It is springtime in the mountains and the snow is quickly melting during the sunny daytimes with temperatures in the 60’s, which means that we no longer go skiing.
It is also Spring Break, and the ski resorts are full of visitors from all over the USA and Europe, including many families with small children who are on school vacation.
I have more time in the studio to paint now, and we are also attending to small things that we need to upgrade and improve in our mountain house.
I find myself dreaming about how to shape the upcoming year for us.
I am a dreamer.
I view it as a good skill to have in this world of dreams, since it allows me to direct my dream-life more consciously.
I dream vivid dreams at night in full technicolor, and I also dream day dreams, in which my imagination takes me to places that I have visited before.
I see those places with such clarity, that I can visualize walking down the streets, or hiking in a forest, as if I were actually there.
This remote visualization is a very useful skill, and I am employing it liberally in my house hunting search in Japan.
I am looking for an urban apartment, to supplement the pleasures of our rural life in the mountains of Colorado.
I do not think that I can ever give up living on a rural property.
I love waking up to the birds, the beautiful views, the quiet….
But owning TWO rural properties, as we do now, feels like living a duplicate life.
It has left me yearning for more travel and for the delights of a great city, especially one in Japan.
I want to take courses, participate in art, film, and anime classes, to join Raku ceramic firing, learn Taiko drumming, Aikido, and so much more….
I want to eat Ramen noodles in makeshift eateries at midnight, or sit in tiny Okonomiyki wooden joints, while talking to the locals….
This week we visited the Aspen Art Museum, and I realized how much I yearn to see good modern art, not commercial decorative art that is designed to be collected and sold, but just conceptual art that makes you think, and laugh, and feel a little sad….
Living in one rural house is plenty, and now I am ready for the next phase of my life, in which I can walk long pilgrimages every year and fill the rest of our time with other new adventures.
At first, I was thinking about an apartment in Tokyo, but during my search for the right apartment, it became clear to me that we would never be happy living in a tiny box in Tokyo.
It will have to have some unique bones…. some architectural beauty and lots of good light, and those apartments are not so easy to come by, in the most populated city in Japan.
I remembered how much I loved Kyoto, during the last time that we visited it (a bit over a year ago).
Surrounded by vast ranges of holy mountains, Kyoto is filled with old Buddhist temples in which we can attend Zen classes and group meditations.
The rivers that traverse the city are vast, and on the banks of one of the rivers is one of my all-time favorite Nabe restaurants.
The stern owner is a master Nabe chef, and if he deems you worthy of taking one of the very few stools in his tiny eatery, you are in for a real treat. We were turned away about half of the times we tried to eat there, either because he was too busy, or because he had served as many people as he wanted to that night.
I was able to locate in Kyoto some lovely homes with character, space and charming design, although we will have to up our budget in order to get something with character located on a quiet street.
I will not be able to get views as stunning as the one we have in NZ.
A small garden will have to be our view.
And so, as the snow melts into the Colorado river and fills all the creeks, I see herds of beautiful deer roaming around our garden and elegant elks posing in the roadside properties .
Very soon, we will be returning to New Zealand and then later continuing on to Japan.
We’ve enrolled in a Japanese Language school in Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu.
This time, we also plan to take private Manga Anime drawing classes, to learn how to draw Japanese cartoons, and possibly also begin to learn how to read and write Kanji (the third and most beautiful of the Japanese alphabets).
I want to make short films again.
Years ago I made my very first movie, about an ancient forest in NZ.
Jules and I went to the forest with two talented Maori guides who told us traditional Maori stories, sang and chanted for us and make prayers and invocations.
I captured all that on film, and later spent nearly a year editing it and dubbing music and adding animation clips that I drew, to replace the parts in the film that were too blurry.
It was a fun project that showed me how much I loved making artistic films.
We have rented an apartment in Fukuoka, and we plan to travel around the island before we start our Japanese Language classes.
Later in the year, for three months beginning in September, we plan to go on another long foot pilgrimage around Japan.
A friend who just walked the Nakasendo, the ancient royal route between Tokyo and Kyoto, has been sending me emails with details of their walk.
She added suggestions about where to stay and many photos to help me plan and map our walk.
But the Nakasendo is only a 500 kilometer walk, way too short for us, and so we might add the ‘Tokaido’ trail as well, which is the southeastern coastal route back to Tokyo from Kyoto.
Jules wants to do this pilgrimage next year, not this year.
This year he is campaigning to do the longer Kannon pilgrimage.
There are three Kannon pilgrimages around Japan, and combined they total 1500 kilometers, visiting 100 ancient temples devoted to Kannon, the Goddess of mercy and compassion.
There is ANOTHER, much less known and much less documented Kannon pilgrimage, this one on Chugoku.
It is 1300 -1500 kilometers long and has NO maps and no details in English.
We would be the first foreigners to do the whole thing on foot, and our blog would be the first and only English language blog documenting this pilgrimage.
Jules is very excited to do this one this year.
Although the photos and descriptions that my friend is sending me of the Nakasendo walk that she did with her husband, looks absolutely amazing, I do not really care which pilgrimage we do this year and which one we do next year…. I just want to walk….
I feel that I am ripe and ready for a big change in our life now….
This week, we are going to a very inspirational lecture.
It is called:
It is the motto of Erik Weihenmayer’s life.
It’s what led him to be the only BLIND person in history to climb Mt. Everest.
More recently, Eric descended the rapids in the Grand Canyon in a solo kayak.
Erik’s life is dotted with more examples of such extraordinary achievements, highlighted not by his blindness but by the light that burns in all of us, the obstacles that threaten to extinguish that light, and the treacherous ascent towards growth and rebirth.
I am so inspired by Eric who is blind and had not let any barriers to stop him…
I will write again after the lecture.
The Course in Miracles teaches us:
“Seek not to change the world, but choose to change YOUR MIND about the world.”
This statement can help us understand that the world we think we see, the world that influences all of our decisions and perceptions, the feelings that we experience and the obstacles we face, are all generated from the beliefs that we hold in our minds.
By changing our minds about the world we “see,” we change in every way the world we experience and the people we attract to us.
Changing our minds will also release the obstacles that we are constantly putting in our own paths.
By changing our minds we can heal ourselves and become whole.
Your REAL MIND, exist beyond the ego mind, which is full with the familiar daily chatter of logistics, biases, preferences and ideas, that ebb and flow on the surface of the mind.
Your real mind is very very powerful.
You have no idea how powerful the mind is.
On the metaphysical level, the entire tempest in a teapot that you call “the universe,” can be completely transformed by just a few decisions on your part.
The eventual result will be that the alleged “you,” who is currently totally unaware of the REAL power that is available to you, and instead is virtually mindless and seemingly stuck in a body, will discover who you REALLY ARE.
I will send you my warmest blessings and end with Eric’s words:
“Barriers are real.
They sometimes get in our way and knock us flat on our backs.
Living a No Barriers Life means finding a way through those barriers to pursue a life that truly matters.” – Erik Weihenmayer