Friday, August 31, 2012

Hello & Welcome

Hi! I'm Ray & I am a budding chef, gifter, personal assistant, somebody's hero, avid reader, meditation student, coffee lover, wine enthusiast, dry humorist, friend, art liker, & lover of life.

The tile of my blog, strangely enough, refers to Winnie the Pooh. Ha you say! How does an uncarved block relate to Winnie the Pooh? Well, I'll tell you. In 1982, writer Benjamin Hoff wrote a book called The Tao of Pooh. This book's purpose was to introduce the Eastern belief system of Taoism to a larger audience in the Western world. 

Hoff employs the characters from the A. A. Milne classic, Winnie the Pooh to explain the basic principles of philosophical Taoism in a simple and easy to read manner. For instance, Owl, Rabbit, & Eeyore each represent a form of a distracted lifestyle. Owl searches for knowledge to appear wise. Rabbit searches for knowledge to appear clever and Eeyore is just to pessimistic to enjoy life. Pooh, on the other hand, embodies, the essence of Taoism through his ability to effortlessly do (wei wu wei) & to just be (pu). 

Pooh is the uncarved block. Think about it. Pooh just kinda has things work out for him in the end without much effort on his part at all. Pooh is the embodiment of the phrase "He stepped in manure but came up smelling like a rose." The essence of the uncarved block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed. This principle applies not only to things but to people as well.

Ok. so now in a three paragraph essay I've explained the title of my blog. Now, how does that refer or relate to Ray? Well, for many, many years I was the embodiment of Owl & Rabbit. I thirsted for knowledge to appear smart, wise, and clever. All the while I was cheating myself. I mean, I had a head full of information and I was more than willing to chime in just about any subject. Just ask my friends! But I wasn't living life. I was just trying to be something I wasn't. I was the epitome of the Ferris Bueller quote "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." The next thing I knew, I was in my 40's and running in quicksand. I had never been out of North America. I'd never been to an art museum. I'd never eaten sushi.

Next thing you know I met this amazing individual who is the most awesome individual I've ever encountered. She introduced me to meditation as a way to  relax. I was an extremely uptight individual (just like Rabbit). My introduction to meditation had led me to other forms of Eastern philosophy, including Taoism, which is where I've landed. By embracing Taoism, my goal is to be the uncarved block of wood. To effortlessly do & to just be. Hey, if it works for Pooh, it can work for me.

Finally, what can you expect from this blog & why should you read it? 

Well, I promise a little of this and a little of that. Some funny stories, a recipe here and there, some life experiences, a picture once in a while & a bunch of stuff about Star Wars (lightsabers & Jedi's) & Superman (I have an entire room dedicated to my Superman collectibles in my home. Can you say obsession?)

So stick around & we will have some fun. I know that we won't agree on everything that I bring up but I am open to criticism and I love a good debate. Feel free to comment on anything in the blog. I'm more than happy to discuss anything that I blog about.