~ Stick # 32 ~
He endured the bleak north for nineteen years, TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION
His captured banner trailing upon the distant sands.
Snow was his only food; his heart was full of woe,
And his only companions the sheep he tended.
This fortune refers to a famous Chinese general, So Wu, who was taken prisoner by the northern barbarians and forced to work as a shepherd. Like him, at the moment you may seem to be in a position below your true worth. You must seek to take pride and pleasure in the work you do, rather than dreaming of past or future glories. Learn to bear adversity with good will, and you may attain the status you truly deserve.REFLECTION
This very famous story is about steadfast loyalty. The general was captured by the Mongols, who at first tried to bribe him into betraying the Emperor. When that failed, they sent him into the wilds to guard the sheep. Yet he refused to deny his Emperor. Loyalty is what will bring you through. Do not be tempted by easy solutions, nor expect that things will go smoothly. Stay the course, and you will have done the right thing.
Each day I sit down, take up the cup of sticks and ask the same question, “What does the Keen community need to know or hear today?” I shake the cup until a stick (or 2 or 3…) falls out. I then post the stick number and the meanings for you to get what you can out of them.
The sticks themselves are a form of I-Ching. There are a total of 64 sticks in the set that I use* with a poem and small interpretation/story to go along with each stick. The poems, meanings and reflections are meant to be read and (as a good friend of mine once said) marinated in. In our culture, we’ve grown accustomed to getting instant gratification. In other words, we’re used to everything being given to us with little or no work on our parts. These readings are the exact opposite of that type of attitude.
Chinese Fortune sticks are meant to make us slow down and reflect on what is being said. As each sticks’ meaning can be profoundly personal to each person who reads them, it’s more important for you to read them rather than have someone give you a watered down version. These readings are meant to sing to a level of your consciousness and bring you a measure of peace, or at least enlightenment.
The best way to get the most you can out of these readings is to approach them with an open mind. Before sitting down to read that morning’s reading, make some quiet time for yourself. Sit still for a moment and clear your mind. Silence the chatter in your head and take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly. Once you feel yourself slow down a little (or a lot), read through the reading of the day. Go over it a few times if you feel the need. Then take a moment, sit back and think about what that reading means for you. Some will be very straightforward; others require a bit more thinking. Either way, let the reading from the sticks guide you that day on the decisions or experiences you have. These aren’t meant to tell you what to think, but rather to help you look at things in a different way or to allow you to access truths you already have.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me!!
* written by Zhao Xiaomin & Martin Palmer