Thursday, January 20, 2011

Right as Drinking a cup of Tea

Peter Bregman wrote a nice post on 'The Value of Ritual in Your Workday' (December 2010). In this post he points at the power of 'Pause' and 'Focus'.

He starts his post with a scene from the movie 'The Last Samurai'. Peter was most moved by the scene of a Samurai drinking tea: "Sitting at a low table, he moved deliberately, singularly focused on his tea. He contemplated it. Then poured it. Then sipped it, tasted it, and, finally, swallowed it. This, I realized, was the source of the samurai's strength. His acrobatics were impressive, but they were merely a oblique demonstration of his strength. The source was this tea ritual and many other rituals like it. His power as a warrior came from his patience, precision, attention to subtlety, concentration, and his reverence for the moment."

This is my comment on Peter's post:
The most striking scene for me on this movie: Samurai with their sources ;) fighting against machineguns. Lack of fit/ adapt/ learn. Technology changed - and still does - the way battles were fought. Frontal mass attacks of Samurai against working machineguns. It's suicide! Samurai should fight with guerrilla tactics. It would so much better fit to their strengths/ sources.

Frontal attack of Samurai on machineguns is like sweeping the deck of the Titanic. You will die! Adapt or die.  The Samurai of today are the commando's. With patience and concentration they hit precise at the Right moment. "Right" as drinking a cup of tea.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Suddenly everything is lost

A few days ago I checked out a few paper books looking for a quote. I found :)  what I was looking for. 

During this browsing exercise I found also something else. A little quote I lost in some way. Not really lost but out of my daily consiousness. I lost it for more than 10 years. It's a quote I'm very fond of. Andreas Burnier, 'De litteraire salon' (1983):
"Nu ik oud ben, heb ik vele vrienden, geliefden, vluchtige partners gekend. Ik weet nu dat het meeste menselijke contact niets betekent, absoluut niets. Mensen komen en gaan, praten honderuit, vertellen hun laatste zorgen en intimiteiten, verklaren hun liefde en eeuwige trouw, zweren met bloed beklonken vriendschap, storten zich vol passie in elkaars armen en dan, ineens, is het over, de woorden verloochend, het feest tot as vergaan."

I don't want to translate the quote in Dutch literally. If you really want to know it's details ... work! perspire! It's one of my Chinese gardens

This is my translation in 1 tweet: "Life: people come and go. Friends. Lovers. Eternal love. Suddenly everything is lost. The party is over.

How about you: Do you find things too, by accident, while looking for something else?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Listening to Crystal Gayle

King Offa was one of the kings who lived in the 8th century in Great Britain. To protect his kingdom Mercia against the various kingdoms of Wales he built a great dyke between his and theirs. Offa's dyke is a great earthen barrier of circa 283 km that runs between England and Wales.
In 1989 I walked with friend X the long distance path that roughly follows Offa's Dyke. Clouds. Lot's of clouds. Most of the days heavy with rain. Rain. We had a lot of it. Sun. We had more of that.

After a few days we got more and more tired. Rucksack of 20 kg. Walking 30 kilometers each day. Sleeping in a little tent in the middle of "nowhere".

One evening we arrived at the top of another hill. Beauty is subject to inflation if you see it after every corner of the road. Tired. Looking for a place to sleep. I walked back to the house we just passed some minutes ago. Another night at a Bed-Breakfast? Wow, yes please. That would be nice. Warm hot bath. Comfortable bed. Something to eat?

Setback! No beds left. We discussed about what to next. The landlord of the Bed-Breakfast walked to us. "There is another Bed-Breakfast down the road. I just called. If you want to, you can stay there. Do you want a ride in my Landrover?" Yes please!

1 hour later. Shaved. Took a bath. Sitting in a warm and cozy room of a Manor. Music of  Crystal Gayle - her music was new to me. Soup. Bread. Stew (cawl?). Wine. It was the best meal I ate in my life.

What Food, Glorious food! story do you want to share?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011