Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope
December 8, 2011
Earlier this year I participated in the traditional Japanese New Year’s rice ceremony called Mochitsuki, at beautiful IslandWood, an unusual 255-acre outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Island-Wood was originally designed to provide exceptional learning experiences. I certainly had an exceptional learning experience that day. I discovered that the Mochitsuki ceremony is the perfect metaphor for my life.
In the Mochitsuki ceremony, glutinous rice is soaked overnight and then cooked.
The hot, cooked rice is then pounded hard over and over and over with large
wooden mallets called kine in a traditional mortar called an usu. Eventually, the
individual grains of rice have been pounded so much that they let go of their
separateness and change into a smooth, sticky, opaque paste of rice dough. This
soft, opaque white dough is twisted off and smoothed into balls called mochi.This mochi is then eaten with salty shoyu sauce, dropped into hot vegetable soup, orused to cover red bean paste, or ice cream and many other dishes.
Like the countless grains of rice in any batch of mochi in the Mochitsuki ceremony, all of us have had countless experiences. I have been pounded and pounded over and over again, and as a result, I am now much more smoother, more elastic, and more flexible. Just as I love each piece of mochi, different in shape or taste depending on what is around or inside it, the many experiences of my life have been tasty, some easier to get down than others, I’ll admit.
But each moment, each experience, has transformed me and helped me grow into who I am now. I have learned that the painful pounding, stretching, and shaping I have endured is as important to my life journey as my moments of deep joy, laughter, and peace. Each experience, from devastating to glorious, has had its own measure of grace. Now, I just try to be open to what is present in each moment and allow all to be well, no matter what comes.
We are, each of us, a collection of stories. In the end, the words we choose to define any moment of our lives will be the legacy we leave behind.
What are your favorite words and what do you imagine will be the legacy you will leave behind?
December 3, 2011
This is one of the most amazing speeches I have ever seen or heard. It blew me away. One young man’s courage to speak out on behalf of his mothers. Check it out!
And please let me know what you think AND if you have any problem with the link! Thanks!
December 2, 2011
I must say this is one of the most beautiful commercials I have ever seen!
What do you think?
December 1, 2011
Beannacht ~ (Blessing)
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the gray window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colors
indigo, red, green
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the curach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of the light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
— John O’Donohue, from his book,
Anam Cara, (“Soul Friend” in Gaelic)