Sunday, 25 March 2007

I arrived in London in February tired, jet lagged disorientated, dragged my industrial suitcase to the information desk to ask where the national express coach left from. I asked, in what I hoped was a suitabley polite voice. The information service woman vaguely waved in a direction I couldn`t quite discern but I confidently headed off, only to find after 10 minutes that these were local buses.

 The service in Japan in impecible and even if the politeness is insincere does have a certain smoothness to it which oils the wheels of daily living.

  walked barefoot for two hours at e silver sand.

A few nights ago a friend of mine had formulated an outline of his experiences in Tokyo. It is safe, convenient and efficient but are these things always good? If you can get away with never having to interact beyond your comfort zones, where children go home and play on video games not socializing and when business men jump infront of trains up to 70 per day. I sometimes feel living here is like being in a relationship which
could go either way, I`m over the honeymoon period and see it a bit more for what it is but I am still fascinated.

Yesterday I went to watch a hojo (Japanese swordmanship) demonstration. It was meant to be against a background of beautiful sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms) but the gale like rain forced us into the dojo. Here the two sensei`s demonstrated the art of control and expression as they went through routines for all the seasons. It was mesmerizing watching these two men circling moving slowly, breathing, bowing, locking swords. Later they seemed jovial and childlike as if embodying a kind of zen humour. While Japanese politeness can mean as a Westerner it can be hard to know where you stand there is a quietness of spirit and humilty which is inherent in everything. Perhaps it is the Bushido spirit, a gentle but firm dignity which is always somehow present.

Later, watching a documenatary about Cuba - Hasta Simpre i thought again about freedom and community. For many people The Revolution meant a society which has access to free education and healthcare where communties know each other. US sanctions are encouraging people to find alternative sources of income via tourism and offhsoots such as the black market and prostitution. There is a restriction of movement and speech. For some the alterbative to Castro is one of capitalism and a breakdown of community as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It begs the question what is freedom? If Capitalism is a form of oppression then what is the viable alternative? I found it yesterday in this quiet community. There was a mutual respect - for silence and the need for it, for peoples differences and abilities.

This presentness and willingness not to find easy quick answers but
to be with things is something that I admire and want more of in my life. I found two things I would like to share with you...

Mamamia Love bear with it shes great :)


I also read a quote by Henri Nouwen which I would like to quote at some length for times when things are painful....

The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking them through. It is better to cry than to worry, better to feel your wounds deeply than to understand them, better to let them enter into your silence than to talk about them. The choice you face constantly is whether you are taking your hurts to your head or to your heart. In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them. But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down into your heart. Then you can live them through and discover that they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds.

Understanding your wounds can only be healing when that understanding is put at the service of your heart. Going to your heart with your wounds is not easy; it demands letting go of many questions. You want to know "Why was I wounded? When? How? By whom?" You believe that the answers to these questions will bring relief. But at best they only offer you a little distance from your pain. You have to let go of the need to stay in control of your pain and trust in the healing power of your heart. There your hurts can find a safe place to be received, and once they have been received, they lose their power to inflict damage and become fruitful soil for new life.

Think of each wound as you would of a child who has been hurt by a friend. As long as that child is ranting and raving, trying to get back at the friend, one wound leads to another. But when the child can experience the consoling embrace of a parent, she or he can live through the pain, return to the friend, forgive, and build up a new relationship. Be gentle with yourself, and let your heart be your loving parent as you live your wounds through.