Japan Candlenight Tour, part one
March 20, 2012
I’m a little weary on my return to Australia after 3 weeks in Japan. Yet, thanks to the space we created in the events we shared, our collective compassion, our feeling, our hope for change – somehow we find the courage to face the truth and continue.
Why did I come back so tired? Maybe it was too much time away from Pacha and Yani?…My Mother picked me up at the airport and immediately berated me for leaving them for almost 3 weeks – I couldn’t seem to explain to her that I hope that what I do in Japan can help protect their futures as well as all life - but to her the issues seem too distant and unrelated, so I sat quietly and thanked her for her love for them…
Pacha and Yani (after lots of hugs) seem fine, with great stories about sharing time with my best friends and their families. We have been back in the ocean again, walking through the forest, laughing and singing and dancing under the trees. They are ok. They are magnificent.
Or maybe I feel tired because it seems overwhelming right now. Faced with the monolith of Tokyo and the extremes of this human civilisation, coming back to small-minded ignorance, I hover on the edge of despair. Contemplating the billions of people feeling lonely and disconnected and ‘poor’ and so far away from themselves; buying more to try to fill up the emptiness. Reflecting that here in my local area the greatest local concern seems to be a push to increase the speed limit.
In the first few days of the candlenight tour, as I joined Satish Kumar’s events, it was darkly heartening to hear him declare: ‘There is no soul here in Tokyo, there is nothing living! I'm sorry for being so direct with you, but these are extra-ordinary times!’
I agree with him, and yet there is a warm glow of in the hearts of the many people sharing the prayer, even in that concrete city, for life to go on. I agree with so many things he shared; on parenting, on awareness, on education, on service, on joy, on the deep shift we need to make for survival of Life on Earth. Satish was courageously honest and beautifully joyful too, relishing the addition of music (thanks Fuyuta-san!) into his ‘formal’ lectures.
So, after spending a couple of days around Satish, I was a little less guarded in my responses to audiences. This time, when people asked me what I would do to live more ecologically/protect their children in Tokyo, I was completely honest: I said, ‘run away – make a good life in the country’!
Many times in the city my mind wandered to thoughts of death – (I guess this wasn’t surprising – it was the lead-up to the 1st anniversary of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster). I heard the stories from my friends recalling the day, the moment, where they were, what they did, what they’ve been doing since, how life has changed. I caught myself thinking; if the ‘big one’ (earthquake) comes right now, will I be ready? And it was fine if I was with the people I love, the wonderful people who have not given up hope and do whatever they can do to create positive change; but if I was alone in a hotel room on the 7th floor looking out over grey concrete, or in the deepest subway basement, I prayed; ‘not now…please not now...just let me be with my children again…’
I’m with my children again now, thinking of my friends in Tokyo, in Japan, facing this great challenge and opportunity for a positive change and praying that whenever and wherever the next ‘big one’ comes, that people will be at peace with themselves and with the world, doing what they can do…
(One of the first things we did when I got back was to go for a surf - Pacha and Yani are 'out the back')