To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. William Blake, from "Auguries of Innocence"

Monday, June 1, 2015

Making mistakes

Dear Daughter,
It has been a while, but I am returning to writing these blogs that you will be able to read.

Recently I finished a Yoga Teacher Training as you know, and you made this amazing picture for me and tried to write “Papa” in Devanagari. It was so sweet, but it says “Pipa”, which is some how even better than the real thing because it does not exist in Sanskrit, which makes it even more special! Sometimes, things that are “mistakes” are the portals to new discoveries and ideas.

Never be afraid to make a mistake.

I Love You,

Papa, or “Pipa”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tounge-Tied and Tie-Dyed

Dear Daughter,

Well, as you are learning, English is a very strange language. Unlike Dutch, where everything sounds the way it is written, and is written as it sounds, without exception, English seems to be nothing but exceptions.

We were talking about cleaning out the flower vase, and you said that I needed to use Javel (Belgian brand of bleach), and I agreed.

But, you added, that I needed to be careful not to spill any on my shirt because it would make it white.

I then told you that it would be returning it to the original color, since all of our cotton clothes are originally white, but then if they are colored, that means that they have been dyed at some point.

Then, you later said, “oh, so if you spill bleach on your shirt, it brings it back to life?” I was confused and at a loss for words, and asked you what you meant. You looked at me (as only you can), and said, “Papa, you said that you shirt had died.”

Ah, so, there’s the rub. I explained to you that “dyed” and “died” are homonyms, or words that sound the same, but are both spelled differently and mean different things, and added that English is full of such language puzzles.

Once again, I was reminded that we can’t take it for granted that others understand us, and we should always be open-minded when someone says something that sounds strange to us as well.

I Love You,

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Art of Imperfection

Dear Daughter,

Today, the last day that Papa and you are spending together for your Fall Break, did not turn out the way I had planned, but better.

Unfortunately, because my car was not ready from the garage, we were not able to go on the day trip that Papa had planned. But, as we learn in life, we must learn to adapt, and often even better things come about unexpectedly.

So, instead, we did many activities together. We did puzzle games, played many games of Uno (including the longest and shorts games we have ever played!), painted your clay figures, made a sand painting Mandala, and then finally, Papa taught you how to paint ensõ circles that he had learned from Kaz.

You were very patient and attentive.

We learned that you have to let go of the ensõ once you do it, and not go back and try to "fix" it or make it "perfect." As you remembered Papa telling you, the perfection lies in the imperfection.

We did dozens of ensõ circles together, and this one we both thought was rather special that you did.

What a perfectly imperfect day with you.

I Love You,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Of Dragonflies and Frogs

Dear Daughter,

Tonight we made this beautiful Mandala together, each taking turns with a specific color and part of the drawing.

Slowly, the entire picture emerged.

Like putting the Eiffel Tower together and Big Ben, this was another example of how special teamwork is.

Thank you for spending this time together and making something beautiful.

I Love You,

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Moon in a Dewdrop

Dear Daughter,

Today I took Kaz to the airport, and I was sorry you did not have a chance to meet him. Perhaps another Time.

He did give me a DVD to share with you. It is of a performance that he did earlier this year in California, where he lives.

His daughter, Karuna, filmed it, and his son is helping out as well in the video. Karuna is from Sanskrit, and means “Compassion.” I told Kaz that it was a name I had actually once thought of for you before you were born as well. It is a very pretty name.

There is also a concept from one of Kaz’s books I would like to share with you. It is the idea of a “moon in a dewdrop.” I know how much you like to see the moon, so I thought you would enjoy hearing this one.

Although the moon is very large and far away, reflected in a single dewdrop can remind us that such things and Space can be quite relative. Just as you are learning about how to draw perspective by making things bigger or smaller in your drawings to show them close up or far away, if we look closely, we can see entire worlds in the smallest of things.

The most important thing is to always keep our eyes and our minds open to such wonders.

I Love You,

PS I was super proud of you today when you got your Penguin Brevet in Swimming! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Circling Back

Dear Daughter,

I was so happy to read the post about Kaz last night together and that you were so interested in the ensõ drawings Papa did and the one that we will soon have in the English House II. Something to remember about Art is that we never really own it, but we will merely be taking care of the ensõ painting from Kaz.

Papa thought it would be good to think about some of the many things we did together this summer. Sometimes it is better to reflect than to immediately react to something. Too often we react to something and at times maybe say or do the wrong thing rather than just taking our time to let it sink in.

I have been thinking about some of the great memories we have from this summer, so the next few posts on your blog will be memories from this past summer.

Today, I was thinking about the day that we saw 7 bears in New Mexico! Do you remember that? We saw the two sets of mama bears with their cubs, one with 2 and one with three. That was a really special day. That same day, you and Papa also saw the “twins,” the two identical twin deer on the road and we said hello to them by bowing our heads. Do you remember that?

It is good to remember the special days in our lives, especially when we get stuck in a rut and we forget to appreciate all the beautiful moments in our lives for which we need to be grateful. Those times help us to get un-stuck.

I Love You,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Different Kind of Circle

Dear Daughter,

It has been a long time since Papa wrote on your Blog, although we have done so, so many things since the last time. We have been to Texas and New Mexico this summer and did many Papa and Buglette things that I will try to write about soon, even though they are already becoming distant memories since we are back in Belgium and you have begun school again. You will be learning new things and we will be able to share that magic of learning together.

Papa is also always learning new things, such as this weekend.

Papa met a very special person named Kazuaki Tanahashi, but he likes to just go by "Kaz," which is much easier to remember.

He is an artist whose specialty is the zen circle, or "ensõ" in Japanese. It is an imperfect circle that reminds us of the imperfections in life. In other words, the sooner we accept that things will not be "perfect," then we will live a much happier life and will be able to learn without fear.

I hope you get to meet Kaz one day. I think you would really like him.

But, Papa got the next best thing and bought one of his works so you can see how magical the ensõ is. Here is a picture for now until Papa can pick it up.

Remember, as you tell Papa, "nobody is good in everything, but everyone is good at something..."

I Love You,