I was born in the year of the Fire Rooster under the sign of Gemini, the twins. Here I sit in the dark. It’s an hour before sunrise. Normally, I’m up either writing or doing my Tai chi before the day comes alive. I’ve lived a full life, full of struggle, and accumulated baggage. The baggage I’ve collected over the years is like most peoples' basements after years of storing things they might, but never, use. This makes me think of my pickle jar full of nuts and washers that are sitting in the basement for when I might need one.
Over the years, after I got home from work, I stood by the counter telling my wife, Mary, how my day went while emptying my pockets of keys, a pocket knife, and my handkerchief. There were always one, two, or even three nuts and washers from the different projects I’d worked on. Each day the extra ones that had gone unused ended up at the bottom of my pockets and were added to the nuts and washers pickle jar that is now in my basement.
But today, today, I sit here in the twilight and reflect on that glass jar full of nuts and washers and wonder why I could never find the right size nut or washer when I needed it? But the real significance of this date [February 11] is that George Washington was born on this day, it’s also International Day of Women and Girls in Science Day, and most importantly it was the day I was given peace.
Sometimes through hard work and diligence, you achieve this great present. Sometimes we don’t even know we found it… but you do notice your life and your struggles start to get easier.
I had been trying to find that peace; how to attain inner peace my entire life. It was as if each day I was digging through that pickle jar trying to find the right nut or washer. That missing part would help me fix myself and maybe I’d find peace.
There’s a scene in the movie Kung Fu Panda. In this scene near the end of the movie, Master Sifu after having a battle with Tai Lung, the snow leopard, is lying on the ground defeated and feeling broken having lost to Tai Lung.
Master Sifu had found Tai lung at a young age and mentored him. Sadly, it was Tai Lungs own essence that made him the villain. But it was the weight of guilt that Master Sifu carried that maybe he helped create this monster, Tai Lung.
It’s only After Po the Kung Fu Panda defeats Tai Lung and rushes to Master Sifu’s side. Sifu is lying there seemingly dead with a look of peace, a look of contentment. Po says: “Master Sifu, don't die on me.” Sifu opens one eye and say’s “I’m not dead you idiot, I’m at peace. I’m finally at peace.” With the defeat of Tai Lung and even through the constant pain and suffering…. Shifu had finally found peace.
I relate to that scene. Tai Lung was my dysphoria, which I had a lifelong battle with.
I often felt I created this monster and the guilt that I couldn’t defeat it on my own.
And Po the Panda was my surgeon who did my GCS, who fought and defeated Tai Lung.
So on this February morning exactly two years later I think about that day and the gift I was given. The gift of inner peace and I can hear Master Sifu saying “I’m at peace, I’m finally at peace.”
Yes, Happy 2nd Birthday! I am finally at peace.