Today’s Words of Wisdom

Self flip-flops between reading fan fiction and Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power.

Today’s words of wisdom are from Greene, p. 10. There’s a rather horrific story about “The Snake, The Farmer, and the Heron.” Everyone in the story stabs each other in the back, until finally the only innocent person in the story, the farmer’s wife, suffers unspeakable violence.

The story ends with this moral:

“When you see water flowing uphill, it means that someone is repaying a kindness.” — African Folk Tale

And from Voltaire: “Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Friday Wisdom

This bit of advice comes from Robert Greene, whose The 48 Laws of Power is self’s “go-to” reading — after fan fiction.

The thing about reading fan fiction is that, if self stays up late reading — which is often the case (Please do not look away, dear blog readers, as it will take self just 1 minute to get past this bit) — her eyes get very red and swollen and she looks like a mess the following morning (Oh the angst, the angst! Self is a furious Read the rest of this entry »

The Five-Year Happiness Project

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Self read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project last year. It took her ages to finish, because she found herself poring over practically every page.

Last week, at the Huntington Gardens, she found a small blue journal in the gift shop.  It’s a one-sentence journal, with months marked on the top of each page, and five spaces below, each space marked:  20__, 20__, 20___

Self began the journal on Sept. 11, she filled in the date 2014.

It’s now Sept. 15, and she’s managed to fill in NOTHING since then. But she might today, because she’s heading to Frasier Park, where a friend has a house.

There’s a quote on each page of the journal. Today, Sept. 15, the quote is:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Between 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

At Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, there were many, many inspirational and self-help books that addressed such subjects as emotional stress, attaining inner peace, etc.  Self would estimate that almost half the store consisted of books aimed at people who wanted to be in a better place —  emotionally, spiritually, mentally, even financially.

And why not?  A majority of the people in the world are trying to get to a better place.  We are all “between,” we are all transitioning.

Here are a few titles from Vroman’s that caught self’s fancy (She wouldn’t have taken pictures of these books if not for this week’s Photo Challenge, so thank you WordPress Daily Post and the Broken Light Collective, who were responsible for coming up with this week’s photo challenge):

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BTW, Vroman’s is a truly great bookstore.

Because not only do they carry books, they carry bling!  Like these house slippers self bought, for $14.99:

"Ballerina Bling" fleece-lined house slippers to prove you're not in Kansas anymore.  $14.99/pair at Vroman's.

“Ballerina Bling” fleece-lined house slippers to prove you’re not in Kansas anymore. $14.99/pair at Vroman’s.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Back to Reading THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

Self is back in Redwood City, California.

Which can only mean two things:

She is back to watching all the episodes she missed of Game of Thrones Season 4 — which she missed because, you know, Ireland.

She is back to perusing The 48 Laws of Power, by brilliant (because-from-Harvard) Professor Robert Greene.

Here, for example, is Law # 14:

Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

In the realm of power, your goal is a degree of control over future events.  Part of the problem you face, then, is that people won’t tell you all their thoughts, emotions, and plans.  Controlling what they say, they often keep the most critical parts of their character hidden — their weaknesses, ulterior motives, obsessions.  The result is that you cannot predict their moves, and are constantly in the dark.  The trick is to find a way to probe them, to find out their secrets and hidden intentions, without letting them know what you are up to.  (p. 103)

On p. 104, there’s a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:

If you have reason to suspect that a person is telling you a lie, look as though you believed every word he said.  This will give him courage to go on; he will become more vehement in his assertions, and in the end betray himself.  Again, if you perceive that a person is trying to conceal something from you, but with only partial success, look as though you did not believe him.  The opposition on your part will provoke him into leading out his reserve of truth and bringing the whole force of it to bear upon your incredulity.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Random in Ireland

It is a beautiful, beautiful day here in County Cork.

Self added a few names to the list of Irish places she needs to check out (if possible, all within the next week — bwah ha haaaa):

  • Skibbereen
  • Kenmare
  • the Dingle Peninsula

She’s also adding two more names to the list of Irish poets she wants to read:

  • Ciaran Carson
  • Michael Longley

Finally, a series of random observations:

A young woman at the dinner table last night had a tattoo on her forearm that said:

Living is easier with your eyes closed.

It’s from the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields.”  Self loves it.  She thinks she will make that her life motto.

In her B & B in Inchicore, self heard this song playing on the radio one day:

City girls just seem to find out early . . .  You can’t hide your lying eyes. And your smile is a thin disguise.  I thought by now you’d realize.  There ain’t no way to hide your lying eyes . . . 

It’s an old Eagles song, who would have thought she’d encounter it again in Dublin?

Tomorrow, self is moving on:  to Café Paradiso in the city of Cork, which until recently was just a restaurant until the proprietors decided to add a handful of guest rooms to the upper floor.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.   Stay tuned.

 

 

Buddha Mind

This afternoon is self’s Vinyasa Flow class.

It is soooo relaxing.

Self has been pondering taking a course on Buddhism.

For, as Japanese sage Hakuin Ekaku (1685 – 1768) once said:

To study Buddhism is to study yourself.  To study yourself is to forget yourself in each moment.  Then everything will come and help you.  Everything will ensure your enlightenment.

–  Nakahara Nantenbo (1839 – 1925)

She did actually ponder learning more about Buddhism, but there are so many things going on in her life at the moment.

Dear Departed Sister-in-Law Ying was a Buddhist, and a gentler soul never lived.  When she died in Tel Aviv, in 2008, self was heartbroken.  Her ashes are in the family crypt in Manila, but some are in a temple in Bangkok, per her instructions.

Ying!  She was so proud of self that she would carry around a copy of self’s books, and when people would ask what she was reading, she would show them.

Now that self is contemplating the Buddhism thing, she also remembers hearing about Shari Epstein, a former classmate at Stanford, who was said to have founded a city on the northern California coast.  A Buddhist, peaceful city.  What was its name?  Drat self and her horrible memory.  The City of 10,000 Buddhas?  Something like that?  In Ukiah?

She recalls, too, a teacher named David Nivison (whose books are all available on Amazon) who taught a class called Zen and Nothingness.  Can you believe actually taking a class like that?  Self recalls the first day:  there we were, Chinese Studies and Asian Languages students, scattered around the small classroom.  The professor enters:  a very very tall and a very very skinny man.  Without preamble, he opens his mouth and begins the lecture.

We students look at each other in dismay.  The teacher’s mouth is moving, but no one can hear anything.  Slowly — and as surreptitiously as possible — a few students begin moving closer to the front of the classroom.  By the end of that quarter, this is how the chairs were arranged:  Prof. Nivison seated at his desk facing the class, and all our chairs circled around his desk, some even touching the desk, and everyone straining their darndest to make sense out of this Zen and Nothingness which — don’t ask self to explain the concept, it’s something like the sound of one hand clapping.  She knows there was a midterm and a final, and she passed both. But she has no idea what she wrote, what she filled her Blue Book with. Her grade, she recalls, was a B.  Which was extremely kind of Prof. Nivison.

Back to the Buddha Mind!

When we are trying to be active and special and to accomplish something, we cannot express ourselves.  Small self will be expressed, but big self will not appear from the emptiness.  From the emptiness only great self appears.

Now synapses are firing like crazy in self’s brain, for she remembers the Abnegation faction in Divergent, which she made yet another attempt to read last night, before giving up and going back to re-reading Mockingjay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Most Irresistible Quote of the Day 2: From The Lizard Queen @GrinningDuchess

Substituting one thing with another that’s just as bad isn’t the same thing as quitting or letting go. —  @GrinningDuchess, Twitter

Amen, @GrinningDuchess.  Amen.

Most Irresistible Quote of the Day

Not to know is bad.  Not to wish to know is worse. —  Nigerian Proverb

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From the Long-Unheard From (Robert Greene)

The 48 Laws of Power is such an entertaining book!

Whenever self is desperate for a pick-me-up, she lets the book fall open on a random page.

Tonight she lands on Law # 3, p. 19

At the top of the page is a quote from that most learned Jesuit, Baltasar Gracian (1601 – 1658)

Do not be held a cheat, even though it is impossible to live today without being one.  Let your greatest cunning lie in covering up what looks like cunning.

Ugh.

Then self starts to ponder:  what if the shoe were on the other foot?  What if you looked at someone and thought: You are cunning, but I’m on to you.  You think I’m stupid, but I know you’re a cheat.

It truly is exhausting to be cunning.

Whereas, to be able to detect cunning is not only relaxing, it is empowering.  Because it makes you feel absolutely brilliant. Like Sherlock Holmes 3.0.  Especially if you happen to just stumble across the revelation.  While frosting a cake, say.  Draped in an apron.

Self wishes the part that spells out “Observance of the Law” weren’t about 1850 and the young Otto von Bismarck, about the unification of the German states, about the war against Austria, about speechifying.

Self turns the page.  Apparently, von Bismarck came out as a peace advocate, addressing the German parliament and urging it not to declare war against its neighbor.  Then, as soon as he was appointed a member of the cabinet, he goaded a peace-loving king into war with Austria, “crushing the former empire and establishing a mighty German state.”

Interpretation of the Law:  “By being completely insincere and sending misleading signals, however, he deceived everyone, concealed his purpose, and attained everything he wanted.”

But what if you don’t know what you want, and advocate one course of action, but subconsciously want the opposite, and then things just turn out right by sheer coincidence?  Like, what if you’re not insincere, just confused?  And what if things turn out right because you’re lucky, but people think it was because you were insincere?

Just try wrapping your head around that one for a minute!

How did that song from Queen go?

Mama Mia, Mama Mia, Bee-yehl-ze-bub has a devil put aside for me.  For meeeeee!!!  For ME!!!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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