You Gotta Wobble Before You Stand

February 25, 2023

Quote of the Week

"Change is hardest in the middle" -- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Hokusai Says

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it,
repeat yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.

He says everyone of us is a child,
everyone of us is ancient,
everyone of us has a body.
He says everyone of us is frightened.
He says everyone of us
has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive–
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

By Roger S. Keyes 

At times hardships and tests show up at our doorstep unannounced, and at others we actively choose to go into the heart of hard things. We twist, wobble, bend, stretch, even feel somewhat broken. But that is okay; we grow as we learn and learn as we grow. Gather with your family to reflect on this poem or share it with grown children for their own reading. Our point is that gracefully and attentively going through hard things could be a spiritual practice in itself, though it often may look otherwise. We hope some of these words stay with you and your family.

A little background: the author, Roger Keyes, was a highly respected scholar of Japanese print. He studied the works of Katsushika Hokusai, was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period in Japan (mid 1800s), who practiced single-pointed attention, perseverance, exploration -- much akin to Buddhist teachings -- that came into presence through his art. See the feature photo above. Keyes brings out the spiritual voice of Hokusai through this poem.

Reading Corner

Title: The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Ages: 10 and above

This week we bring to you a classic historical fiction for children; a crucible of real-world matters from family experiences to race and civil rights era to grit and growth-mindset are stitched together. As one reviewer tells, "Ten-year-old Kenny is tormented by school bullies and his brother Byron, but when a family trip to the segregated South turns tragic, it is Byron who rescues his brother from trauma. Byron gently coaxes Kenny to reconcile with the monsters and angels that nearly destroy him. As Kenny makes peace with life’s joys and cruelties, readers realize that giving up is not an option..."

Invite children in your family to dive into this book.

Find a free pdf of the book at this labor-of-love book project.

Be the Change

Build a Bridge

This week invite your children or those around you to build a bridge with everyday objects found in most homes. Get started with this link. As they delve into this creative process, ask them to notice where they feel stuck, with an urge to stop or settle. Encourage them to carry on. The structure they create may wobble before it stands. That's the invaluable wisdom we hope this exercise will bring. 

Wait, some more goodies: share and listen to this upbeat song from the movie Kiki's Delivery Service with your family. It also inspired the title of this week's newsletter.