Monday, December 27, 2010

reflections on my Mom's car (or is it "My Mother the Car" for those of you who remember back when)

Well it's now a year since Mom's passing, her Yahrzeit (the anniversary of her passing) being last Monday. Though a year has gone by, I still miss her terribly, and though life goes on, it feels so very different on this side of the year. One small consolation that we Frischman's have is an extra car to use when needed. Hopefully, when my nephew gets his driver's license, the car will be his, but in the interim, Mom's '96 4 door Cadillac Deville is able to provide us with an extra set of wheels when one of our cars (like mine is now) is in the shop. Now having driven 4 cylinder Volvos for years, it's quite a change driving Mom's "boat". But I've also discovered is an interesting lesson from an inconvenience I've experienced, that I would like to share with you.

With my car, you turn off the engine, and all the electrical stuff shuts off as well. Not so with Mom's car, and this powerful, 32 cylinder muscular engine has drained not one, but two batteries since I've had it. I plan on going to Pep Boys to charge it and then bring it back to the shop to check the electrical system, but it hit me as my neighbor was giving me a jump for the umpteenth time (again on a new battery), that Mom's car really parallels the American model of what we view as strong and fit, as opposed to the Asian model: You can literally feel the strength, heaviness and agility driving this car. And yet with all that power, it's only as effective as its frail battery. So too, in Western society, what is viewed as fit and desirable is muscular definition. Pure raw power. Pumping iron, anabolism, bulking up on amino acids. Making everything more and bigger. Yet the Asian and Jewish models view things differently: Strength needs to come with balance: balancing emotions, spirit, mind and body. This is done through eating with care and purpose (see my previous blog for details on how to eat), getting adequate air to breathe, water to drink, quality sleep, spiritual development, exercise to stretch and all of the above to cultivate one's strength from within. The result is tremendous internal strength, but not necessarily muscular prowess. And indeed, Asian martial artists, for the most part, though fit, are not muscular. I read recently a wonderful story of an elderly qi gong master who was mugged in his sleep by a group of thugs, who left him for dead. In the morning, he stretched himself like a tiger who had been sleeping, and they were found bruised and severely beaten up. Did he attack them? No, but the very strength of his internal Qi was so powerful, that their attack was reflected back to them. So too with us, with our cars and with all that we posess. It seems to me that we should look within, and work to balance all of the areas of our life which reflect the areas of our greatest weaknesses. For that is the key to longevity, and for that matter, happiness: having each part of us in balance with every other part, our batteries reflecting our moving parts.

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