Archive for January, 2007

About Beauty

January 25th, 2007

What is Beauty?

In Wikipedia:
“Beauty is a quality of a person, object, place, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, affirmation, meaning, or goodness. The subjective experience of ‘beauty’ often involves the interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature.”
“In its most profound sense, beauty is said to engender a salient experience of positive reflection about the meaning of one’s own existence. An ‘object of beauty’ may be anything that reveals or resonates with personal meaning.”

“Beauty is the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

In American Heritage Dictionary:
“The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness, and originality.”

I saw “quality,” “meaning,” “balance,” “harmony,” “positive reflection,” “existence,” “personality of spiritual qualities,” “truthfulness,” and “originality.” These are all manifestation of the inner.

So beauty is rooted in the inside.

I read that prior to age 35 one’s appearance is determined by one’s parents, after 35 it’s up to oneself.

To look beautiful we will have to start from the inside.

A lot of times when I look at art work, I can get a glance of the artist’s personality or characteristics. What’s inside of us do reveal in the outside, especially in self-expression. And self-expression is the drive for human existence. And beauty is about the meaning of existence. So self-expression is a drive to reveal the beauty inside of us, and beauty is a positive reflection of our genuinity.

The Divine Proportion and Phi Ratio of Sacred Geometry show the harmony of beauty imprinted in the human body, plants, animals, nature and all. We are planted with a seed of beauty when we were created. We just need to recognize this seed of ourself and germinate and grow it.

Look at the people who have succeeded in self-expression, how radiant they are, how confident they are, and how beautiful they are!

They have grown their seed of beauty into blossoming.

The journey of self-expression would have to start with appreciating who we are and applauding our own unique beauty.

When one is able to see one’s own beauty, one shall see the beauty in others, since we are all one.

Coleridge’s idea of beauty:

The Beautiful “is that in which the many…becomes one.”
Beauty is “multeity in unity.”
“That which is not pleasing for its own sake, but by connection or association with some other thing, separate or separable from it, is neither beautiful, nor capable of being a component part of beauty.”

On Beauty by Gibran:

“Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?”

“And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.”

“…beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”


The Archer Mandala 











         The Archer Mandala by Maria Yu



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How Not to Gain Weight

January 24th, 2007

I weigh about 100 pounds in the winter and 97 in the summer, I am about 5’6″.

My friends are going to laugh that I talk about weight, but I got this thought while taking a walk.

Ever since childhood I am at this weight-height ratio or less. I did suddenly gain a lot of weight when I came to US to go to Graduate School. I was maybe 120-130 at the peak.

Northwestern follows quarter system so it was a lot of study to do plus research. I didn’t know how to cook and I didn’t have time to cook so mainly I relied on canned vegetables and breads. I was too nervous to spend time doing anything but studying, day and night I just sat and worked. From time to time I skipped meals, but when occasionally I went out with officemates for buffet I ate a lot. My waist and thighs became rounded and my paints tight. Sitting was not comfortable at all.

The second school year I moved to a seminary-student and graduate-student dormitory on campus. A daily three-meal plan was mandatory. I gained more weight because of the butter/grease used in cooking. Compared to my original size I was now like a balloon.

Things started to change when I started going to morning Mass at an off campus church.

It was a 20-25 minutes brisk walk each way. So every morning I walked to Mass then walked back, even when it was windy or snowing. I then had a good breakfast and freshed off to study and research.

When my course work requirement was pretty much done I used my remaining course credits each quarter for Ballet at the Theater Department. It was a one and a half hours class twice a week.

I was also conscious about how much I “took” at the cafeteria (I tended to finish all I got), and I chewed well.

I tried to avoid skipping meals, I would at least eat something when hungry.

So my weight came down and I felt light again.

For me it feels good to be light, not carrying extra hanging fat.

When Northwestern’s new gym was completed I started using the Cybex machines once or twice a week (I now caution the use of knee extension and curl machines). I would include warm up and cool down. And I swam.

My weight had been good since then until I got a job and worked and sat in front of a computer all day long.

I noticed my abdomen bulged and my waist expanded.

It had a lot to do with lunch.

People work in the office tend to eat lunch while they work. Then they sit for the rest of the day.

Here are the tips I got over the years:

1. Don’t eat lunch while work (or surf) – take your lunch outside or go to a conference room or cafe and just eat don’t work;
2. Don’t eat heavy lunches;
3. Divide lunch into 2-3 portions and eat each portion some time apart;
4. Talk a walk after lunch – even just walk around the office or cubes;
5. Exercise after work – it doesn’t have to be everyday.

Overall I think the keys for not gaining weight are attentive eating, exercise, and quality eating.

About quality eating I have learned a lot. I am not a dietitian so I shouldn’t talk much about it. I would just share a few things I learned.

I don’t eat meat and have quit drinking milk. Veal facts can be found at the Humane Farming Association and has extensive articles and news about milk. If you want to eat meat, better to buy quality meat. When the temperature is over 77 degree F, don’t eat meat. Eat only one kind of meat in one meal.

Don’t eat a mix of different kind of proteins at the same time. That is, don’t mix meat, fish, eggs, milk, and beans.

Don’t cook tofu with spinach.

No sweet potatoes and yams after 12 noon.

Nuts are good protein source, but better eat them raw or dry roasted.

I love chocolates and pastries but I don’t eat them everyday and I am careful about what I buy. Good quality chocolates and pastries are real treats, they make me happy and I would eat them bit by bit and taste them fully.

Weight control needs to be conscious too.


After Rain pastel paitning by Maria Yu









“After Rain” – pastel painting by Maria Yu



Customized Workouts


Animal Vaccinations

January 21st, 2007

I am certain my fourteen-year-old cat, Poplar, died because of vaccinations.

I was to be away for two weeks in the winter of 2005 and didn’t know of a good pet sitter. It was also a concern about losing electricity during those days since that happens a lot in my community whenever we get heavy snow or strong wind. So I sent Poplar to a cat kennel. The kennel required all shots up to date. I consulted the vet and she said that was not a problem. In two visits within 19 days, Poplar had Rabies, Leukemia, Rhino/Calici/Dist and their boosters. I did voice out my concern about giving all the shots together in one day but was assured that was OK. Actually the vet thought I was making a fuss.

After all the shots Poplar was not herself. It was like getting a flu or something and her health started to deteriorate. Poplar first had blood in her urine then she had difficulty breathing. The irony was that she was at the vet’s on Friday the whole day for getting urine samples and the vet didn’t pick up her breathing problem. I rushed Poplar in for emergency the next day. All the vet could say was, “we are sorry she’s had shadows in her lungs” and they charged me for full emergency visit.

From 2002 to 2006 since I moved to New Hampshire I had encountered 9 vets in the New Hampshire and Vermont area for my rabbit and cat and I doubt each one’s professionalism (two of them were holistic vets but weren’t better). The conventional vets only know to use drugs, antibiotics and shots. One vet in Norwich Vermont whom I visited for Poplar’s annual check in January 2003 gave her a Rabies vaccine that was to expire in 9 days. Didn’t they have something fresh?

I felt I killed my own cat.

I looked for an answer.

I wished I had read this book, “The Nature of Animal Healing” by Martin Goldstein. In chapter 4 Dr. Goldstein talks about the dubious legacy of vaccines. He describes in details the illnesses caused by vaccinations. He likened the full vaccination requirement imposed by kennels even for older pets as if “a one-hundred-year-old woman had planned a two-week stay at a seaside hotel, only to learn that before she checked in, her doctor would have to vaccinate her for chicken pox, smallpox, polio, and flu-at the same time!”

Dr. Goldstein’s chapter of The Dubious Legacy of Vaccines also addresses the concerns for human vaccinations.

“Be a good human, never vaccinate me when I’m sick!” A lot of valuable information about animal vaccinations can be found at Pet Guardian. Currently a “Rabies Challenge Fund” has been set up to do a long-term Rabies Vaccine study.

There are two books specially talk about animal vaccinations: “Stop the Shots!: Are Vaccinations Killing Our Pets?” and “Shock to the System: The facts About Animal Vaccination, Pet Food and How to Keep Your Pets Healthy.”

In her vaccination newsflash Dr. Ihor Basko wrote, “all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics…, the doctor’s economic well-being should not be a factor in medical decision.”

Finally the truth about animal vaccines are reaching the public.

I wish I had known it.


poplar mandala 










            Poplar Mandala by Maria Yu


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