Paradox

1 : a tenet contrary to a received opinion
2 : a : a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
b : a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true
c : an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by deduction from acceptable premises
3: one (as a person, situation or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

Source: www.merriam-webster.com

Etymology

Paradox (n.) 1530s, “statement contrary to common belief or expectation,” from Middle French paradoxe (14c.) and directly from Latin paradoxumstatement seemingly absurd yet really true,” from Greek paradoxoncontrary to expectation, incredible,” from para-contrary to” + doxaopinion.”

Source: www.etymonline.com/

Wisdom

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948, Lawyer and Anti-War Activist, the primary leader of India’s independence movement, and the architect of non-violent civil disobedience)

Bio Source:

www.biography.com/people/mahatma-gandhi-9305898

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1935-1910, American author and humorist; wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”)

Bio Source:

www.cmgww.com/historic/twain/

“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being education.”

James A. Baldwin (1924-1987, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, social critic and activist; who reflected on his experience as a black man in white America)

Bio Source:

www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/james-baldwin-about-the-author/59/

“Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go. Let go in order to achieve. Letting go is God’s law.”

Mary Manin Morrissey (life coach, motivational speaker, and minister and co-founder of the Living Enrichment Center, a New Thought megachurch and retreat center in the state of Oregon)

Bio Source:

Mary Manin Morrissey (life coach, motivational speaker, and minister and co-founder of the Living Enrichment Center, a New Thought megachurch and retreat center in the state of Oregon)

“Life is strong and fragile. It’s a paradox… It’s both things, like quantum physics: It’s a particle and a wave at the same time. It all exists all together.”

Joan Jett (b. 1958, age 57, American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, and best known for her work with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts)

Bio Source:

www.joanjett.com/

“Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is what is good and great at the same time.”

Karl Wilheim Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829, German poet, literary critic, philosopher, and philologist)

Bio Source:

plato.stanford.edu/entries/schlegel/

“It is so difficult - at least, I find it difficult - to understand people who speak the truth.”

E.M. Forster (Edward Morgan Forster, 1879-1970, English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist, known for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society)

Bio Source:

www.britannica.com/biography/E-M-Forster

Meditation

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it,” is one of my favorite quotes by Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi spoke volumes of how important our loving and peaceful actions are for the progress of our world. Individually, we may think we are small, and truthfully we are not!  In actuality, we are a vital part of the collective puzzle.

I got a glimpse of this truth while in college and while traveling abroad on a scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese in Taipei, Taiwan for a year.

At the age of 20, it was quite scary to travel to a foreign country by myself, mainly because I didn’t know a stitch of Mandarin or any person that lived there. Brave and ignorant of the brevity of my choices, I was forced to rely on my intuition, instincts, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the divine guidance of some Earth and Cosmic Angels.

My airplane trip took a total of 27 hours, traveling from Philadelphia to Chicago, Los Angeles, and then a layover in Okinawa, Japan before arriving in Taipei.   Since I never had the experience of a layover, while waiting for the next plane in Okinawa Japan, I found myself feeling vulnerable, exposed, and scared.

As I sat waiting for my flight a very tall Japanese man in his 30s walked by with his elderly father. He stopped short and asked me in English where was I going? I was a little dumbfounded, because he talked to me like he was my older brother and looked seriously concerned about my welfare.

“I am going to Taiwan to study Mandarin, Chinese,” I told him. He said, “By yourself!?” I nodded. He looked really upset and I could tell that his father looked concerned as well. The man turned to me and said, “Please be careful.” They paused as if they didn’t want to leave me there and walked slowly away.

When I looked around I could tell that I wasn’t in a great spot in the airport. It was dark and isolated. So, I walked slowly towards the light and sound and eventually found a well-lit waiting room, bustling lots with people.

Miraculously, I got to Taipei and to the University. But it was a challenging journey, mainly because it took me some time to acclimate to a new culture and language. Also the country was, at the time, in martial law and there was also strain between the governments of U.S. Mainland China, and Taiwan. But regardless, I found friends who I could trust and relate to. Also, I connected with great knowledgeable and well-spoken Chinese teachers and lived with Chinese families who were willing to take a foreign student into their home.

It took me about 6 months to be proficient in the language. Like a third-grade child, I could also read and write it.  That, of course, was largely due to the urgency to survive and being totally immersed in the culture and language.

I lived and studied in Taiwan for 10 months and came back to the States to finish my education and then graduate from college.

Some years later while visiting my alma mater two female students, who I hadn’t known, came up to me and started speaking Chinese. That so shocked me. They smiled and said they knew I was the first female University student to travel to Taiwan, and that they were now taking classes in Mandarin too. As a matter of fact they had a class they were attending shortly.

They invited me to visit and before I knew it I was in the classroom greeting everyone. The teacher, also from Taiwan, asked me in Mandarin to write my name on the chalkboard. When I did so everyone exclaimed, and were excited that they would also be able to read and write in Chinese as well.

I didn’t know when I made the trip that it would mean something for those students and possibly future generations down the line.

Yes, we must do what we can do, especially in love, joy, and happiness.  Not only is it important, but we are divinely supported in our processes, more than we can possibly know.

Written with Love, Tonya

Discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *