因老师(Professor Minn) loves to tell stories to help us remember how to write our Chinese characters. I wrote before about the story behind the characters for ‘tolerant’ and ‘family’. So far this semester we have heard about the Chinese affinity for water buffalos and how really seeing someone involves your legs. There is a good mix of the funny and the profound in Professor Minn’s stories and I love the times in class when you can tell she wants so badly for us to see the beauty and the wisdom of the culture as she sees it.
A few days ago in class, we were learning new vocabulary, and 因老师 brought up the word 休息 (xiuxi) which means ‘to rest’. The word includes the character for ‘person’, ‘tree’, and ‘heart’. According to 因老师, this is important, because when a person lays down under a tree, they get their heart back.
She went on to explain that when you are so busy all the time, doing this and doing that, you lose your heart. You get tired, frustrated, and worn out. Not only your body, but also your heart. You can only keep doing and keep moving and keep pouring out for so long before you are exhausted and empty.
Its important to take time to rest, to take time to be, to appreciate stillness.
Because when you rest, you get your heart back.