Last night I watched the movie Mulan on Disney Plus. It’s a story of ancient China. Invaders from the north are threatening the country and the Emperor declares that each family must give a son to the war effort. Mulan is a girl of 16. She has no brothers. Out of honour, her hobbled father says that he will join the fight. To protect him, Mulan disguises herself as a boy and leaves home under the cover of darkness.
Mulan and her fellow recruits are trained not only in skills and strength but also in values. At one point, the General has them unsheath their swords and raise them to the sky – being loyal … brave … true. Mulan’s arm reaches straight up and she yells the word for the first two, but not for the third. Despite her commitment to family and country, she is living a lie. Later in the film, she reveals that she is a woman.
I loved the movie. After going to bed, I laid back and replayed my favourite parts on my phone.
Morning came. Lying amid sleep and wakefulness, words started tumbling from me. “Sweetness and light.” “There is love in the world.” “Simply this.” I wasn’t thinking … the words just bubbled up from Nowhereland. As my mind began to focus, I thought of tonight. I thought of what I might write in my blog. I remembered reading someone’s turn of the phrase that made me laugh: “loose in the vowels”. Yes, my vowels were loose in the hour before sunrise. That’s what I’d write about. Besides, it was a clever title (not mine, however).
After showering, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down the phrases that I told you about. “A good start. Every time there’s another flow from my mouth, I’ll write it down. Maybe I’ll have twenty of them by suppertime – plenty for a blog post.”
Now, here’s the rub. During the day, I tried. I’d sit in the meditation chair and allow my mind to quieten. It was a classic means to an end: Meditation → Quiet Mind → Bubbling Words → Post. So much for spontaneous. As I lay in my bed again an hour ago, accompanied by my trusty sheet of paper with eleven examples, I returned to Mulan. What I was doing wasn’t true. It was narrow and strategic rather expansive and mysterious.
I got up, placed the sheet in the recycle bin, and smiled
Now I know what I’m going to write about