Out with the old and in with the new!

Happy Chinese New Year!

This week is the turn of the Chinese Calendar Year, and it is now the Year of the Rabbit. This is my birth year. To welcome it in, we’ve been organizing and cleaning our house, office and studio. Everything is now organized and clear for us to think and work with focus and clarity. It’s amazing how just organizing your closets, and cleaning those usually neglected shelves and cupboards can give you a renewed energy to focus and work. I’ve done everything from overhauling my art studio, to preparing my taxes ahead of deadline. I’ve also rewritten my entire Kung Fu personal notebook, full of meditation, practice, Qi Gong and Tai Chi notes, and in doing so, got to revisit the teachings again.

We’ve done all this in the past few weeks, and it’s really been a great help towards better focusing our work projects, which is also helping us create more personal time. I highly recommend doing it.

I’ve also made a resolution with my sister to learn Mandarin. I find learning languages difficult, and of all languages, Mandarin is one of the harder ones to master. However,  I’ve decided that learning this language will be a perfect way to stretch my mind and help me understand the culture of my ancestors.

Buddhist Retreat in Thailand

I’m very excited that the universe keeps moving me towards Buddhism and doing things to help bring enlightenment, peace and happiness to others.

Firstly, my childhood buddy Marcel has just bought a piece of land in Thailand to build a Buddhist retreat. Construction starts early next year. He plans to make it a place for people to visit for free to meditate and find themselves. I’ve volunteered to go out there and help him with the construction when the time comes.

Secondly, Sifu and I have been busy developing our business plan to produce and sell oriental ointments that she formulates. We use them all the time at the dojo, and a lot of oriental families have their own recipes handed down over generations for different remedies. We’re hoping to bring the benefits of these ointments to people of the West. We’re not sure if it will be a huge flop or a great success, but we’re willing to give it a try and see what happens.

Thirdly, my good friend and work associate Steve, has been sculpting a Buddha which is really cute and is going to sell it on my dharmarama site once I have it up and running. He’s been sculpting intricate pieces of jewelry too and after chatting with me tonight, he’s going to add more Buddhist pieces to the collection. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with the ideas we brainstormed 🙂

Now all I have to do is work on my collection of mandala paintings.

Art Projects

In the spirit of altruism, I’ve spent my free time this weekend doing art projects to help out my friends: A logo for the Women’s Chiropractic Wellness Club for Sifu’s school, loosely based on the male version of the same logo, and a vectorized version of my friend Sean’s patriotic logo for his ‘Warrior Song’, currently at 1,000,000 plays and going strong…..all profits from track sales going to America’s War Veterans. He’s raised over $10,000 so far. It’s somehow a strange coincidence to me that there are several common factors to these completely opposite art requests. Sean is a right winged, Hemmy riding, meat eating Republican from Chicago, who is admittedly sexist, pro-guns, very Christian, and loves all military stuff, as all good Republicans do. His song is about warriors. With that description, why is he my friend you might ask? He’s a nice guy, a talented musician, and every once and a while, he helps me out when I ask him to. So he’s a good friend and a good person in my eyes, despite our political, social and religious differences. In contrast, Sifu is Buddhist, studies Chinese Medicine, is mostly vegetarian, drives a Hybrid and teaches Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong at her school called Scholar Warrior. I don’t think these two good friends of mine could be anymore different if they tried. The connection? Well, there’s me, there’s the Warrior and there are wings in both these logos, that both of them have asked me to create for them this past week. Perhaps tenuous you may think, but Buddhist theory teaches to find the common in people so that we can appreciate that we are all really the same. Right?

Eventually I’ll get around to creating those Mandalas for myself ;p