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a mooncake and simplicity

My Depression returned last Thursday. The weather in Glasgow didn't help much. It had been cold since our arrival and 'last Thursday' was the coldest night of all.
At times when I could fight with a feather, I head off to the nearest restaurant - there is nothing like good food and a bottle of red wine, to lift the spirit in moments of gloom.
Across the way from the theatre there stood a Japanese/Chinese emporium built in a curious circular shape, like an ancient temple - so I wrapped up (because it really was biting, with a hard, chilling wind) and shuffled over the mucky roadworks and through the queues of gridlocked tin boxes to the haven of peace and warmth at the other side.
(this is the third post I have made recently about crossing a road and reaching a door, to get to safety)
I was half-way through my meal, when the owner came over. "Oh", she said "I thought you were Chinese. "It's the way you eat."
I always use chopsticks and a rice bowl when I eat Chinese or Japanese food. I was taught by a dancer from China, in the late 70's and the habit has stuck. I find the food really does taste better when eaten with wooden chopsticks, rather than cold steel. I personally find plastic chopsticks have a synthetic feel. Simple wooden chopsticks - not lacquered, are the best for me - it's easier to grip food with them (and hold them).

Lin-Lin instructed me with regimental zeal...

"No! No!" - "Hold between thumb and first finger! Also pressing against second!.."
"Rice bowl Up! Up closer to mouth!"
"Now scoop!"

thirty years ago.

Before my Stonehenge Epiphany, I had a tendency to be a bit of a stand-offish old fogey  - especially if I was busy eating and thinking (and drinking) in a restaurant. Thankfully the magic of the old stone has remained and I now understand why I should try to make it there every year.
I still feel shy, but I like the warmth, when I reach out.

So I thanked the owner for her comments on my eating skills and (mistakenly?) told her that I was performing in the show opposite her rotunda. I could hear the strains of "There's No Business like..." as one by one I was introduced to the entire staff. Finally I was invited (dragged over) to join in the karaoke...

I declined.


It was a step too far. Even though I chunter through my "Jacob" lines each night "Joseph's Mother, she was quite my favourite wife..." The concept of Old Father Time (I'm 65 on the 25th) shaking his hips and singing "Is this the way to Amarillo?",  together and at odds with a backing-group of assorted waiters and cooks  - singing that chorus, over and over and over again to startled patrons (who had probably just seen me in the theatre) was too much to bear.
I had started to leave, when a waitress approached and handed me a fortune cookie. Most times, I leave them alone at the end of a meal - but the way it was offered to me, made me take it. There was nothing in the outward shape of the gesture, or the quiet voice - the dynamic message came from the impulse within.

"Open It!"

It wasn't a prediction, it was a statement of something I have always known, but occasionally forget...

"All together now!" "Is this the way to..."


Later in my hotel room, the magic started to fade. After all, it was only a fortune cookie wrapped in tin-foil...
...So I looked up 'fortune cookies' - surfed around and found "The History of Fortune Cookies."
"For many centuries the Chinese have marked special occasions and festival times such as harvest and New Year with the giving and receiving of Moon Cakes..."

A reminder from the Universe, sealed in a traditional Chinese Mooncake, seemed more plausible and substantial than a message on a slip of paper from a mass-produced cracker. 
It was the same message - but my spiritual snobbery was reluctant to admit it.

As I search for complications to justify my belief, I tend to ignore the obvious and simple.

The packaging around an object or a person,  has over-influenced me so many times.
I don't want to say 'too' many times, because I know that was my path.  
"in time of daffodils who know - the goal of living is to grow" ~ e.e. cummings

Happiness is a Fortune Cookie

The Chinese New Year is on the 26th
The year of the Ox

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Lilly said... 13 January 2009 at 21:11

Hello there Henry

First, no offence to anyone who lives in Glasgow but it is dark and depressing.

And you must be tired as travelling is exhausting. If I could send you some sunshine I would!

I get depressed now given my experiences in Scotland, strangely enough. My doctor said it was episodic depression but somehow I fear it has set in to be something that will happen every now and then when I get flashbacks. I have to fight it hard sometimes. Thats life I guess. And it seems at least that people can talk about it now were once they could not.

Oh my how funny, show me the way to Amarillo. My Scottish ex had a Bistro called that. Imagine! It also seems to be the theme song for so many football clubs...

I hope you took that fortune cookie to heart - that is exactly what you do.

I am shy too (no-one believes that)but you are right it is better when we reach out to others. I would guess most bloggers are unless they are selling something.

"The packaging around an object or a person, has over-influenced me so many times."

So true and we all do it and its a mistake as well know and learn.

I think I may go and get some fortune cookies just for the hell of it!

Stay warm and where will you be for your birthday?

Lilly xx

Eric S. said... 13 January 2009 at 23:58

I hope you know how appropriate that fortune cookie was. It fairly describes you well.

The only places I have been overseas is Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Spain. All while I was young and in the service. The winters in Germany had a tendency to be dark and dreary, lending to a slight case of the doldrums.

I can't imagine how much traveling you have to do. I'm not sure I could deal with that part of your career. I'm sure it's interesting in that you get to see so many places though.

When I go into a restaurant, I have a tendency to head for the table farthest away, where I can watch the door, but not be seen or observed. I think it comes from my defensive nature, and I don't really like crowds.

Hope your spirit has been lifted, and your feeling a little more cheerful.

Anonymous said... 14 January 2009 at 15:46

Hi there Lilly and Eric ~ I'm doing 15hr days 7 days per week at the moment and will be for the next month until the new cast is in place. This together with going to Bristol, Brighton, Malvern and Dublin is rather exhausting.

I'm blogreading whenever I have the time and the energy...thank you for visiting and leaving comments...they mean a lot to me...

I am reading blogs when I can and I look forward to the work-pace lessening



Unknown said... 18 January 2009 at 17:38

Wow, 15 hour days are not good... :(
Much too exhausting!
What a lovely message...I have a friend that plays french horn and has a very good singing voice. I can still rememeber my son's jaw drop when he watch him singing on our karaoke - "Who let the dogs out".
It still makes me laugh to this day...
Messages arrive via many means and it seems this one was very timely :)
Take care Henry and I hope you feel a little more uplifted now...

Anonymous said... 21 January 2009 at 20:56

Okay..Now I am laughing, as I just wrote about the Chinese New Year on your other blog, and am now reading this post for the first time...LOL..I can add something fun (with no real purpose) that we were out last Friday evening practicing for the New Years parade. It was freezing cold (yes, in Houston) and we were running around the parking lot under this huuuuge dragon (the dragon dance). We were cold, but we all ended up laughing and having a great time. The Chinese that work in the surrounding stores all came out to cheer us on, and applaud. Two weeks ago, we did the same under the full moon in the evening. It was a magical feeling, and we had loads of fun! Ah, the Tao! and, riding the dragon of strength and inner teacher (Grandmaster from Chen district) tells us.....we all have small or large problems in life, but we can
always come to Tai Chi, experience the Tao (the Way) and feel harmony, and build inner strength. He ain't kidding! It has touched my life in so many ways...and, my left knee is healed, which is great.

Anonymous said... 21 January 2009 at 21:12

Almost forgot....we January babies are pretty cool (hehe). I was 42 on the 15th. My husband gave me a beautiful necklace with diamonds and a gorgeous red garnet (my birthstone). I have wanted one for years, and he happened to remember that this year...this is going to be a fantastic year, Henry! (with a big "H")...

Anonymous said... 9 February 2009 at 18:25

Hi Henry, the weather here right now is very dreary and much though I fight it, it dampens the spirit as much as the clothing :) So you have my sympathy, and though I hope you are somewhere bright and cheerful weatherwise right now I know the forecast for the UK all too well and change my wish to a better one... that your head heart and spirit are in a warmer, cosy place at least.

It seems to me that you may be shy but it's also obvious that you are warm (see a theme developing here?) and that as a result strangers will warm to you; whether you are ready or not :) I can imagine that can be disconcerting.

Anonymous said... 9 February 2009 at 20:51

Hi Bird ~ I'm in Dublin at the moment - wet cold and Arrrrrgh!!


Anonymous said... 15 February 2009 at 15:34

henry, if you believe that thoughts define your perceived existence, then you begin to realize thinking itself isolates a particular moment or situation and defines it as good or bad. When you rely too much on your mind, you fragment your existence and create nagging illusions. An experience seems very real when you emprison your mind on a specific energy frequency. Any label, including good and bad, are illusions. They are based on a limited perspective. When someone says, "that's terrible or that's great!" you can respond with, "maybe." This is a way to train yourself not to judge where you are. To accept possiblities, you enter into conscious alignment with higher thinking. This is beyond ego, beyond any place where the mind can judge. It is a way to initiate healing from inside.

Anonymous said... 17 March 2009 at 03:31

This is my first time to read this blog - but won't be my last. Great writing so far! How are you handling your depression overall?

Anonymous said... 23 March 2009 at 01:23

HI Henry. I loved the way the blog post progressed as you made your way to the Fortune Cookie Message. Then your thoughts about it after.

Hope you find the sunshine soon.


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