I Can’t Keep Your Pace, If I Want to Finish This Race

Scroll down to content

I thought I’d take a step back to explain some things. At this point, I’m at blog post twelve. The pictures and experiences that absolutely, positively, had to get out of my mind and into the world  have been shared. Don’t get me wrong; there are still many pictures and stories sitting on the back burner, needing a bit more simmering.

Bodhidharma ( dude with the beard in upper left) will make numerous appearances in this blog.

This blog is an exercise in sharing and writing for the sake of writing. It’s about scratching an itch.  So far, I have tried to post something once-a-week. “Slowly, but surely wins the race” are wise words I try to follow.  A weekly schedule is a good pace for me.  I don’t want to overwhelm myself and then burn out, as I have with projects in the past.  I want to do this in a sustainable manner, where I don’t feel it’s a chore or a second job. Going through the 17,000 plus pictures in my iCloud, I focus on anything that catches my eyes. Viewing the photos stirs my memories and inspires a post, but the words don’t come out until I sit down and just do it.

You will even encounter discarded Christian artwork in future posts.

This week, I’ve been inspired to show photos of discarded artwork in Seoul. The art left behind in people’s house offers a tiny view of their personal aesthetics and/or spiritual leanings. You see people’s varying levels of commitments to a spiritual path. Personally, my eye is drawn to the graceful ink renderings of landscapes and flowing calligraphy of traditional Chinese characters, or hanja in Korean.  Encounters with images of Bodhidharma or Kwan Seum Bosal (Kwan Yin Bodhisattva) bring a smile to my face. As a practicing Zen Buddhist, these images inspire me in my daily practice of moment-to-moment compassion with myself and the world at large.

Taenghwa, or buddhist painting of Kwan Seum Bosal found in an abandoned hanok.
Kwan Seum Bosal, the bodhisattva of compassion.
 An ink drawing of Bodhidharma hangs adjacent to calligraphy of the Chinese characters for Buddha Mind.
Kwan Seum Bosal in jigsaw form.

When I see something beautiful left behind or tossed into a trash heap, my instant reaction is”Why would you toss away something so gorgeous?” or “What a waste!”. My inner hoarder would love to rescue every beautiful work I come across on my explorations.  Visiting abandoned homes in various levels of clutter has shown me the importance of purging. I can empathize now why people set artwork in trash piles. People don’t want to drown in material possessions. Purging brings a sense of relief.  Maybe that is why people abandoned their house, possessions and all. Maybe they want to abandon their life and start over?

A little motivation while learning English?


A couple of magpies.


I can’t help but see these situations and think about my uprasing back in America. It took a decade of living outside of America to reflect upon the good fortune I had growing up in a white, middle-class family. Living a simple and minimal life in Asia has taught me the value of purging periodically and not getting caught up in the cycle of consumerism. These days, coming across Bodhidharma, Kwan Seum Bosal, and Jesus are friendly reminders to put down my opinions, my ego, and most important my attachments to material goods.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: