Day 1

Today, I had my first splits stretching session. A friend of mine works in stretching, aerials, and acrobatics, and she is now working with me. I am extremely excited about it. My flexibility has always been mediocre, even as a teenager, and I have been actively pursuing improving it lately. Just over two years ago, I began a 30-day stretch challenge. At the end of it, I took the stretches from it that I had found most valuable for me, and I now do them every day, usually at night before bed. With two years of just that, I have immense differences in my flexibility. I can put my head to my knees, and with my legs and back straight. I can hold my feet straight in front of me with my hands, back straight. And all of those are with minimal warm-up. I can just do them. I never was able to do any of them in the past, even as a kid.

So, now, we are approaching my other true desires: splits and head kicks. I want to be able, on any given day and at any given time, to drop into the splits and also to do a kick to the head of someone around my height (especially when preceded immediately by a kick to the chest [aka double kick that rises]).

We went through a lot today, and it was stressful how hard most of it was for me. However, I love that I am pursuing this and also that I get to do it with someone I love. We took progress photos for me, both to see where I stand compared to two years ago (had a photo on that Day 1, too) and to have a starting point to reference down the road. I have my tasks for every morning (after my regular workout) this week, and then we shall meet again next Tuesday for progress and to do whatever she has planned for my next steps.

I’m cautiously optimistic and delighted. And I can hardly wait!

Plus, I’m excited to get to spend more time with her. 🙂

Post-a-day 2021

Feedback

I asked for feedback on something personal today. I was back and forth between terrified and utterly disinterested (out of the aim of escaping the fear), as I waited for the feedback to come in. Eventually, the fear won out.

But I kept a level head about it, allowed the feeling, and accepted that whatever the feedback, it would be exactly what I needed to hear right now, for whatever reason. Even if it was somewhat depressing.

And then, when I received the report, I actually laughed out loud at the only negatives offered. One of them was an unchangeable thing, which the person acknowledged in the feedback. The other was simply a personal taste thing, one that, though it’s always a bit of a bummer to disappoint someone else, it isn’t something I actually would alter, due to our opposing personal tastes.

And the whole area where I was terrified to hear the feedback, and I even asked a follow-up, just to make sure the person hadn’t forgotten about or avoided it? It was not even something the person noticed. My glaring failure in my own mind was not even noticed.

And so, yes, I burst out laughing at the two silly and near-unnecessary pieces of minimally negative feedback, and could hardly fathom how different the whole evaluation was than my own.

I truly am my hardest critic… I’m fierce.

But perhaps that is exactly the reason why this other person struggled to come up with the negatives…

Keep at it, Banana. 😉 I love you.

Post-a-day 2021

Fuji-San

It’s funny how the simplest of things can become the greatest of things in our lives. A passing comment from one individual can turn into a favorite of another. It makes me think of how little kids develop their favorites in life… Is it simply because their parents say something about that item, and they give it the right kind of encouragement that the child believes it is worth loving, and so the object becomes a child’s favorite of its kind?

What brought up the idea as a whole for me, though, is where I’m walking right now.

I’m on a path that goes alongside the river and the sports activities park in the town where I once lived in Japan.

As I walked up the stairs a few minutes ago, tears were burning my eyes, I was so elated.

A time in my life that I had simultaneously loved and hated with a passion, and here I am overflowing with joy at being able to come back and visit. Who I am now is nowhere near the person I was when I lived here, and that person is even different from the person who moved here.

I came to take a break. I didn’t want to be a teacher like I had been doing anymore.

I didn’t know what to do with myself.

But I had a feeling of wanting to get out… I wasn’t sure from what, if it was just the job, or the future of such a job, or the city, culture, or even, now that I can look back with different eyes, who I was and who I was being at the time.

Whatever the case, I decided to get out of the country. I came to Japan with a highly recommended, highly valued, highly honored, and very poorly paid job.

I struggled and I struggled and I struggled… I hit the lowest possible point I’ve ever had in my life regarding myself.

And, with that intense and slow yet fast break down, I set out to have a breakthrough. And I had the most intense overwhelming and invaluable breakthrough I have ever known, let alone in my own life personally experienced.

While I was here, living in Japan, I developed particular connections and attachments to different things. Onigiri, konbini, summer festival sake, kimono, yukata, onsen, train cards, and, last but far from least, Fuji-San… Mount Fuji.

I remember learning a long time ago that Fuji-San was a walkable mountain, as was Kilimanjaro. It never once occurred to me that I might have the opportunity in my life to climb either of these mountains. It simply wasn’t in the frame of possibility for me, and so I never considered its being a possibility.

And yet, the week I was leaving to move to Japan, one of the people who had interviewed me and whom I had greatly enjoyed getting to know, commented, “You should be able to see Fuji-San.”

It was at that moment that I remembered that Fuji San was even in Japan. And I had had no idea that it was going to be anywhere near somewhere I would be. (I still am pretty rough on Japanese geography.)

My first few weeks living in Japan, one of the other people with my same job, whom I had met at orientation and befriended, had photos of her hike up Fuji-San with a Japanese friend of hers. I then talked to her about it, and she told me how miserable it was, trekking through the rain, the miserable cold hurting her fingers and toes and entire body, yet she was extremely glad that she had done it. In the photos, pure joy was visible in her whole being.

It was then that I remembered the walkable fact, and I realized I could do that.

Naturally, it terrified me. But I asked about it, anyway. I learned that the season for climbing was very limited, and the person I had asked and who had offered to hike with me, was not going to be available this time. So, unwilling to go on my own – which, even with today’s eyes, I see as a good idea – I would have to wait until the next year. 11 months before I could do it. I didn’t have shoes right now anyway. And I quickly discovered that Japan doesn’t exactly have shoes in my size. So, I made it a point to buy hiking shoes when I went home for a wedding in November. I bought them for Fuji-San.

I was delighted, and terrified. I hiked a few mountains from then on to summer, and I loved every bit of it. I never knew I was such an outdoorsy person. I mean, I’ve always liked being outdoors, riding my bike, climbing trees, going on a walk… Whatever. But not a hiker. It turns out that I love hiking.

When I finally hiked Fuji-San, it was one of the most miserable nights of my life, even worse than that horrible time I had to stay outside the Montpelier airport, and I needed to pee from the very beginning, but had to wait five hours. (That really sucked, by the way, and it was really cold out, and I was not dressed appropriately for it.)

And it was lovely. The next morning was even worse, and we were all clear that we were never doing that again. But we wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

Now as I walk along the banks here, I look out in the direction of Fuji-San. The clouds cover everything in the sky, as it is a somewhat overcast day, with low hanging clouds. Yet, I can feel Fuji-San. I know it is there, and I remember going up the hill regularly to look at it on clear days and nights.

It feels like a part of me lives with it.

Multiple times I visited it and took photos with it while in kimono. I went more than once to the lakes.

I want to go again, but it doesn’t seem to make sense this time.

Yet, I might still find a way to go, anyway.

I have a relationship with this mountain, this unbelievable and massive being who resides in Japan… And I wonder if any of it would’ve happened, if this connection ever would’ve developed, if that one person I respected regarding Japan and Japanese culture hadn’t said to me, “You should be able to see Fuji-San,” from my town.

Whatever the case, I am grateful for his comment, and I am grateful for everything that has developed in this beautiful relationship between me and the earth of Japan, which really is just a piece of this earth where we have the honor of living and where I feel blessed to be every single day, night, and moment of my life.

ありがとうございます富士山さん🗻

Better at the same

While showering tonight, I was thinking about – isn’t it great how some of our best thinkings come from shower time? – the idea of doing things better.  I feel that everyone seems to be concerned about doing this or that better than everyone else all the time.  And aren’t those people all just doing the same things?  Aren’t they all trying to do better at the same things that everyone else is doing?  I feel like I’m always looking at what everyone else is doing, and trying to figure out something to do that’s not that.  They’re all going this way, so I’m interested in going that way.  Like if everyone is concerned about picking and discussing their favorite dessert food, I’m over yonder, pondering what it’s like to be a tree, possibly even talking to one, asking it questions.  That might not be the best example, but I think it’s still a valid one – I’m always looking for something different, especially when it feels like everything is so the same.  Sure, I’m still thinking about doing better at what I do and being better at who I am.  But I’m usually looking to do that by doing something different… and isn’t that what innovation – and successful inventions – is all about?

I’m not so sure I’ve communicated what I’d wanted to communicate, but I’m really sleepy right now, so I kind of don’t mind (slash I can’t even really focus on the text to see if I spelled it all correctly, anyway, let alone to verify that it is all stellar-ly expressed).  Here’s to wishing you a happy, holy, healthy life, wherever, whenever, and whoever you may be.  Cheers  🙂

Post-a-day 2018