During a recent trip to NYC with our older two kids, we made our way through Chinatown. We stopped by an Asian gift store where the entire inside of the store was red. Red is a sacred color for Chinese people. It represents good luck, happiness, the national flag and new beginnings. In China, both big and small celebrations are always red in theme and decor.
At this little store, I hemmed and hawed over whether I should get a little solar buddha or one of these cats for my car. I ended up with this very distracting cat whose left arm seriously must hurt from all of the movement. It turns out that this maneki-neko or beckoning cat is really a Japanese figurine believed to bring good luck. These Japanese bobtail cats are beckoning us with one of their paws raised. In most Asian places of business, there is a cat displayed somewhere for good luck.
One of the synonyms for beckoning is being invited. I love the idea that we are invited every day to be an active participant in our lives. In my therapy practice, that is always the goal: be an active participant in your life, use your agency, take action to change what is not working.
I recently ran across this amazing poem written by Aurora Levins Morales, a woman I need more of in my life, called the Summons. In short, meet me at the corner. Let’s go, friends.
Last night I dreamed
ten thousand grandmothers
from the twelve hundred corners of the earth
walked out into the gap
one breath deep
between the bullet and the flesh
between the bomb and the family.
They told me we cannot wait for governments.
There are no peacekeepers boarding planes.
There are no leaders who dare to say
every life is precious, so it will have to be us.
They said we will cup our hands around each heart.
We will sing the earth’s song, the song of water,
a song so beautiful that vengeance will turn to weeping,
the mourners will embrace, and grief replace
every impulse toward harm.
Ten thousand is not enough, they said,
so, we have sent this dream, like a flock of doves
into the sleep of the world. Wake up. Put on your shoes.
You who are reading this, I am bringing bandages
and a bag of scented guavas from my trees. I think
I remember the tune.
Meet me at the corner. Let’s go.