1: to cease from competition or resistance : submit, yield
2: to bend the head, body, or knee in reverence, submission, or shame
3: to incline the head or body in salutation or assent or to acknowledge applause
4: debut



Bow (v.): Old English buganto bend, to bend the body in condescension,” also “to burn back,” from Proto-Germanic bugon, from beugen, from Proto-Indo-European root, bheug,to bend,” with derivatives referring to bent, pliable or curved objects. The noun in this sense is first recorded in the 1650s. Bow outwithdraw” is from 1942.



“The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.”

Richard Wright (1908-1960, pioneering American author, journalist, and poet; best known for writing the classic novels, Black Boy and Native Son)

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“The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart.”

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939, Irish poet and considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century)

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“Keep away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.”

Khalil Gibran (1993-1931, Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer; best known for writing The Prophet)

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“If you cannot bow to Buddha, you cannot be a Buddha. It is arrogance.”

Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971, Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the U.S.; best known for writing Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.)

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“Worship is an inward reverence, the bowing down of the soul in the presence of God.”

Elizabeth George (Elizabeth and her husband, Jim, are authors and speakers dedicated to helping people live a God-focused life.)

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“The bow cannot always stand bent, nor can human frailty subsist without some lawful recreation.”

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright; best known for creating and writing the novel Don Quixote)

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“You know, if you really want to fiddle the old-time way, you’ve got to learn the dance. The contra-dances, hoedowns. It’s all in the rhythm of the bow. The great North Carolina fiddle player Tommy Jarrell said, ‘If a feller can’t bow, he’ll never make a fiddler. He might make a violin player, but he’ll never make no fiddler.’ ”

Alison Krauss (b. 1971, American bluegrass-country singer-songwriter and musician)

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“For me, a happy ending is not everything works out just right and there is a big bow, it’s more coming to a place where a person has a clear vision of his or her own life in a way that enables them to kind of throw down their crutches and walk.”

Jill McCorkle (b. 1958, American short story writer and novelist)

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“Keep away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.”

— Khalil Gibran

When my daughter, Maya, was five years old she wanted to study the Japanese martial art of Aikido.

She was a very determined little girl, asking her baby-sitter to strongly advocate for her admission into an after-school class which only accepted children ages six years or older.

Maya wouldn’t take no for answer.  Once she got into the class and got proficient in the art, she then stalked her teacher into giving her the information to study seriously at an Aikido dojo.

Maya even petitioned me to get up early every Saturday morning at 6:00 so she could take the only children’s Aikido class that started at 8:00.

It was quite an education for both of us.  Aikido was a mysterious world of modern-day samurai and spiritual discipline.

Before we entered the dojo, out of respect, we bowed to the spirit and picture of Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba.  I quickly learned that bowing was not doing so in worship of the founder, but in yielding to the principles for which the art was created.

Essentially, we were surrendering to “the way of the harmonious spirit,” one of translations for Aikido, and shifting away from our external concerns to our inner temples of reverence, focus, and peace.

Often while walking through the dojo I would instinctively line up and walk behind Maya, accepting her mission.  And often men who also practiced Aikido would stop and bow respectfully to us.  Stunned, we would stop and bow to the light in them as well.

Wouldn’t it be something if we all could acknowledged each other in such deep respect, connecting to each other in meaningful ways, as fellow travelers who were privileged to be chosen to play and create on one of the most beautiful planets of our universe.  Now, what an interesting world that would be?

Written With Love and Hope,



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