It was around Easter, April this year. I heard on YouTube a reflection by a woman minister named Lynn about Dry Bones. It struck me with somehow a shock, and ever since, I have been thinking about it.
The story of Dry Bones is in the Bible. It talks about how God brings back to life the dry bones that are left on the ground. Bones are 💀🦴core of our body. The bones in this story had been left to dry for many many years and forgotten by the world. Suppose they were my bones, and if they were resurrected, they are “me.”
That means, When I suddenly open my eyes, the world is completely different. My beloved family is gone, my house is gone, no friends, no dogs I love, nothing…. just nothing…. I am totally alone. Then, what would I do? Could I still live? Rev. Lynn asked. “Does your core have that strength and wisdom to survive and build up your life again?”
What a terrifying thought!
I was indeed horrified. What would my life be like, if people around me are all strangers, nobody loves me, no house, no money, no nothing. What a lonely scary life it would be…. Do I have the strength and wisdom to live through that?
Hard to think I can…..
So….what does it mean to strengthen my core?…..what can I do to attain such wisdom? I’ve been thinking about that for nearly 2 months now. I have no answer yet.
OMG What happened!! Rutsu jumped out of the basement. I ran down the stairs. Oh no. I knew it! I knew something would happen. It was too good of a deal….And….. it did.
“Oh Sxxx! Fxxx!” Swears Neil.
I’ve been married to Neil for 20 years now. Yesterday, for the very first time, he said to me that he will help me with vacuuming today. “What?” “Really?” Half unsure, half skeptical, I handed over the vacuum cleaner to him.
So, the enormous sound….what has fallen down the stairs was not Neil, blessedly. It was our expensive vacuum cleaner. It fell all the way down from the top of the wooden stairs. We bought this one 9 years ago. It’s a German made, high quality, but incredibly heavy machine. Every time I use it, I feel like my hip would go twisted. It was alright, I could manage it 9 years ago. But now….it’s getting too heavy for an old woman over 60. So, my friend has been helping me with vacuuming every 2 weeks for the last few years in exchange for some cash.
Of course, after the Covid-19 pandemic, this had to be stopped. Now, it’s me who has to vacuum every 2 weeks whipping my pain-dreaded back and hip.
Neil is incredibly clumsy. And, he is a giant. He is 6’9 tall, and weighs over 270 lb. When one is that big, apparently, it becomes easier to break bones, even with a minor pressure or twist. He needs to be extra careful not to be slipping and falling. Nevertheless, he has been struggling endlessly with his bad knees, back, ankle, hernia….the list goes on. Every time he has trouble, my daily life gets messed up. So, I have been overprotective of him and not been asking him, “would you do this?” Or “Would you do that?”
So this husband of mine got so concerned for my back, and offered to help me with vacuuming. Isn’t it amazing? “Are you sure? It’s really heavy….!” I reluctantly handed it over to him. But, what a heroic vacuum cleaner it is! Of course, it’s German, expected to be a tough one! There was not even a scratch and it kept on going for another 3 hours!
So grateful to have a clean house again. So grateful that Neil did not fall down the stairs. So grateful for Neil’s warm caring for me. The pandemic reminded me of some wonderful gratitudes. Thank you! 🙏😊
I live in Canada. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn something in Japanese, I try hard to attend.
It was 2-3 years ago. Sadly I don’t remember what the title of the event was, or who the instructor was, but I went to an interesting presentation that made me think.
The talk was about ‘Ma’(間). ‘Ma’ is a tricky Japanese word, hard to translate exactly right into English. It sort of means ‘empty space’ or ‘space of nothingness’. The lecturer drew three circles like below to explain why ‘Ma’ is important.
She said, the characters for ‘Human being’ are 人間, ‘Time’ are 時間, and ‘Space’ are 空間. You can see that there is a common character in these three words. That is 間 which can be read ‘Ma’. Human being, time, and space are the key factors connected by empty space ‘Ma’. She said, when ‘Ma’ from these three factors meet, there is an encounter, and encounter brings opportunity. For example, when you encounter someone, the two people both have to be in an open mindset. If you are preoccupied with some intense thoughts, you might not notice the other person. And, the two persons have to be at the right place at the right time. When you are there a few minutes later or earlier, you might not meet that person. If two persons were separate from each other by a few meters, they might not encounter. So human beings, time, and space have to be just right for the encounter to happen and to bring opportunities.
So why is Ma so important?
Ma, according to this instructor is a space where there is no obstruction. it is important because that is where ‘Ki’ flows. Ki is a Japanese word for energy or Qi in Chinese. When Ma is stuffed, lost, stuck, or too full, Ki can not flow smoothly. Clear space is necessary because that is where energy flows. If energy cannot flow, there would be no encounter, thus no opportunity.
Hmm hmm…. the instructor continued….so try to have clear space in your heart and let your energy flow, try to have flexibility in your schedule so you are not tied down to minutes and seconds, and try to get rid of unnecessary unwanted stuff from your home and make a clean open space, so your energy can flow….. my brain stopped at that moment.
I raised my hand and asked her. “What if I don’t have anything I can get rid of? I have tons of unnecessary things or things I don’t particularly love, but they were passed down from our parents and they bring so many memories…. I can not get rid of them.”
Then this cool woman instructor said, “well, then you do Ha Hu Ki!” “What? I’ve never heard of such a word!” She smiled and said, “Ha is short for Haku (sweep), Hu is short for Huku (wipe), and Ki is short for Kiyomeru (purify). This is a Japanese ancient wisdom.”
Wow…I see…really?…. I came back home with so much reflection. I tried. I swept and wiped my stuff-filled house. I have to say….I was truly surprised how different I felt. I could feel that the energy inside the house has shifted. She was right! Sweeping and wiping did purify the house! Positive energy is now flowing in the house and I was so happy.
So ever since, I try every morning, sweep and wipe, whispering the word to myself “Ha Hu Ki” over and over.
I’m baking cookies, because…. today is a Mother’s Day.
It’s not like my mother especially loved cookies. I just love the smell when I’m baking cookies, that sweet, warm, and cozy smell….
It reminds me of my mom. She was a homely person. I might have been rebelling against that. Perhaps that’s why I devoted so much of myself to music and to business career. I can never say I was a homely mother. I probably baked cookies once a year, just before Christmas. I baked them because I wanted to give cookies to neighbors and colleagues as a little Christmas gift. I didn’t want to give store bought ones. I wanted to show them a different side of me. So in nutshell, it was an act of duty and appearance…..
At the zoom zazen meditation this morning, I was listening to the talk on Mother’s Day and I felt like crying. I miss my mom….. I want to see her…… I love her…….
I thought I should bake cookies for her.
She is gone for 8 years now already. It doesn’t matter now how much I miss her, think of her, care for her, love her….she is gone for good. Why didn’t I go see her more often? Why didn’t I phone her to chat more often? It comes down to the same theme again. “I was too busy.” I was too exhausted by the time I came home. I didn’t have energy to phone her and have a nice chat. However, when I felt down and sad, I had no trouble finding the time and energy to phone her. Hearing her voice comforted me…
It’s a warm weekend. My youngest daughter Rutsu is preparing for a barbecue dinner on the deck. We just had a wonderful online chat with all my three children with their spouses and children. My mom is gone, but I am blessed with my loving family and friends. Why not re-direct my love and gratitude for my mother to people around me?
It’s weird. Ever since this Corona pandemic started, I am sleeping well.
I had insomnia. Every night I was tossing right and left, facing up and down, sitting up on the bed meditating….
Jealous of some guy next to me sleeping soundly with rhythm…. I felt like yanking his feet as hard as I could.
The last resort was to turn my little lamp on, choose a most uninteresting book, and read hoping to fall asleep….
Strangely I fall right asleep when I’m watching TV, but my eyes are wide open, my head as clear as ever, as soon as I arrive in bed. I was sometimes even afraid of the night coming…..
Amazingly, ever since Covid-19 pandemic, none of them is happening. Isn’t it a wonderful shift?!
But….why? Something must have changed inside me, right? What was it that changed?
I am supposed to be having a boring life of staying home, no stimulations, no personal growth, just everyday mundaneness.
But think, now my mind might be like a new born baby, back to totally natural, with much comfort and no tensions. Thanks to the pandemic, sleeping well might be a reflection of that.
“I don’t have time!” It was my motivational force. I always heard that phrase in my head.
Don’t waste time, get ready as quickly as I can, don’t spend time on unimportant things, but spend as much time as needed for important things. Efficiency, efficiency!!!
I am 64 and my time is limited. While I still have energy and health, I want to do all the things I want to do. I want to go to all the places I want to go.
Perhaps I was too impatient. I was too greedy. I was putting too much pressure onto myself. Insomnia might have been a result of that.
So now, Covid-19 forces me to go nowhere, see nobody, and do nothing. This has become my new reality. Crying, shouting, and complaining have no effect. I have no control over it. For the first time in my adult life, I am free from all the pressure and I have returned to my natural self.
Perhaps I should thank the pandemic for giving me this awareness.
At the zoom zen meditation session, the teacher asked us, “why do you meditate?” He said meditation would help you see yourself deeper and let you know you deeper.
A Presbyterian woman minister named Lynn whom I have never met in person, but follow her on YouTube challenged us. “Easter is about dying and being reborn. in order for new you to be born, the old you has to die.”
What is “old me”? What aspect of me has to die? I was thinking about that ever since I heard her just before Easter. It’s been more than 2 weeks now and I might have the answer just bubbling up in my heart.
Let’s not be impatient. Let’s not put pressure onto myself. The “greedy me”should perish, and “natural me” shall be born. May “new me” have a slow life graceful and mindful. It’s alright if I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do in my lifetime. It’s ok to have some places left unvisited. I already have plenty of gratitudes in my life.