Monday, September 30, 2013

Making a dried flower wreath

I posted this in my other blog steps to the sky, but I would like to share this here too.
I hope you can enjoy her beautiful photos. Photos are universal language, aren't they?:) 

I have often visited the blog "Nature's 工房 -晶- " since I had happened to find it.
That photos are all beautiful and the wreaths she makes are full of purity, 
tenderness and warmth goes without saying of course,
however, what caught me the most is the owner's strong sense of love for nature
and her warm thoughts of protecting the earth.
Besides, the fact that her favorites (Ms.Venesia and Ms. Rachel Carlson)
are the same as mine is one of the reasons that I have visited her occasionally.

Last Saturday, I participated in her work-shop at Cafe Slow Gallery
and learned how to make a dried flower wreath.
I wanted express my love of nature, with a sense of protecting our earth like her,
but oh my! I failed to make a wreath like hers with a sense of clarity.
I'll challenge myself again, maybe using the flowers and leaves from my tiny garden.
Apart from the disappointing result, it was really nice to finally meet her face to face.

In the event space at Cafe Slow, I looked at an exhibition 
through which some young art students expressed their feelings 
after visiting Fukushima following the disaster March.11, 2011.
 I chatted with two of the exhibitors for a while.
One of them told me that he felt some distance among people 
who live far away from Fukushima;
he sensed a different feeling between the people 
who live far away from Fukushima and the people who live in Fukushima.
In his work he expressed the difference by making two life-sized boys;
 one of them has a placard written "No"(to nuclear energy) and the other has "Yes".
Oh, I should have taken some pictures of their works.I'm sorry for the lack of the pictures.
Somehow, it was so encouraging to me to know there are young people
who have visited the field and caught a sense of the need 
to express their feelings for the sake of a better future. 
After all it's each of them and each of us who possess the ability
to change our world into a beautiful and peaceful place.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Zen temple

I think that Val's idea of sharing beauty and peace in this way is great!
So I'm happy to share my peace with you today.

This is one of Zen temples.  I visited it at the end of last month.
There weren't so many people there at that time and I could enjoy the serenity with the sounds of water flowing.  I heard that the water there is taken from melting snow in the mountains surrounding the temple, and it takes so many years to reach there.  Don't you think it's amazing?

Calming my mind there, I thought :  Mu in the Zen world is described as "nothingness" or "emptiness".  But I think that being the state of Mu is getting to the state of mind of "infinity" or "abundance", kind of  embracing or full of acceptance.  It might be said that real love is that state.

It would have been better if I could share the water sounds without music, but instead I used the music on which I have been hooked these days.  The music is a cover version of classic music (Rakhmaninov Symphony No.2 ) by Japanese instruments (Shamisen and Shakuhachi) players, Hide-Hide.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sharing the beauty

So I've been thinking we could go a step further together, and share the beauty. All the beauties that surround us: the beautiful skyscraper in front of your office, kids laughing at a party, a music playing on the car radio, a long line of birds in the sky, a pot softly simmering on your stove, a page of your favourite magazine, a word said in a funny way by your work mate...What is your beauty today? What is making your heart skip a beat? What is sending warm fuzzy feelings of comfort to your mind and body? What is bringing a smile to your lips?
And more importantly: how about sharing it?
How about using this modest cozy place to rejoice in the beauties we can share?
It always makes us feel better, to see the beauty, and to share.
We all crave for it, I see that. Beauty, peace, connections. We never get enough, do we?
I'll make the first step, of course: in the small video below, I've included two of my favourite spots. The first one is the view I get to see every morning, the second one is a place I often go to with my kids. It is almost a draft, the videos are a little bit shaky (hastily taken with my smartphone). But it doesn't really matter.
What matters is: I love those views, the peace and joy they bring me...I'd like to share them with you.
And I'd love to get to see more joy, peace and comfort, in whatever pictures, videos, poems you'd be willing to link up or post in the comments below.
And I'd love to make a gallery here, of the beauties you'd like to a peace bank we could visit any time we need a little credit :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On being grateful

Like many of you I suppose, I come across posts and articles about gratitude. Some even assert that gratitude is good for health. Gratitude can't be a forced thing, yet I believe it can be gently nurtured and favoured.
Several months ago, I caught myself on my way to work, complaining and feeling terribly grumpy. My car had broken down, and the garage had agreed to lend us a car for a few days, time to repair our own. That car was old, and lacking in the usual comfort we enjoy.
There I was, lost in feelings of mild anger and frustration, and then it struck me: there was a ray of sunlight, it was morning, I was healthy, my family was, and I - was - complaining - because - I - was  - on - my - way - to work - in a car. I was going to work in a car, and I found ground for complaining!
It instantly flipped over, that whole perspective. Hello sunshine, I was going to work in a car, awesome!
Indeed, I could be unemployed. I could NOT have a car. Not only was I wrong to complain, but I saw things in negative, I had a completely upside down vision at that moment.
Long time ago, I wrote this poem, entitled 'Merci'. True, I was completely unaware at the time of the crap that would befall me later on in life (sorry for this language, but crap is crap, isn't it?). It went like this:

Merci en passant, merci en revenant,
Merci enfin et pour toujours,
Merci pour toutes les fleurs,
Les baisers, les sourires,
Merci pour les amis, même perdus
De vue, de vie, ou d'envie,
Merci pour les amis de toujours, et les amours,
Merci pour les senteurs,
Le sucre, le sel, et l'amer,
Merci pour la tendresse, merci
Pour la musique, les échos d'une voix,
Merci pour les chemins, les questions,
Merci pour les réponses, parfois, merci
Pour les chagrins qui mordent la vie,
Merci encore et à nouveau, pour les matins,
Les nuits, les petits matins, et les nuits blanches,
Merci aussi pour les envols, les voyages, et les retours,
Merci pour les départs, les multiples départs,
Pour les détours aussi, merci pour les arrêts,
Les pauses et les immersions, merci
Pour les lacs, les étangs, et les flaques,
Les océans, les rivières, les ruisseaux,
Merci pour tant d'oiseaux, de lumières
Et d'éclats, merci pour tant de spectacles,
Merci pour l'infini, les livres et les poèmes,
Merci pour ces leçons jamais terminées, sans cesse
Renouvelées, merci, pour les rencontres,
Les regards, merci pour les souvenirs, les belles
Histoires, merci pour les vastes espaces, merci
Pour tout ce qui ne pourra jamais être décrit
En simples mots, merci pour ce coeur débordant
De vie et de rêves, merci pour ces fleurs qui fleurissent
En hiver, et pour ces neiges éternelles,
Merci encore, pour le goût et l'envie,
Merci pour les poètes et les peintres, pour ce
Besoin d'apprendre, pour ce monde insondable,
Merci pour cette humaine envie d'aimer, merci,
Car infime je suis sur cette terre, dans l'univers,
Et il m'est impossible de tout saisir,
Immortelle, je ne le suis pas, et de tout cela,
Naît le bonheur de dépasser l'horizon,
D'écrire toujours et à n'en plus finir,
De frôler l'éternité...
Alors merci encore, merci vers l'infini,
merci à l'invisible, merci à l'indicible.
Merci pour ce tout petit mot, qui en dit tant : merci.

Boy was I right. That was a long list of things to be thankful for, and truly enough, the world is packed with so many wonders. I know the horrors of this world are equally overwhelming, and I've always struggled with explanations (chance, bad luck, evil?), though most of it comes back to man's choices.

I am not a religious person, though I am deeply spiritual. I see souls and spirit, I don't really see God. I struggle with the existence of horror, too much to actually see or find God. Sometimes I visit this blog: Ann Voskamp is very religious, and her passion for God almost scares me I must admit. Yet the beauty is that although we don't share the same beliefs, we share the same love for gratitude. In this report she explains that there was horror in her life, and that she found the true way to God through the sudden realization that there was so much to be thankful for, at every moment of the day. Horror and hardship must not eclipse all the wonders of this world. A.Voskamp sees all the things I mention in my poem as gifts of God. I see them as gifts, anyway.

Gifts mean that someone gave something, right? I know, I'm a sucker for paradoxes. I find life very paradoxical anyway. It doesn't keep me from deeply loving and acknowledging all the beauties surrounding us: smiles, friends, sugar, mountains, salt, departures, hearts, suitcases, beverages and books, music, sun...Oh once the list starts, it doesn't stop...

I hope you have a beautiful, unlimited list in mind. Or that you are starting one, right away ;)

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Oh dear, what a grand title...
It sounds a little bit bombastic, yet it means so much, doesn't it?
I wanted to share with you this text I have stumbled upon, written by a great man who passed away recently, Albert Jacquard.
In this letter to a future, not born yet at the time of writing, great-grand-child, Albert Jacquart shared a number of beautiful thoughts, as you should expect. It is a moving text (I haven't found the translation in English I'm afraid), and this particular line struck me: "Je est les liens que je tisse [...] C'est à ce niveau qu'il faut situer la révolution nécessaire : chaque membre de notre espèce est "plus que lui-même" par son appartenance au réseau des rencontres." That is to say, in a very approximate translation: "I am the links I create with the rest of the world [...] This is how you have to finetune a necessary revolution: each member of our species is "more than themselves" insofar as they create connections. A. Jacquard says in the letter that we have made so much progress in many domains, yet we also live in an era of massacres, wars and environmental disasters. He says the problem comes from us, because we have a wrong definition of ourselves. The problem stems from the way we behave and treat others, when really cooperation is the only key. If we realize that we are the links we create with others, then behaviours like competition and fighting against our peers appear clearly mad and suicidal.
I was moved by this, and it reminded me, among other things, of some posts by Sachi, mentionning interconnectedness.
The more I think of it, the more it strikes me as the right attitude to be adopted. We are in the same boat. We share the same universe. We all have so much in common. Yet so many humans hurt each other. They fight, often for futile aims and purposes. Yes, I think money is futile as soon as it doesn't serve its purpose in our society (allowing to live with decent food, shelter and education). Well we hurt ourselves when we hurt others. I believe too, in some karma kind of way, that the good and bad things we do come back to us. They show. We really are the links we create (and have naturally) with the rest of the world.
Which brings me to something else I want to share, a song by a guy I love. Great words that reflect great thoughts. Deep soft voice and beautiful articulation.
In this song Grand Corps Malade (nicknamed himself Big Sick Body because of an accident that crippled him) compares a human life to a play on stage. He says after all, all plays/lives are more or less alike (with only differences of budget and casting), and when the play gets tricky and complicated, you have to rely on your partners. He says: "n'oublie jamais cet adjectif, théâtre est un art collectif" (3:30-3:35), that is to say "never forget this adjective, the art in a theatre is collective". See, interconnectedness is everywhere to be found.
I wish you to create beautiful, meaningful links.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Protecting our planet

I am so glad to know that Val met a lovely family and that her daughter became friends with their daughter.  In the world of the Internet, one click gives us various windows on the world, and if we want, it also gives us the chance to make friends with people all over the world. What a fascinating modern age we are living in right now!
I have thought about using this great tool for world peace for years.  Actually, the reason why I started blogging was because I desired to be some help, even in a small way, to further world peace.  I know that there are many blogs/homepages that have culitvated gathering voices hoping for world peace already and there are many people who support world peace.

Wishing for world peace and healing the earth together...
The other day, one of my friends told me about an article that she happen to read.  
According to her, the message in the article was suggesting that people all over the world pray to heal the earth, at the same time together.  The procedure of the pray is as follows:
1. Imagine a perfect and healthy earth.
2. Imagine the earth full of green, and all of our families full of happiness.
3. Bless the earth for ten minutes.
4. Do it for about ten minutes at 22:00 every day.

The message also appeals to people by the following message:  We are all members of a spaceship called "Mother Earth".  Each of us has different beliefs, culture, and religion.  However, everyone has the same four DNA base structures of ATCG.  We all have the same feelings of happiness or sadness.  At the core, we are all one!  So fighting each other is absurd!  It is sad to see our Mother Earth (our home) being hurt and destroyed.  That is why the earth healing project has been started.
I think this prayer is worth doing.

The weather this summer here was totally abnormal; not only this summer and not only Japan, also the weather throughout the year, all over the world, has been abnormal!  I feel a sense of crisis and some sense of responsibility as a human-being.

As Val mentioned in her previous post, we mothers wish for our children's happiness, now and forever.  
My daughter is a grown-up already, but I still worry about her a lot and it seems that the worrying never ends.  So I wish for world peace and a healthy earth from the bottom of my heart.  Therefore, I have decided to do this earth healing prayer for about ten minutes at 22:00.

Protecting our ocean...
I would also like to share this TED DVD with you.
Her presentation is one of those that urged me to do something to protect our planet.  I strongly feel that now is the time that more people strongly desire world peace and to protect our planet with a unified voice.