I was invited for a three month residency program to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka in Japan in 2004. It was a country that taught me many things and where I encountered a work ethics that was humbling in its productivity and selflessness. Despite the language constraints, I bobbed and bowed about the museum making friends and over the period of my stay, imprinting cultural influences whilst simultaneously receiving in ways that were effortless and derived from curiosity that comes without the impediment of fear.
I have made friends for life in Japan, and also have a spiritual daughter there who thinks of me as her Indian mama. Hearing the news of the Tsunami and viewing the ravaging of its fury on television, holds my heart in the grip of great sorrow. There is a stoicism towards tragedy and destruction that this nation's proud people always masks their emotions with. Private and fiercely independent, they carry a historic pain of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a constant reminder of the horrors of human devastation. Today once again the Japanese will garner their will and spirit to overcome and make peace with the turmoil that overwhelms them.
Last evening I was remembering how insignificant I always feel when I stand at night in front of the sea. realising that all of my harnessed energies are nothing in comparison with the latent forces of nature. We tend to forget this simple truth as we glorify our self images by believing that economic might can out weigh all else. Photographic images of cars and light aeroplanes all swept into concentric circles and looking like toys strewn untidily make your heart skip a beat when it dawns upon you that this is for real.
I was at the hospital yesterday accompanying a young friend who was undergoing some routine pathology investigations and encountered a young boy who is suffering with blood cancer. This beautiful child with a baseball cap covering his hairless head and with eyes brimming with tears from the fatigue of endless needles taking blood samples, still found the grace and spirit to engage in a conversation with this stranger that I was, as I stroked his ear and chatted with him to distract him from this routine trauma that makes up his daily existence. His quiet strength will always be a marker within my life and though I know it is unlikely that I will ever meet up with him again, Om will always be someone I carry in my memory who will inspire me.
The appreciation of life is often kept on the back burner by many of us till something tragic happens to make us realise how little we understood of our joys. Smile today. Bring the best energies of yourself to a space of awareness within yourself, so that you know you are living your life in the true appreciation you need to have of it.