Dear Readers:

 

Once again we enter the darkest days of the year. Our ancestors were pretty intelligent when they decided to hold a celebration at this time–no matter what the reason. I look forward to seeing the lights on the houses, they brighten my spirits. It’s one of the highlights of Christmas for me so I hope lots of people put them up this year.

Emotions during the winter holidays can be a mixed bag. In my impressionable years, I had the good fortune of having family living close and we all celebrated with the same traditions every year. It was predictable and comforting. I’ve tried to hold onto some of those rituals because they held the magic of the season.

The other day as I was walking on Mt. Tabor reminiscing on childhood Christmases, I realized I’ve never been quite the same since my parents died. There’s a part of me that belonged with them. That’s a loss that can never be replaced and I don’t think we should try. We have memories of happy times but present time carries the sorrow of separation. We learn how to live without certain people in our lives.

 

We are fortunate to have so many great libraries in Portland. Thanks to those of you who voted yes on Measure 26-143. It’s good to see all the people there and a person can’t help but get educated by going there regularly.

I recently discovered my new favorite inspirational writer, Paolo Coelho. He was born in Brazil in 1947 and led a hippie life traveling around South America, North Africa, Mexico and Europe during his early adulthood. He returned to Brazil working as a songwriter for many famous musicians and was even arrested for “subversive” activities by the ruling military government.

In 1986 Coelho went to Spain where he walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela. He was on this path when he had  a spiritual awakening. He found the way and since then, has written thirty books. So far I have only read The Alchemist. This book was like reading Steppenwolf  for the first time back in the 60s, which grabbed my imagination and led me to believe there was more to life than meets the eye. It’s easy to forget that when you get caught up in the exigencies of daily life. Reading The Alchemist inspired me to remember the possibilities our imagination can inspire.

The Coelho story is about a young man who gets bumped out of his complacent life and goes in search of his treasure. Along the way he meets the alchemist whose mystical teachings enable him to draw on his inner strength to achieve his own “personal legend”. The gist being that if the pursuit of your dream is right the soul of the universe will conspire to help you. It is a hopeful idea.

I plan to read more of Coelho’s books. In the meantime I’ve been following his blog and he recently told this story that I think is one to share.

 

The Three Editions of Tao Te King by Paulo Coelho on November 25, 2012

 

A Japanese legend tells of a certain monk who was so enraptured by the beauty of the Chinese book “Tao Te King” that he decided to raise money to have those verses translated and published into his language. It took him ten years to raise enough funds.

However, a pest swept through the country and the monk decided to use the money to relieve the suffering of the sick. As soon as the situation became normal, once more he started to gather the amount necessary to publish the Tao.

Another ten years passed by, and when at last he was ready to print the book a seaquake left hundreds of people homeless. Once more the monk spent all the money on rebuilding the houses of those who had lost everything. Another ten years passed by, he gathered the money again and finally the people of Japan were able to read the “Tao Te King.”

The wise men say that this monk actually made three editions of the Tao: two are invisible and one is in print.

He kept his faith in his objective without ever failing to care for his neighbor.