Gift Ecology Experiment reflection

Two months around Japan film screening and workshop tour has ended.

In every screening and lecture I went, I have invited participants to offer me a message of love, such as words of encouragement and support, constructive criticism, the pledge to join me in spreading the vision etc. If people felt that they would like to spread the vision and have others hear my stories and talk, I asked them to support me in the form they can whether it is material or money for me to keep moving forward on my screening tour.

A screening at Shiga 滋賀の上映会

A screening at Shiga 滋賀の上映会

The results were astounding. The warm messages/letters I got was so encouraging and they made me feel that I was able to contribute in someway. I also received some financial support every time. This entire process was such an incredible journey for me.

 

Receiving monetary support was always quite an interesting experience for me. What I realized was that there was always feeling of tremendous gratitude but also awkwardness around counting the amount of money that I received. It made me feel so grateful to see the gift that was flowing into me but counting the money also made me feel a bit like putting a price on what was priceless to me. I admit that whenever I counted the money, my brain automatically went to a default mode which thinks “the number of total participants were X, so people paid average X yen per person,” then my brain evaluate my performance accordingly.

 

I felt a bit embarrassed that my brain does such calculation, as I knew how much each people paid was not the point. It was the message and the energy behind the monetary support that I received that mattered greatly for me.

My host took me to beautiful sites - upstream of a river in Gifu where water springs out of a mountain to form a river. 素敵な場所もたくさん見せていただきました。岐阜でのホストが連れて行ってくれた山からの湧き水が川になる場所。

My host took me to beautiful sites – upstream of a river in Gifu where water springs out of a mountain to form a river. 素敵な場所もたくさん見せていただきました。岐阜でのホストが連れて行ってくれた山からの湧き水が川になる場所。

In mid April, I participated the workshop that my friend ran with three other collaborators. The workshop was run in the form of gift. At the end of the workshop, workshop leaders explained why they are doing what they are doing and as participants were asked to donate whatever they felt appropriate. It was quite challenging for me to be in that situation. I knew that they are not pressuring me to pay anything and they repeatedly said that they didn’t want us to pay out of obligations and wanted us to pay out of our heart. However, whenever I heard the word “donation” it made me feel like I should pay and my own experience gave me a great suffering. I mirrored my experience with those that the participants in my screenings and workshops may have experienced. I was really scared that some of them might have felt the kind of pressure that I felt, because it was the least thing I wanted them to feel. Something about the word donation was bothering me. I felt like donation is something you give when you have enough or something you do out of some feelings of responsibility or obligation.

 

Also, it was quite challenging to decide how much to contribute. What these workshop leaders offered me was more than just the hours they spend during the 5 days workshop. It felt that no matter how much I give, it would not be enough.

 

At the end, what made most sense to me was to leave all the money that I was given as a monetary support through my screenings and workshops till that day. I felt it was the best way to let the energy flow. I didn’t know exactly how much money I left but I actually didn’t want to know the exact amount. In a way, leaving all the money was most empowering for me but also the least challenging way for me. I felt that what they have offered was priceless and I would have a hard time putting a price on it.

A tour of the community that I got from my host at Fujino. Visiting shared chicken at the neighbor.

A tour of the community that I got from my host at Fujino. Visiting shared chicken at the neighbor. いろんな街も見せてもらいました。藤野ツアー、ご近所で一緒に飼っているシェアチキンたちを訪問。

 

After that experience, I stopped using the word donation when I asked for the support from people. I needed to figure out the way to describe what I meant with the word that I felt comfortable. Also, I stopped counting the monetary support I received. I just put everything I received in one large envelope and decided to leave them till my tour in Japan ends. I felt a lot better that way. In this way, I was able to focus a lot more on the energy of support that I was receiving through their words and smiles and the experience remind priceless or price-free allowing its value to be evaluated only internally. When people asked if I am able to pay for all the expenses, my answer was “I don’t know yet. I will see.” But in a mean time, as the envelop gets thicker and heavier with all the contribution and notes with messages, my faith grow that things will work out fine and if my work is needed in this word, I will somehow get to continue what I do.

 

Got to stay at so many wonderful places that people have offered - a view from my host's place in Hiroshima いろんな素敵な場所に滞在させていただきました。広島のホストの家からの眺め

Got to stay at so many wonderful places that people have offered – a view from my host’s place in Hiroshima いろんな素敵な場所に滞在させていただきました。広島のホストの家からの眺め

At the end of the two months tour, I took all the monetary support that I received to the bank and deposited them. In the bank statement, it only added a single line but it felt so much more to me. I admit that seeing the sum of the contribution was incredible and I felt the collective power of the generosity of people. I still don’t know if I was able to cover all the expenses quite yet but I had a gut feeling that told me it would be just enough. Besides, I know for sure that all the people who hosted the screening would have been able to invite me to speak at their event if I had an up front fee to cover the accommodation, transportation and my time. So, I know already the number of encounter I got to have because I chose offer my time and resource as a gift, I received incredible amount of new connections and wonderful encounters. I spread out all the notes with messages that I received during the last two months. It was like a physical proof of new social capital that I have gained. Now I have so many new friends all over Japan who provided me with accommodation, invited me to a wonderful meals and gave me a tour of their community. What a gift.

 

All the messages that I have received throughout the tour. ツアー中に受け取ったたくさんの方からのメッセージ

All the messages that I have received throughout the tour. ツアー中に受け取ったたくさんの方からのメッセージ

Before I began this gift ecology experiment, I felt a lot of anxiety around money, security and the feeling of contribution I am making to the world. Now I feel a lot more confidence in my work. Of course I still wonder if I get to make my living by doing what I do in a way I did this time, but I have a greater faith that if I act out of love and hope instead of fear, things will work out if what I offer is needed in the world and that the generosity of people is beyond ones imagination.

 

For what I get to experience and feel, I am so thankful to all the people who supported me in this experiment in so many different ways.

Thoughts about money

For the last few months since I have decided to start the gift ecology experiment, I have been thinking a lot about money and what money means for me, and it gave me a really good perspective on myself.

After I put my thoughts into words and posted in the “Invitation to the gift ecology experiment” on a blog, I thought I would feel somewhat at ease but …nope. Something was still bothering me.

I recently encountered my other friend’s blog on money and it got me thinking a bit more about it. There he mentioned that “money is what brings out the necessarily emotions for you and it is a tool to learn your true feelings and the relationship. It is because the essence of money is an emotion and it is about relationship when it is between people. Money only flows through you in your life, and your life does not depend on it. For those people who think money is necessarily for life, it means that they haven’t faced with their true feelings and relationships.” He then described that how people associate different emotions with money. People have different perspectives about money: Money is a necessity for survival, money gives us security, money is the reward, money is a status and power, money is a tool to satisfy desire, and money is an exchange for your action. For each of them, he described the emotion hidden under the particular perspectives towards money.

What made me realize reading his article was that part of me have been associating money as a reward. In his description, the reason for that perspective is a lack of a feeling of self-worth. That feeling manifests in the behavior such that the person can’t be fully relaxed and be “lazy,” have to do something all the time. But then the true emotion behind that action is “I don’t want to do anything.” So, the key, he said to get out of this money image is to do nothing till you feel OK doing nothing.

That perspective kind of hit me hard. The fact was, I was becoming more and more restless about the fact that I am not making money doing what I am doing, and started to suspect my self-worth. I started to feel I am not doing enough, and I am not good enough. Without receiving money, I felt that I kind of lost the measurable assurance about my contribution to the world.

I am doing my own projects and no one is telling me to work certain hours, so the hour I put in per day in front of the computer doesn’t matter. I could have been hiking, relaxing, reading or whatever. I could have done whatever I wanted to do. But then, after not receiving any monetary reward for a while, I started to feel guilty without doing something that I considered “productive.” I kept putting more and more things to do on my plate because none of them were generating money as an immediate reward, I felt no one was recognizing my work and that I am not doing enough….

Even on my walk, I listened to the audio book so I feel I am getting something out of the time away from the computer. I almost felt if I am not on the computer communicating, then my existence in this world will be forgotten…. I kept going to places, meeting people, filling up my calendar with things to do, and if I have less emails to respond, I sent email to people… In the last few weeks, I started to check my email first thing in the morning to see if the world still need me…. Not a nice place to be.

I realized how exhausted I was because of that. All the projects I am doing are something I really really care for and I am grateful that I can put my energy and time in it. But then, the lack of immediate monetary rewards started to give me doubts if my commitment and passion in them are recognized and appreciated at all…

I had a bit of a breakdown at that point. I started to cry a lot. I was overwhelmed. I was tired and lonely. I felt that I was doing so much all by myself but nothing mattered.

So, I decided to try doing nothing, for a day. No email checking all day. No preparation for the upcoming travel. No reading (the kind that I read to learn something.) Nothing that I considered “work.” I needed a day off. But I am finding it difficult to give myself a day off when my life is my work or my work is my life. A friend of mine once told me that when he started doing what he loved as his work, there was no on and off, it was just always be.

I felt I needed to learn how to relax. It was sooooooo hard not to do anything and not feel anxious or guilty. For a while, when I sit to meditate I ended up making a to-do list in my head most of the time. I felt like there were so many things I needed to do.

I decided to space out a bit outside, but then soon after, I started trimming plants and getting few flowers to make a bouquet (yes, to feel I was doing something!) Then, I went for a walk. Sat down under the tree as the storm was coming. I listened to the gusty winds and watched the tree dance with the winds. After a while, I felt… OK. Even when I am in the middle of a storm, if I keep my feet deep in the ground and just sway to let the storm pass by, I will be fine.

Woods in the storm

Woods in the storm

This emotional breakdown was really interesting. At Upaya zen center, I wasn’t making money at all but I felt a great sense of contribution and not making money didn’t bother me much. I was part of a community and I was given a role. I felt that the work I was putting was recognized and appreciated by the community. So I didn’t need money to reassure my contribution. So, the need I was feeling, I guess, is probably not really the money itself but to feel appreciated and to be recognized on what I do.

At the same time, I recognized that even when doing things I love, if it is starting to feel like I am “volunteering,” then it would not be sustainable. This perspective will drain my energy and resource. The reality is in order for me to just manage day-to-day life and travel back and forth to Japan, I will still have to spend money. I still have my savings, so I can survive and I don’t need money per se but seeing my savings go down makes me a bit nervous and makes me think I need money… but may be I just want money. But why? May be it is the sense of security and comfort I feel with money in the saving that I am attached with. In the end, it is about a practice of letting go of a fear, accepting everything and turning away from nothing.

Well, I am still processing it. But it is OK.
This whole process is what is priceless after all.

The journey of money will continue….

Back story of the previous post

Well, I rewrote my previous blog entry over 5 times! and honestly, I am still not sure if I am ready to share it to the world or not… It’s been over 5 days since I posted it but I didn’t tell anyone about it.

It’s been a challenge to pick a word and think how to say what I want to say accurately and clearly, and even then I was doubting myself if what I wrote was really what I wanted to say. I mean, what the heck do I really want to say in the first place?!?!

Part of me is still really scared about it. This was about asking for money for myself. That’s really edgy. I went back and forth about what my true intension was. I used the term “invitation” but I kept thinking, “What am I expecting from it? Isn’t it just a play on word that I can just cut and replace “invitation” with “a call for donation”?

Hearing the perspectives of a friend who is starting a pilgrimage as a gift ecology experiment also questioned my true intention as well. He said he decided against fundraising because

Fundraising (at least the ways I know how) carries heavy karmic residues. When I fundraise, I treat other people as means to an end. I want something from them. If they agree to contribute, I will congratulate myself on my “fundraising skills”, instead of fully appreciating the other person’s generosity. After I take their money, I will feel obligated toward them, or try to avoid them. If they do not want to contribute, I am putting the awkward burden of saying No on them. Either way, it sours human connection.

At first, I even considered using a crowd funding website but I felt that having a monetary goal to fundraise would inevitably make the process goal focused and that would probably make me want to achieve the goal and be judgmental about whatever the result would be. Besides, if I were to say “ for such and such dollar donation, I will send you a thank you postcard from Japan!” then I still am stuck in this “exchange” mindset. So, no crowd funding.

Then, about “asking” part. This same friend also said that he decided not to fundraise or solicit at all. He decided to “go all the way in” to trust that the universe will provide. To get to that amount of faith, I think it requires a lot of mental strength and clarity to be fully trust, let go of attachment, and stay open for anything. Although I am very much inspired by his faith, honestly, I don’t think I am ready for that quite yet.

I felt I still had a need for asking.
But then, I was thinking what I really wanted to ask for.
My biggest need, after all, is not the money itself but the company, a co-conspirator on the experiment that I am about to do. I am looking for a partner in crime, someone who put a faith into this experience with me. That’s it. Now that I think about it, I had a collaborator on my gift tour experiment. I had Kai to share the whole process together, and Rie, a collaborator in Japan who came to support organizing of the tour together.

This experiment, however, I am about to do this all alone.
I would like my friends to join me on this journey, to share the experience, to talk about it, to think about the possible approach, and to enjoy what will come up.

That’s why it is an invitation. And what I really want to do and really excited about is the “experiment” part. I want to see if this Pay it Forward works or not for myself. Without doing, how do I know what would happen? Right?

Another hesitation I had was that I wanted to make sure that I am not attached to the outcome of this invitation. I wanted to remove all my expectations and feel comfortable of the outcome regardless of what it may be. If I were to receive no contribution, would I be disappointed? I think… not. This is an experiment, thus I can say no matter what happens or does not happen, everything will be good for my experiment. I will find out what works and what doesn’t work for me, and what felt comfortable and what felt uncomfortable etcetc.

Wow, with this clarity, I feel I can finally spread the previous posting.
OK. Here we go. Let’s start the experiment.

An invitation for a Pay It Forward Gift Experiment

Today, I am writing to ask your support on the next phase of my journey and invite you to become part of the social experiment that I am about to embark on.

I am asking your support for my travel to Japan.
Why? Well, This is going to be a bit long but please allow me to explain.

Last summer, I had an opportunity to organize a study tour in a very unique way. It was an invitation from my dear friend, Kay Sawyer to create a study tour for a group of Japanese people, as a gift experience. The result was…. Stunning. The whole thing, organizing and conducting the tour, became a pilgrimage for myself and everyone involved. My perspective really shifted.

Usually, when you do something, you get paid for your time and service by the receiver of that particular service. During the tour, instead of creating the usual exchange of a service with monetary payment, we gifted the tour to participants. When the interaction is no longer a simple quid pro quo exchange, it became a lot more intimate and built stronger relationship. First of all, because we were not charging the participants, in order for us to make this tour happen, we had to figure out the ways to somehow pay for or eliminate expenses, and we asked for a support. This provided opportunities for more people to be involved. Instead of paying for a motel, we received three different places to accommodate us and 7 more peopled got involved because of that. Instead of paying for a meal at restaurants, we received countless homemade meals from more than a dozen of friends, and many meals were prepared together as a community. Instead of paying for a guided tour at the site we visited, we contributed by helping on the projects, which allowed us to work together and get to know each other a lot better.

A delicious picnic lunch offered by friends

A delicious picnic lunch offered by friends

Relationships multiplied when we shifted from the quid pro quo exchange. Those relationships formed extended beyond the tour periods, and to be honest, the result of these expanding web of networks is beyond comprehension.

Here are more stories from the tour.
https://www.deliciousjourneyforlife.com/category/gift-ecology/
Also in the Kai’s blog
http://livingpermaculture.blogspot.com/2015/06/gift-ecology-pilgrimage.html

So, after the tour, I have been thinking about how I will move forward. I just couldn’t get back to the simple exchange mode. It definitely questioned how I work and what I do for a living. When I offer my time, I wanted it to be out of love and passion not from fear and sense of scarcity.

Also when I offer what I love and believe beneficial to people, I just couldn’t bring myself to put a price on it. It felt very limiting. Now I am planning for my next trip to Japan to spread this amazing documentary film, which I put a subtitle on with friends. The film, called Edible City ( See the preview here ), highlights the citizens-based food movement that is happening in the Bay Area. It features various people and communities who are challenging the current paradigm of broken food system and creating new ways to make good food accessible in the city.

We translated the film as our passion project and we are not getting paid for doing this. Because I want to do is to share my excitement for the vision of urban faming and concept of food justice that this film can spread. I am also gifted to live in the Bay Area so I get to know the people and projects in the film personally with current updates, and help Japanese audiences understand the context of the better by providing with the historical background and social ecosystem of the Bay Area.

At the same time, I also want to create a community of people with a shared vision. I want to meet people who share the similar values and passion in Japan. I see myself as a bee flying from one community to the other and spreading the pollen of inspiration. To do so, instead of “charging” for my time as a speaker, I would like to make a pay it forward experiment.

Here is my inspiration. http://www.karmakitchen.org/index.php?pg=about

Meaning, I would like to invite participants at my talk to give what they can, weather it is a support for accommodation, meals, transportation, or an offer to host a film screening to share the message, so that the vision of Edible City will spread to other communities. It is like the honey for the bee to keep buzzing forward is created by the love and gift of those who received the pollen and wished the pollen to be spread.

Then, me going to talk to a different community become the act of delivering a gift from those I met before. This itself, I believe, will become a process of creating relationships. I don’t know what kind or how much relationship will be formed but this is exactly why I want to try and see.

In order to start this process, I would like to invite you to be part of the experiment with me. In order for a bee to take off, an initial boost of energy will be greatly encouraging. It will be extra exciting if my travel to Japan is supported by friends in the Bay Area who believes in what I believe in and are excited by what I am excited by. When I visit the community in Japan, it will be amazing if I can say, “the reason why I am here is because friends in the Bay Area supported me to share this vision with you so we can all collaborate together. My time and labor is already been paid for by them. I am simply here to deliver the gift of inspiration.”

My goal as a bee is to create cross-pollination between communities in Japan and the Bay Area. It is my vision and dream to bring together amazing people who are doing amazing work at two places that I love so dearly.

Your gift will definitely give me an encouragement and your involvement will make my experiment so much more exciting, because from the get go, I have a partner in crime to share the experience together!

Please join me on my experience and see what happens ☺

If you would like to receive updates of my journey, please email cross.pollinators(at)gmail.com to be added to the mailing list (please replace (at) with @).

If you are inclined to add to the jar of honey, you can use the following link
paypal.me/EriSuzuki

Thank you!

* Below is a bit more detailed explanation about gift by the people I respect and inspired by.
http://www.servicespace.org/join/?pg=gift
http://www.servicespace.org/blog/view.php?id=14918

One day at a time Part 6

11.24.2015
11/24/2015
I thought about death today. While walking down from the mountain, I thought about how and where I want my ashes to be spread…
Every day, the chanting at the end of the evening meditation gives me an important reminder.
“Life and Death is a supreme importance. Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost. Let us awaken. Awaken. Take heed. Do not squander your life.”
今日死について考えた。ハイキングからの帰り道、死んだら自分の遺灰を埋めてほしい場所とか考えたりして。
毎日1日の終わりの瞑想の後に唱える言葉が大事なことを思い出させてくれる。
「生死事大。時は早々と過ぎ、機会は失われていく。私たちに気づきを。目覚めよ。心に留めよ。人生を無駄にしないこと。」
元は禅語のこれだと思う:
生死事大 光陰可惜 無常迅速 時不待人 

11.25.2015
11/25/2015
Sunset is grounding.
夕日はいつも自分を大地とつなげてくれる

11.26.2015
11/26/2015
A day of Thanksgiving remembering to be grateful for what I have. I am so thankful to have a wonderful family, amazing friends all around the world, and incredible opportunities to explore the world and live in such a full life.
サンクスギビングは自分に与えられているすべてに感謝する日。世界を旅する機会を得て、素晴らしい家族や世界中の友人たちに囲まれて、こんな盛りだくさんの人生に心から感謝。

11.27.2015
11/27/2015
Wisdom of a day: Find a discipline to sit for meditation everyday but also have a loving and kind heart to allow your sit to be whatever it is without judgments
毎日座禅にするという点においては、自分に対して厳しくありなさい。でもその座禅がどんなものであっても評価判断せず優しく愛情を持って受け入れるのです。

11.28.2015
11/28/2015
Challenge of a Day: Keep my heart open for the imperfection, frustrations, and anxiousness I feel.
自分が感じている不完全さやそれによるイライラや不安に心を開き続けること

11.29.2015
11/29/2015
A lesson from mountain biking after a few bruises: Trying something for the first time is always a bit scary but if I just do it with a faith that it will be OK, things will work out just fine and I will come out of the experience feeling a bit more alive and confident.
マウンテンバイクに挑戦。数カ所にアザができたけど、それと同時に思うこと。何かを初めてやる時はいつも少し怖い。けど大丈夫って信じて進んだら、なんとかなるもの。その経験をしたことで、より生きてる!って感覚と自分に対しての自信が持てる

11.30.2015
11/30/2015
Knowing what my body needs to nourish itself is so important. I am so grateful that I am able to give myself a treat of a lovely hike in the nature and long bath.
自分の体が必要としていることに耳を傾けるのって大事だわ。1日かけてハイキングに行ったり、温泉にゆっくり浸かって体を癒す時間を持てたことに感謝。

12/1/2015
Rohatsu starts: Invitation for the noble silence: Get off from the screen, which connect us to the world but also distract us from what is in front of you. Show up each moment, to be fully present to what is here now.
一年の終わりの瞑想、臘八摂心(ろうはつせっしん)が始まる。貴重な静寂への招待。世界中どこへでもつなげてくれると同時に目の前のことから注意を奪うパソコンから離れてみよう。一瞬一瞬に全身で身をおいて、今ここにあること。

12/1/2015-12/8/2015 Rohatsu: A miracle of each moment.

12.8.2015
12/8/2015
Rohatsu ended: Miracles in each moment. I saw it, studied it, and practiced it throughout the week. Now I remember and my feeling of appreciation to this world, appreciation density the teacher Kaz called, is so great that pouring out of me. I vow to spread the gratitude and love to the world.
臘八(ろうはつ)が終わった。一瞬一瞬の奇跡たち。それらを見て、観察して、実践した一週間。ちゃんと思い出した。カズ先生は「感謝の密度」って言ってたけどこの世界への感謝の気持ちが体から溢れ出す。この感謝と愛を世界に広げていきます。

12.9.2015
12/9/2015
Saying a farewell and thank you to all the places I love in the mountain. So grateful for the nature to give me a place to feel grounded. When having a faith for what my heart is telling me, life brings me all the surprises and miracles beyond my imagination.
いつも登っていた山。大好きな場所たちにさよならとありがとうを言いにいった。私と大地をつなげてくれるこの自然に溢れる感謝の気持ち。自分のハートの声を信じて行動するとき、自分の想像以上の奇跡と驚きが待ってるんだー。

12.10.2015
12/10/2015
“Set your life on fire and find people to fan your fire.” – Rumi
Let go of the shield, be vulnerable, allow myself to love and be passionate so I live fully in each moment.
「いのちに火をつけるのです。そしてその火に風を送ってくれる人をさがすのです」とRumiは言う。自分を守っているシールドをとっぱらって、自分の弱さもさらけ出そう。愛とパッションを感じられるように。そして瞬間瞬間を精一杯生きれるように。

12.11.2015
12/11/2015
A bittersweet journey back to the Bay Area. The sunset at the Bay Area is beautiful as well. How blessed I am to have a place and people that I can call home all over the world.
ウパヤを後にして、ベイエリアに到着。ウパヤの素晴らしいコミュニティーを去るのは寂しい。けどベイエリアの友達と会えたのは嬉しい。そしてベイエリアの夕日も美しい。いろんなところにホームだと感じられる人と場所がある私はとても幸せ者だ。

One day at a time part 5

11.5.2015
11/5/2015
Beauty of the snow covered white landscape. Sound of the air shifted to quite and peaceful.
一面雪景色。音が静かで穏やかになった。

11.6.2015
11/6/2015
What nourishes me. Filing my lung with a fresh air. Stretch high and feel the sun on my face.
自分の栄養源;美味しい空気を肺いっぱいに吸い込むこと。大きくストレッチして頬に太陽の光を感じること。

11.7.2015
11/7/2015
All day sitting: Time feels so expansive. Lots of things come in mind and goes. Things just flow.
May be this is how things works.
1日座禅会:時間が大きく広がったような気がした1日。多くのことが頭の中に入ってきては通り過ぎた。全てがただ流れていく。
なんか、事の真理ってこういうことなのかも、と感じた。

11.8.2015
11/8/2015
Life and death is a supreme importance. Why tragedy happen to a good people, I have to ask. But then who am I to decide what is good and bad? The short little life that greatly touched my heart reminding me with a mystery and great love of life.
生死事大。なんで素晴らしい人に悲しい出来事が起こってしまうのだろう?と考えずにはいられないことが起きた。でも何がいいことで何が悪いことなのか、私なんかが決められることだろうか?消えていった小さな命が私の心を掴み、人の命の壮大な愛とミステリーを思い出させてくれた。

11.9.2015
11/9/2015
Spent all day at the top of the mountain. My private spot. Feeling the light breeze on my cheek and warm sun on my back, hearing the winds, laying down on the rock looking at a clear blue sky. What a blessing to be on this beautiful earth.
山頂で過ごした1日。私の秘密の場所。そよ風を額に、暖かな太陽を背中に感じ、風を聞きながら岩に寝転がって透き通った青い空を望む。この美しい地球に今いることはなんて素晴らしい奇跡だろう。

11.10.2015
11/10/2015
Starting Sesshin: five days of all day meditation. Keep the heart and mind open and see what arise from within.
5日間の連日座禅、接心の始まり。自分のこころと思考を開いて、自分の中から何が出てくるかを見てみよう

11/11 ~ 11/15/2015
Holding a noble silence off line from the virtual world and intellectual engagement from reading and writing.
数日間、自分に静寂の時間を与えるために、完全オフライン、読むこと書くことなど頭を使う時間なしでの生活

11.16.2015
11/16/2015
Wisdom of a day: Cultivating a peaceful mind is a great work in this world.
平和なココロを育むことはこの世界にとって、とても大切なことなのです。

11.17.2015
11/17/2015
Making a snow angle, playing a snow fight, creating a huge snowman and sledding down the hill – Playing in a snow is the best way to unleash your inner child.
積もった雪に根転んでスノーエンジェルを作ったり、雪合戦したり、雪だるま作ったり、プラスチックの袋片手にそりすべりができる坂を探し当てて滑ったり。雪遊び最高〜。

11.18.2015
11/18/2015
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed kinda day. Being on a swing going really high so it feels like flying out and catching a beautiful sunset makes up for any bad mood.
なんだか朝からどうも調子が悪い1日だった。ブランコに乗ってこのまま空に飛んでいくかもと思うくらい思いっきり高く漕いだり、息をのむほどの夕日を見れたりしたら、気分が悪かったのも吹っ飛んだ。

11.19.2015
11/19/2015
A challenge of a day: Being in a kitchen getting ready for a dinner for the community, how can I work with spending 60% of my energy and being completely content with 80% of what I think things should be? It is a great way to be comfortable to give myself some slack without feeling guilt and fear of judgment so I can be sustainable and stress free when I am working on something that I really care about.
今日のチャレンジ:キッチンで一人コミュニティー全員の夕食の支度のときに思うこと。どうした自分の60%くらいのエネルギーをかけて、こうあるべきだと思うレベルの80%くらいの出来に満足できるか。罪悪感を感じたり、自分に対する評価判断を恐れずにどうしたら、気を緩めて作業ができるかな。これって自分が大事だと思うことをしていく上で、ストレスを感じずに長続きさせるヒントだ。

11.20.2015
11/20/2015
Notes to self: Do not get too sucked into planning details. “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” the wise man once said.
覚え書き:未来に不安になっても綿密に計画を立てることにはまりすぎないこと。「人生とは次の計画を立てているといに起こっていること」って賢人が昔言ってた気がする。

11.21.2015
11/21/2015
Wisdom of a day: “When faced with challenges and discomfort, be true to these feeling and have an intention to relax into it. It is a way to chose to live a life in stead of avoiding it,” Nick said at the morning check in for the kitchen samu (work practice). What a blessing to live with so many wonderful teachers.
「何かに直面したりもやもやを感じてるときは、気持ちに正直にその状態にリラックスして身をあずける意識を持ったらいいよ。それが自分の人生に逃げずに向かっていくということだよ」ってキッチンの作務が始まる前の朝のチェックインミーティングでニックが言ってた。学び会える仲間に囲まれての生活って素晴らしい。

11.22.2015
11/22/2015
Note to self: Pay attention and listen to the body. The body knows more than you think you know yourself.
覚え書き:体のいうことを聞くこと。体は頭で思っているよりもずっと自分のことをわかってる。

11.23.2015
11/23/2015
Wisdom of a day: “The secret for happiness is to be grateful. To be grateful, you need to 1. Stop 2. Look and 3. Go.” By David Steindl-Ras
http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=4596
「幸せへのヒントは感謝すること。感謝するには、とまって、周りを見回して、進むこと」って David Steindl-Rasが言っている。

One day at a time part 4

10/14~ 10/20
A brief time away from the Zen center.
禅センターからしばらく離れてベイエリアへ。

10.21.2015
10/21/2015
In the morning, one of the seniors at Upaya greeted me with “Welcome home.” But then, in a Bay Area, my friend greeted me at the door with “Welcome home!” Then, when I go to Japan, family and friends will greet me with “Welcome home.”

What is home? It started to feel that wherever I am, the home is always there.

Upayaに戻ってきた朝、禅僧の方の一人が 「ウェルカム ホーム (おかえり)」と声をかけてくれた。でもベイエリアに一週間戻っていた間も友達が口々に「ウェルカム ホーム〜」と迎えてくれた。もちろん日本に行って家族や友達に会っても「おかえり」と言われる。

自分にとって、ホームって一体何だろう?
どこにいても、自分が今いる場所がホームなのかもしれない、と思う今日この頃。

10.22.2015
10/22/2015
Koan of the day: A man is hanging off a brunch of a tree on a cliff by his teeth for his life. He cannot use his hands as they are tied behind his back. He started to get tired to hold on and a monk passes by and asks him. “What is the one truth you can tell in order to save your life?”

What do I take out of this? May be sometime in life there is no answer for the situation.

The first sight of a snow up in the mountain!

今日の禅問答:男が崖プチの木の枝に歯で噛み付いてぶら下がっている。両手は背中で縛られていて使えない。そろそろ限界だーというところにお坊さんがやってきて聞く。「あなたの命を守るため、一つ真実を告げるとしたらなんですか?」

この話から何を感じるか。。。人生には答えのない状況もあるのかもしれない。

ちなみに今日は山頂に今年初の雪を発見!

10.23.2015
10/23/2015
Nature inspires me. Creativity will come out of anyone if you give a room for it.

自然は自分の中のインスピレーションを呼び覚ます。誰しもその機会さえ与えられれば、自然と創造力が生まれてくるものなのかも。

10.24.2015
10/24/2015
Air is crisp. Color is bright. Every day a day is getting shorter and shorter. Feeling the changes in season all around me. How can I have an eye to catch these subtleties when I am immersed in the business of life?

パリっとした空気と、全てがくっきりと見える日。毎日日が短くなっていく。周りで季節が動いていくのを感じる。 慌ただしく過ぎてく日常に戻った時、どうしたらこうした日々の微妙な季節の変化に気づくことができるだろうか?

10.26.2015
10/26/2015
Spending time in nature is always grounding, refreshing, and rejuvenating. Looking at the sky with constantly changing shapes of the clouds, feeling the wind, finding beautiful rocks, and running down the hill make me feel a kid a gain. Having a chance to release the inner child is so powerful.

自然の中で過ごした後は、いつも大地を感じ、すっきり、新たなエネルギーに満ち溢れて爽快 。刻々と変わる雲が流れていく空を見ながら、風を感じて、美しい岩を見つけてウキウキしながら丘を駆け下りると子供に戻ったような気分になる。自分の中に眠る子供が飛び出す時間を持つことはとっても大事だ

10.29.2015
10/29/2015
Notes to self: I got totally sucked into writing emails and spent all my personal time in front of the computer. Let’s remember what really nourishes me and spend time doing that.

メールの山に埋もれて自分の時間の全てをパソコンの前で過ごしてしまった。。。。自分にとってのエネルギー源となるのがなんなのかをちゃんと覚えておいて、そのために時間を使わないとなぁ。

10.30.2015
10/30/2015
Wisdom of a day: “ I want to live my life being fully aware that I am alive.”- Joshin

「自分が生きているということを実感しながら生きたい」覚えておきたいJoshinの言葉

11.1.2015
11/1/2015
What is my sacred work?
It is to inspire others remember and reconnect with the interbeingness of all life.
自分にとっての“神聖なお仕事”ってなんだろう?
インスピレーションを共有して全てのいのちがつながりあっていることを思い出し、それとつながり直すことをサポートすること、かなぁ?

11.2.2105
11/2/2015
What makes me happy: Immersed in the wilderness, finding beautiful things to take a photo of, sharing a great meal with great people, cooking for people I care for and feeling a sense of contribution, warm bath/sauna on a cold night, smell of an incense, hanging out around the fire with friends and music, etcetc. It is so easy to forget but essence of joy is everywhere.

私の幸せのもと:自然の中にひたること、写真にとってシェアしたくなる美しいものを見つけること、美味しい食事を素敵な人たちと一緒に食べること、好きな人たちに料理を作って自分が貢献できていることを感じること、寒い日にサウナやお風呂を満喫すること、お香のほのかな香、友達と火を囲んで音楽を楽しむこと。忘れがちだけど、日常は自分の喜びのエッセンス(元)で溢れてるんだなぁ。

11.3.2015
11/3/2015
A grounding image for me: Sitting on a top of a mountain feeling the warm sun on my face on one side and soft gaze of a moon on the other being supported by the solid rock and embraced by the deep green of trees.

不安な時に地に足をつけるためのイメージ:山のてっぺんで額にお日様の光を感じながら柔らかなお月様の存在を感じ、 どっしりした岩に全身を支えられながら深い緑の木々に抱かれてる私。

11.4.2015
11/4/2015
Wisdom of a day: When faced with the adversity, keep a strong back and soft front to hold your ground and open your heart for mercy and compassion.

逆境に直面した時は、 背中は力強く、正面は柔らかさをもって、地に足をつけ、慈悲と哀れみに対して心を開くこと。(う〜ん、英語だとすごくしっくり来るんだけど、なんか日本語だとうまく言えないー)