Nothing to say, nothing to teach

About a month ago I started learning Italian. I was inspired to get in touch with my Italian roots after reading The Godfather by Puzo. So I downloaded an app called Duolingo which has been helpful and fun. I also started listening to il vangelo secondo Matteo on Youtube, and following along in my ESV to try and pick up the proper pronunciation of words, which has always been challenging for me. For example, I can’t roll my r’s, and stuff like that.

There’s also an app associated with Duolingo called Tinycards, which are flashcards. It’s fun to have everything I need to immerse myself (more of less) in this language for 10 or 20 minutes per day.

I enjoyed reading The Godfather more than I expected. Puzo is a genius at character development, and immersing you into the character’s psyche in a such way that you find yourself empathizing with them. You feel like you understand why they do what they do, even if you disagree morally and ethically with their actions. He is a master of creating tension and letting the reader be left with questions. The genius of the book, I think, is that in after finishing it I found myself thinking about the characters for weeks afterwards. Their humanness had come alive.

In many ways, I found myself wanting to emulate the Don’s character. His kindness, self-control, and compassion. He was quick to hear, slow to anger, slow to speak. He was a loving and faithful husband, father and friend. Of course, there were many other things about his character I don’t want to emulate. But again, the genius of Puzo. Creating real characters with real strengths and weaknesses.

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Micaela made this for her school math project. She had to create two animals out of coins that totaled less than $1.00. In picture two, the alert eye might pick up the use of a Canadian coin. This was a no-no. But I don’t think her teacher will notice.

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I also started learning how to play Blackbird on the guitar. What a great song! Hard to sing and play at the same time. But having a lot of fun.

Rachel bought the Little House on the Prairie songbook, which has such well known classics as “Pop, Goes the Weasel” and “Polly-Wolly-Doodle”.

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Another book I’ve been really enjoying is Alan Watts’ The Way of Zen. He does an outstanding job helping the Eastern perspective make sense to the Western mind. So many good quotes, but I’ll content myself with a few recent ones.

The perfection of Zen is to be perfectly and simply human. The difference of the adept in Zen from the ordinary run of men is that the latter are, in one way or another, at odds with their own humanity, and are attempting to be angels or demons. (162)

The basic position of Zen is that it has nothing to say, nothing to teach. The truth of Buddhism is so self-evident, so obvious that it is, if anything, concealed by explaining it. (163)

Of course, it only took 163 pages to conclude that!

The insight which lies at the root of Far Eastern culture is that opposites are relational and so fundamentally harmonious. Conflict is always comparatively superficial, for there can be no ultimate conflict when the pairs of opposites are mutually interdependent. Thus our stark divisions of spirit and nature, subject and object, good and evil, artist and medium are quite foreign to this culture. […]

This is a first principle in the study of Zen and of any Far Eastern art: hurry, and all that it involves, is fatal. (175)

Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world. […]

People in a hurry cannot feel. (176)

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Rachel and I enjoyed listening to Rich Roll’s interview with Guru Singh. (The Rich Roll Podcast – from January 9, 2017.) In response to one of Rich’s questions about raising children, and changes that come over the years, new challenges that arise, Singh says, “Enjoy the new role. When you enjoy the new role then you’re living. When you don’t enjoy the new role, any time you’re with them, you’re not alive.”

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Now for some Talia Joy!

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It’s cold!
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Talia drawing – jumping rope
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Talls with baby Lills when the cuzzes came to viz.