Lessons from Japan~
I'm sitting at my desk staring at two tall stalks of bamboo lost in thought. My mind drifts to Japan and I feel both a sense of helplessness for the people suffering and awe for the way the people of Japan are working together to move through this tragedy. The opening paragraph of an article written by James Baraz, Huffington Post, eloquently desribes what many of us are experiencing as we continue to follow the events unfolding in Japan.
"What's happened in Japan affects all of us. Perhaps, like me, you've noticed a sober backdrop of stunned sadness that's been pervading our collective psyche. If we are to become more conscious human beings then each moment can be taken as an opportunity to wake up. What can we learn so that this tragedy helps us deepen our understanding and become more awake?"
I've taken the liberty of threading together fragments of his article to emphasis how important it is for each of us to live fully in the present moment, with hearts open, and in gratitude.
"The images coming out of Japan not only touch our hearts, they underscore the fragility of life. How can we relate to the unpredictability of life so that rather than living in a continual state of anxiety this truth helps us grow and informs our lives?
Knowing that anything can happen at any time can remind us to wake up and be present for life as it's happening now. Instead of sleepwalking through it, taking it for granted as we fantasize about the future or live in the past, life's fragility awakens us to the precious gift we've been given. When we realize that the only moment there is is the one we are in, we're more motivated to be here for it and honor it with our presence. It becomes a sacred gift worthy of our attention."
Do we need a tsunami to appreciate this gift?
Back in Fukushima, we hear of a team of 50 plant workers struggling to prevent a meltdown to four reactors critically damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. These brave souls are being repeatedly exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to bring vital cooling systems back online. A mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation. He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.”
This is where the awe kicks in. I am in awe of a nation who rather than rioting, stealing, and looting decides to pull together and do what ever it takes to help its people. These men and woman are willingly to give up their lives to save millions of their fellow citizens. The Japanese culture, perhaps from Hiroshima, have elected to reduce their electric consumption in order to assist the victims and allow the country to recover more quickly.
Let this be a wake up call for us. How can we, individually, wake up and be present? What are you going to do tomorrow that affirms the gift of life?