Thursday, December 27, 2018

My 2018 year-end summary

As the year nears its end, it leaves me with many mixed feelings.  Everybody knows how unhappy I have been about this country’s suicidal plunge into its Brexit nightmare.  I am a European through and through, half my family being Austrian, and I love my multi-national heritage which led me into a delight for languages.  I will finish this blog with something on this topic, but I like to include some more heart-warming and life-enhancing moments which have occurred.  These are the times which convince me that there is indeed a pattern to my life into which all those things which I consider important insert themselves, as though into some pre-ordained shape.  There have been many such moments during the past year, and I list a few of those I consider the most significant.

I have just come across something in a book I happened to pick up from a shelf of unread books, one that I had bought many, many months ago and often put aside as being something I did not at the moment feel I wanted to read.  And yet today there it was, and I found myself taking it with me to my favourite breakfast cafe for my last end-of-year favourite breakfast (a single espresso and a croissant), only to find an illuminating passage which spoke to me.

"Just as when, as we read some books, an almost confusing feeling… can take hold of us, we hand ourselves over to the flow of the words, to their sound, and trust that the text will somehow help us, that it will do something to us, this is much like what happens when he (the main protagonist of this book) is writing.  Forgetting all his plans and ideas, most of his notes thrown away  -  and whilst he hands himself over to the rhythm and poetic logic of the sentences, the smell of his pencils, their quiet scratch on the paper, he fills page after page with a story of which he had not before thought of one word.” (Ralf Rothman: Fire doesn’t burn)"

This exactly reflects what I often feel when reading - that a writer’s words mean something to me , although I don’t know exactly what, as though they reveal a truth hidden behind the actual words.  Certainly this is often how I feel about that most elusive of all forms of writing, poetry.  This I realise, too, is how I view five element acupuncture.  I know that there is a truth hidden behind my practice which I have tried in my own way to put into words in my books, but behind the words I have found to describe what I do lies a profounder truth about human existence, and its glories and its tragedies, which is beyond words, or perhaps only accessible to the most gifted of writers.  I cannot prove that the elements create life in all its varied forms as I describe their actions, and yet I know, at a level beyond words, that they do.

A profound confirmation of this thought occurred during one of my visits to Beijing this year.  My time there happened to coincide with a seminar given by Peter Eckman.  Those who recognise his name will know that he has written the only book, In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor, which covers in detail the history of five element acupuncture’s journey to the West,.  Peter and I have known each other for many years, and I was delighted that it so happened  that Professor Liu Lihong, the host of all our many five element seminars, also happened to be in Beijing at the same time.  Peter, Professor Liu, Professor Hor Ting of Yunnan University and Guy and I, plus Lynn who does absolutely everything that needs doing to ensure our stay runs smoothly, therefore found ourselves one evening seated together round a table in a Beijing restaurant.

Peter, I think rather with tongue in cheek, and much to my surprise, since it contradicts what he says in his book, came out with the controversial statement that he didn’t think that JR Worsley had followed any particular acupuncture master in devising his approach to acupuncture.   Whereupon Professor Liu said firmly, “There are three routes of transmission for any discipline.  There is the direct transmission from master to pupil, the indirect transmission through texts, and then", he said, pointing above his head, "there is direct transmission from above."  And this is how he felt JR Worsley had come to his understanding of five element acupuncture.  I loved the fact that somehow something of the truth about human beings embedded in our knowledge of the elements was transmitted directly from above into JR’s heart, to be handed on, often in the same way, to others.

And something that has just happened rounds off my year with a smile, and makes this very sad year which seems to be heading inexorably towards the tragedy of Brexit end on a slightly happier note for me.

In September I wrote to JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame suggesting that it was time that an ardent anti-Brexiteer like her should stand up more and be counted to help fight the cause of us Remainers.  For those of you who didn’t know I had done this, here is my September email to her, via her Press Secretary (email drafted with help from a PR expert (Gill):

"Dear JK Rowling,
For years I have not only admired your literary genius but also your strong political voice on many of the big issues of our time. So I have an ask. The anti-Brexit campaign is well meaning but failing. I know you have already spoken out about the stupidity of this decision, but as we draw closer to this political madness becoming a reality, could you maybe go even further? I am no publicist but could we get Harry Potter yelling from the rooftops to protest? Or a series of powerful tweets from you to help galvanise the country to halt this impending gloom?

Yours, in hope,
Nora Franglen"

I heard nothing back, and assumed that my email never reached her ….. except that, a day ago in the Guardian, I read the following:

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Leader: Author Rowling mocks Corbyn on Twitter:  JK Rowling, a longtime critic of Jeremy Corbyn, has mocked the Labour leader’s position on Brexit in a series of 16 biblical-style tweets. Entitled “The Visitation of the Corbynites: A Festive Thread”, the Harry Potter author includes the claim that the possibility of “Saint Jeremy” bringing a “Jobs First Brexit” is “bollocks”. 

Do you think she did, after all, get my email, and heard my plea?  I’ll never know, but I like to think it may not just have been coincidence that she wrote this series of tweets.

I sent this email to many of my family and friends, finishing it with the words, with which I am rounding off my blogs for the year:

A Happy Christmas, and now a Happy New Year, to you all from a smiling Nora!  Let us hope the world becomes a happier place in 2019.