Mata sugu ni aima sho : Seeing means I cannot unsee
I’m often aware of looking westward into the darkened or lit east. What is that I wonder. I remember living in Ohio, looking westward - but in a different kind of way. An awareness of something out there that was somehow familiar. A landscape that held parts of me. Mountains, tumbling rivers, thin air. Now, I’m in the west; rarely, I glance east. And I’m also aware of the feeling of loss. What is it - to have and to lose. An awareness of where once, something was, and now, no longer is.
An unusual and magical week in Japan with my partner. Kids remained in Idaho, creating unusual memories with their grandparents. I was asked to provide gestalt-based supervision for a number of Japanese gestalt therapists. I endeavored to do that for three days. Their style is more of a boom-boom - they kept asking me to “do the empty chair,” which is a technique they see frequently. I felt like a musician being asked to play his “big hit song.” I resisted that. It felt strange to acquiesce. I showed up with instruments; shared them; and supported what felt like the co-creation of a type of song. There was rhythm, and the cadence was slow, and there was a nice rich depth to be-ing with people as they experimented with new notes of trust. Learning to trust from an inward place and expressing this outward. Like the waves of the dark pacific ocean pulling in and then cascading outward, splashing up against things and humans. This was all done in translation. Slow and yet fast. I take that with me. The power of slow. Trust is not built on fast.
I spent most evenings covered by the warm darkness of an Onsen; a traditional Japanese hot spring for bathing. It is customary to sit and bathe for several minutes before entering the hot water fed by the Volcanic underground. I was keenly aware of the space it afforded to be with myself and to do this in complete silence. My heartspace, swollen with feeling; tending to myself in unfamiliar ways. All of this clothed in ritual. What is the “onsen” in my day to day life? I hold this feeling in the softest and most careful of ways.
After the workshop, a person had shared with me a comment made by another workshop attendee. She told me that he experienced me as being “like a mountain” - solid and grounded, offering the wisdom of the earth. I thought that it was ironic that she told me this not noticing the mountain embroidered into the sweater I was wearing that day. As we flew away from Tokyo at dusk, I looked back, noticing the spectacular vista of Mt. Fuji emerging from a thick layer of white cloud, glowing in the milky orange sunset. I felt such longing in my breath. Oh, how I want to become more like Mt. Fuji.
I had never flown over the entire Pacific Ocean before. It was so dark and immense. I thought, “How many of us cross that vast ocean of suffering alone?” I feel this so often in my work with people. There’s the suffering part. And then there’s the part where we are feeling it somewhere in the middle of all that salt water with the feeling that no one is around. I think therapy, when it is at its best, cuts through some of that aloneness, making what is felt more manageable.
Mindy and I walked the dark streets together every night, engulfed by a sea of people and neon lights. It felt like no one slept. An endless stream of humans. Where were they all going? It made me think - where are any of us going? So easy to get swept up by the inertia of there and not here. But to be here, still-like, right now. In this moment. In this breath. In this very pulse. Consciously awake. Feeling everything you are.
We flew into San Francisco, covered over by rain and somnolence. Dizzy from everything. Hearts overflowing with feeling that begs for translation. Trying not to separate from anything. On the in-breath, accepting what is rising and on each out-breath, letting go.
Mata sugu ni aima sho.