs align with the higher truth or the higher good.

Next, Dr. Lee, who is my Tai Chi teacher, is like a living saint.  While I have seen him be human, overall, he is loving and giving to everyone.  He never lets a person see his bad side, even if he hates them.  He has also taught Tai Chi for free at a park for 25 year – every Saturday for 25 years!  Can you believe that?  Also, he never asks for anything, but is also welcome to provide advice or tangible help whenever I need.  When I was in my early 20s, I remember my mother was missing and not answering her cell phone for a few hours.  He drove over to my house and waited for me.  Apparently, she left her phone somewhere or forgot to check it.  He’s also helped talked me out of various personal and spiritual crises.  He is also a model of discipline and hard work: he wakes up at 5:30am every morning to meditate for an hour.  He says it helps him start the day right.  He also makes Hong Kong milk tea for his wife every morning before she wakes up.  Now that’s a model for a perfect husband!

I am so thankful for their help.  Of course, I’ve had other mentors, like Johnson and Rob, who are both classmates of mine in Tai Chi.  They are by far wiser and smarter and more disciplined than me, and give me a model of how to live life and operate in response to the world around us.

While our families cloth and shelter us, our mentors actually can help us build castles in the sky and helps us realize the most highest forms of ourselves.

That’s it.  Have a good day!  Write to chingyinwriting@gmail.com or on Chingyin Writing on Facebook for comments!  😀

Thoughts about Writing, Stories, and Rambling

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Here I am, again.   I think this blog is a good opportunity to air out my thoughts and really get to the heart of writing: honesty (along with craft, skill, practice, and studying).  Yes, it has come to my attention that at the heart of writing good fiction is storytelling.  Most people can’t do it any more.  No one is original and people’s imagination seemed to have gone on pause.  Is it the over dependence on technology (which dulls our senses, attention span, and imagination), or the absolute control of the entertainment business by corporations, or has it simply gone out of fashion for one reason or another?  Everybody wants to rehash something, recreate an old formula, or simply trying to get big.  No one wants to take the time to get good.  That shit takes a long time, and perhaps not many people want to take that time to get good; it’s learn three chords and write a hit song, or train for 3 years and trying to make the national team, or trying to get a bestseller after 2 years.

I can stay and bide the time.  I am in it for good now.  This Friday stands as the last day that I am officially employed for a company.  After that, I cut the cord and I am cut off from mainstream society just a bit more.  I have to admit, I was tired as shit for about 5 days as my shifts were winding down, but I have some serious long term fatigue.  But as I am coming out of that spell, I feel so relieved and refreshed and alive and motivated.  All of those heavy feelings, neurosis, and simply energy drain from being in the wrong place at the wrong time are lifting off.  I am alive, awake, and ready for the present moment.  I feel great power lies in doing what you love, and I am feeling the effects more and more.  Each word I type, I feel as if I am doing my soul’s duty and I am in touch with the deepest core of my being.

Going back to biding my time, any accomplishment simply requires “Kung Fu” (a word used for Chinese Martial Arts), or “Kung” = effort, and “Fu” time.  So if it takes 10 years or so to really begin to master the craft, then hell, bring that shit on.  I’ll be close to 48 and doing my thing.

Yep.  So next, is an analysis on my writing skills.  I feel my storytelling abilities are slowly improving.  I feel I can weave together a plot and narrative, and my technical abilities (ability to describe a scene, to create a character, or to bring a feeling or sensation into fruition) are improving.  However, I do need work on improving my vocabulary.  I want to be a Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Mark Twain, a Henry David Thoreau, and not a modern novelist like Nick Hornsby (even though I love his work) and definitely not Nicholas Sparks (f*ck Nicholas Sparks).  I don’t want to just sell novels – I want to create stuff that is timeless.

Okay, I am getting tired.  Let’s take a crack at the beginning of a short story that I’ve been rolling around in my mind.

Here it goes:

The tinkering of glass reverberated throughout the small, one floor house in the still of the night.  Rapid footsteps trembled through the hallways as doors opened and slammed.  A faint sound of a woman screaming echoed in the house.  Nick turned over in bed, and rubbed his eyes.  The full moon was still illuminating the carpet of his bedroom as he sat up in his twin sized bed.  His long sleeve white and blue cotton pajamas laid lightly on his body, while the matching pants, that were given to him by his grandparents two years at Christmas, fitted comfortably around his waist and legs.  “Yo!” he heard in another room down the hall.  He snapped awake.  That was the sound of his father.  Nick quickly turned his body and laid his feet off the edge of the bed.  It is time to check up on what is going on, he thought to himself.

BOOM!  His bedroom door opened, and a dishoveled, grey-skinned, rabid lady, who appeared to be about 49 years old, stared him straight in the face with anger and desperation.  She lunged at him across the room with an urgency that could only be categorized as out of survival.  Nick leaped to his right side and dodged that strange lunge.  There were figures and loud footsteps in the hallway across the room.  The strange creature made another crazy lunge toward Nick, and this time he ducked his head as she flew crashing past him.  He jumped on and over his bed as he lifted the window open with quickness and the speed of jaguar, as his heart pumped with ____________ and sweat rained down his temples.  More figures and screams were heard trampling into the room, and he dove face first into the soft, mildewy, safe, clean, and mowed lawn of the suburbs – of every suburban neighborhood really.  Windows and glass crashed behind and then over him.

“Ahhhhh!!!!” he heard above him as he scampered to his feet, and used on the skills that he had honed in his track team in the past 2 years.  George and Jane would not believe him if he told them.  He sprinted trepidly for what seemed like hours, as he left all the noise and the creatures behind.  “What the fuck was that?  Why are they here?  Is this a dream?” he asked himself as he rested behind a dumpster in the downtown.  It was quiet now as his heavy breathing slowed down, and he had time to sit, rest, and reassess the situation.  “What is my best option?  Where should I go?  How can I survive?  What were those things?” he said to himself.  The first option would be to go to a store to get supplies.  The streets and town were eerily still and constrained.

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Okay, that’s my first go at a story in 4 years.  Not bad.  I feel I am able to create the story and move the action along without being cliche’ or resorting to cheap tricks (e.g. – gruesome deaths, morose thinking, or empty descriptions).  I also respect writers who can convey a lot of feeling and description with few words.  As opposed to saying: his leather jacket creased on the vinyl material of that classic vehicle, somebody like Social Distortion can write:

“Well it’s been ten years, and a thousand tears
And look at the mess I’m in
A broken nose and a broken heart,
An empty bottle of gin
Well I sit and I pray
In my broken down Chevrolet
While I’m singin’ to myself
There’s got to be another way.”

Those are lyrics from “Ball and Chain.”  Simply beautiful.  How can he convey so much feeling without actually physically describing a bottle, a car, or his actual emotions?  I want to write like that some day.  Other author’s can do that so well.  I do respect how authors like Hornsby (or Hornby?) can write such clever stories without describing the scenery much, but your Gabriel Marquez’s can describe everything to the tee, then discuss the character’s family background, and how their individual or collective memory is partly responsible for their actions and thoughts.  I wonder is this simplifying perhaps pre-Freudian psychology, or was he tapping into some deeper psychic impressions that the average human is not consciously aware of?

Either way, I’m off to being a writer, and this is a new start.  As Austin Powers would say: “Yeah baby (yeah)!” 🙂  Have a nice day.

As always: email: chingyinwriting@gmail.com or find me on Facebook as: Chingyin Writing.  Have a nice day.  I am glad all two of you took the time to read this bullshit.  🙂

 

 

Life is a Video Game

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Let’s say life is like a video game.  It really is.  The more your improve, and the better you get, it doesn’t simply get easier and you master it.  Life gets harder, like a boss!  Exactly like a boss – the big boss at the end of a level.  Why does it do this?  It’s like a metaphysical bow-flex – does anybody still own one of those horrible machines?

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Talk about ugg, with a side of ugg.  Rubber bars that provide you the resistance for your exercises.  The stronger you become, the more resistance the bowflux gives you.  Or in video games, the more skillful you become, the harder the level and boss.

Why is this?  Well, to some spiritual practitioners, this is basic stuff – I mean basic as in white girl and pumpkin spice latte basic, I mean basic as in an Asian girl drinking bubble tea with her boyfriend basic.  Okay, here we go.  We don’t live in just a physical world.  This is a spiritual, energetic, and metaphysical world.  There is so much to it that we can’t see.  Every moment we are alive, we are learning a lesson – whether it be painful, sublime, or happy.  To simplify this, I’m comparing this to be analogous to salmon swimming upstream – our purposes as spirits or souls, is to swim up the metaphysical river, pass the the big fish and bears, and reach the end point (the top of the stream or spiritual enlightenment).  We are souls that are reborn over and over again until this happens.  Just like there are levels, there are different realms or plains existence.  My calculation is that Earth is located right in the middle: not too good and not too bad.  Below this are realms that are more horrible and have greater suffering, and above it are realms that are more ethereal and light and maybe some that are not dependent on a physical body (which is the cause of a lot of suffering; e.g. –  getting sick, hangovers, being tired, etc.).

Now, each time we are reborn, we proceed based on the blueprint that we had created in a previous life or lives.  This is called karma.  What comes around goes around is literally true.  Next, after our death, we supposedly step out of our bodies, and can see the whole expanse of our previous lives and where we stand on the metaphysical stream.  Then we pick parents and life situations that will give us the greatest potential for spiritual growth.  We also grow up surrounded by people we used to know: family members, enemies, and friends.  There is order in the universe, which is why every time one problem passes, another one steps in so seamlessly – we are simply guppies in the metaphysical sea!

Now, how to defeat the big boss and beat the game?  Most likely, lots of meditation, training (any kind that hones the mind and spirit), and introspection.  I mean reaching enlightenment normally takes thousands of lives – that’s the good thing about karma maybe: there are infinite lives! 😀  Every time someone goes through a life, they do learn and get closer (ideally).  The Buddha did say that this realm has the greatest potential for enlightenment.  Perhaps because lower realms would be more difficult to advance because there is simply too much suffering and negativity.  Higher realms may not have a physical body, while it being nice, it does not give the individual that immediate feedback such as a headache after drinking too much, sickness if you neglect your health, or that lazy or uncomfortable feeling if you have not been exercising.  While those are negative traits, they also give our bodies and minds signals in order to change for the better.  If every day were a good day, would you be hungry to get better?

So that’s that.  That’s the overall backdrop of who we are and where we stand in the metaphysical world.  As far as the Heaven and Hell debate, I think those are just metaphors for the state of being that we are in (whether in life or post-life) – a life of fear and suffering or a life of wholesomeness, generosity, giving, and love.  Those are things we experience within a given day.

Life as a video game, presented by Chingyin Writing!  Throw down some comments.  What do you think?  chingyinwriting@gmail.com Facebook Page.

My Vision

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This feels a bit weird finally putting this down on paper, because it’s been haunting my mind for some time.  See, I finally “got” the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” around the age of 24.  What I mean is that I finally understood what the book and its lessons were about, whereas when I was 16, I asked myself: what the hell is a paradigm and what does it have to do with me?  One of the main things that Stephen Covey pushed was to write a personal mission statement; something that you can set yourself to and follow in your life.  He did say you can and should update this periodically in order to keep it current.  This is a nice idea, but I always feel that I should keep these ethics, principles, or dreams in my head or my heart.

Next, I remember stumbling upon a book about success by Jack Campbell (I think he’s the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” guy).  I did remember him talking about visualizing where you want to be, etc.  Covey also discussed “starting with the end in mind,” which is a common strategy used in lesson planning in education.  Again, I was not ready to commit to this; I  mean we’re talking about your end goal, your ultimate vision, etc.  This is pretty overwhelming stuff.  Also, I am a fan of the process, meaning rather than focusing on the end goal, to focus on the process of reaching that end goal.  I have always been an intrinsically motivated person, where if something is inherently good or worth pursing, I go for it with all of my heart.  If something is shitty, no matter how pretty the end goal is, I will not crawl through shit in order to reach some shallow end goal (let’s say get rich or earn respect); I would sooner as the person to eat it.

Now here we go: I want a house on several acres of land.  This will be in Howard County.  I want a martial arts school on that land, and within walking distance –  maybe 4-5 blocks away seems like a good commute.  I want an awesome martial arts school filled with hardworking, bright students.  I want time to write and meditate in the mornings, a few hours a day to spend in nature (with no devices or technology), I want to train 3-5 hours a day on my own (how is this possible if I am coaching all day?  Beats me).  I want a wife and children.  2-3 children would be nice.  I want to have my friends’ kids or nephews/nieces over at my place in the summers, so they can play on the land, go to amusement parks,and do all that stupid, fun stuff that kids loved back then (water gun fights, video games, movies, and sadly, some summer reading and assignments).  I guess that’s about it.  I can go into detail about what and how the martial arts school will be, but this is not an entry about my martial arts school, but the overall vision of my life.

While this may seem boring to some people, it would give me a regular rhythm for my life: pursuing things I love, being removed enough from people to have my space and time, yet helpful in building a community of people that will strive for well being and becoming a better version of themselves.  Also, I will get to write like a boss, and publish some good stuff.  I may or may not be a great writer, but I am going to publish some good shit, and that shit will pack meaning.  I also hope that I can get people to change their mind about the world, and question why they are doing the things they are doing and be more conscientious people on this Earth.

Last but least, I plan on living to about 120 years old.  My friend once told me that the natural lifespan of a Taoist (a Chinese religion with an emphasis on nature and imitating it and which has loose ethics precipitating [is that the right word?] on the inner goodness of human beings) is this age.  Heck, I might go 130 years old just to keep people on their toes.  Then there’s the stick:  being a Bodhisattva (a being that renounces enlightenment until all living beings are enlightened and out of the cycle or rebirth) vs. being a Buddha (reaching enlightenment, transcending this world, and most likely doing good, spiritual things to keep people and the world in balance, and probably chillin’ with other like-minded spirits – get it?  No taxes, no fights, no bad days, no body that can get sick and die, and no arguments and corrupt officials).  That’s for another post.

So, until then, this curious traveler is still moving along, making people’s eyes roll with his silly, obscure, and frivolous posts – about 30x longer than the average person’s attention span.  Okay, that’s subject for another post.  What more can I say?  I’d like to write more about enlightenment, the meaning of life, finding the self, feminism, bildungsroman novels, the 60s in the U.S., anthropology, the U.S. Constitution, John Muir, and other cool things in future posts.  I guess I’m trying to reach my level as a writer, and to see rocks I can turn over, what shadows I can uncover, and what light this work can shine to make things brighter.

What’s your vision?

Aight, peace, one love and all that.  Again, please comment below or write to: chingyinwriting@gmail.com with any questions or comments.  Holler.