Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another Milestone to Celebrate Facing Fears

I DID IT!!! Another milestone to celebrate. As I finish my first semester back at University; truth - I never thought it was possible until I actually did it. To be averaging 85-90 on a full course load, whilst working in the contemporary arts, is a cherry on top, as to me, the grades are just that, alphabets and numbers.  
Many don't know and would hardly be able to imagine this, but, in my early years I suffered from debilitating anxiety; where, I wasn't able to step out the door, and face the world outside for days on end. I don't know how many times I begged my mom to drive me back home in the morning, after sitting on the curb for god knows how long, due to my extreme phobia of school in the states, and in Tokyo, I used to faint in the subway on my way to school, etc (mainly discrimination, bullying, and abuse from those who were supposed to support and foster a child's growth in the education systems, mostly ignorance on behalf of some of the teachers and parents, the silent microagressions that also added up) it was a physical terror, and I avoided it for over ten years, until now. Don't talk about me being back at school in front of my mom, as she'll burst out in tears; she's just happy I'm 1. alive and 2. can't believe I'm back at school.  
Anxiety takes on many forms, many of which I had the delight of experiencing first hand (along with other diagnoses) and took high doses of medications for over 15 years, all of which I came off of last year (although surprisingly never experienced panic attacks or stage fright before ballet performances).  
An excellent and heartfelt poetry session, on anxiety, by Jae Nichelle that a friend of mine recently shared with me.  
"So, my anxiety and I have what some people might call a friends-with-benefits relationship. We have no love for each other, but she still just like fucks with me sometimes." - Jae Nichelle
A pursuit of a dream, and an undeniable calling that I decided to embark, in the form of Social Work, in the face of fear, to make a difference, one life at a time. I wanted to share my joy and celebrate with you on this journey.
To lead a life free of debilitating anxiety is possible, with healthy coping strategies and management, through self-awareness, and perseverance.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

UNIVERSAL AUTHENTICITY: The Value We Bring Into the World

What a life!  We lead such amazing lives irrespective of location, race, class, or circumstance.  I am constantly awestruck by our uniqueness and gifts.  

As I was working and studying, I had this video streaming in the background, and Oprah couldn't have described my sentiments more accurately:




I left Tokyo two years ago with solid goals and promises in mind, and I recently realized I have done exactly what I set out to do and then some.  I wanted to update you on the adventure:

  • I have returned to University to pursue a calling and dream of mine and I will be completing my first course next week.  I have been accepted into the Social Work program at Ryerson University in Toronto, and my first summer course ends next week.
  • I am currently working with the Detroit Institute of Arts on behalf of The Japan Business Association of Detroit on a new venture to promote and increase exposure of Japanese contemporary artists in the North American/International art arena.  We've recently sent out a call to contemporary artists, and of the proposals submitted, the DIA/JBAD executive committee will be jurying and accepting a Japanese contemporary artist and their work to be exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts along with the launch of their new permanent Japan Gallery installation.  I am working remotely, often taking business trips across the border.
  • There are many opportunities to work with arts organizations locally and internationally to help those struggling with life's challenges, and/or mental illnesses through the medium of (contemporary) art and creativity, which I have been contacted and plan to get involved.  
  • Quietly, but consistently gaining inspiration, structure, and momentum on a project I hold dear to my heart; the next steps in making a greater difference in the world.  Watch this space, it will evolve and grow with us all.  I will begin pursuing my efforts and goals in business as a student of social work.  I may not be able to practice officially, yet, but I can still make a difference in other creative ways.  A little peek below.




Back to what Oprah was saying, and the value that each one of us brings to the universe.  I firmly believe there is a reason that I am still alive today and there is a greater purpose in my existence.  There is no explanation, but I hand that over to the powers of God, the Universe, in spirituality.  These life experiences only make us stronger and better for it.  It's not about me, it is a responsibility to the world, and part of a promise I made to myself when I chose life.  I'm always figuring ways to influence and make a difference for the better. As difficult and as challenging the road has been, and I'm sure with many more obstacles to overcome, and being a total work in progress... This is my purpose, and I am living my dreams.

We each bring a unique value to the world and other people's lives.  The fact that we are, MATTERS.  Be with your "authentic power", the rest (power, money, looks) passes and will fade.  None of that matters except being true to yourself, and who we are BEING in the world.      

I am so grateful!
-M
    
-Late night studying, always a student of life.   



              

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A post long forgotten: A Life Unscripted

*I put my blog on ice for long enough I think... There have been many changes and developments since I last posted.  I've decided to unprivatize my blog in the hopes that my life and our vulnerabilities can be met with courage and openness.

A post I didn't publish:

Every time I revisit J.K. Rowling's commencement speech video, I am moved, but more recently:

"Some failure in life is inevitable, it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all and in which case you've failed by default."

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from set backs mean that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive.  You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.  Such knowledge is a true gift for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I've earned."

"Human empathy saves lives."
  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHGqp8lz36c

Last year, I did not know that choosing to put a pause on my career to focus on getting off pharmaceuticals would mean financial and societal castration; from an external perspective I have failed, and a part of me feels much like a failure.  I am smart enough to know that I am in no way a failure from a personal stance where the breadth of my life is concerned, but I can not deny my experience.

Yes, we have all been put through the wringer in our lives at one time or rather; my physical, psychological, and emotional capacities have been pushed to its limits, and I've been tested by life lessons this year (*2015~16).  

I find myself pondering about fate, and destiny.  I believe we create our own destinies, but there are those 'out of left field' instances too.


Piles of drawing journals and written materials for a future book.
Years of my life in my late teens and early 20's were vacant due to severe illness.


The beauty and gift of life is in our ability to persevere, evaluate, get back up, and rebuild.  The learning process never ends!  

Thank you truly, for being through thick and thin,
M  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How to Not Die

A statement really hit deep today:

"Marie you're not dead today because of your refusal to ever stop trying or give up.  Its directly connected to your resilience, tenacity, determination, work ethic, strength, and spirit."

The depth and wisdom that comes with life's trials and tribulations.  The constant learning never stops.  Recently learning to muster the strength and courage to move on and let go of those, despite love respect and being amazing individuals and a best friend, will hinder your journey to what you want and need in your life.  That loss is tragic, one which hurts beyond belief and need to grieve accordingly.

An inner strength and knowing, a commitment to your own life and integrity to step up for your personal growth.  Tough lessons, and many tears, but a gumption in believing in your own inner self and being.  You forge forwards, exploring the unknown, with support but ultimately on your own; it can be lonely, but your strong on your drive and intuition.  

My need for living completely and wholly; the full experience without fillers, distractions or inconsistencies. Recently coming back from a 2 week visit to Tokyo, I began to paint again.  Returning to that pure authentic space within is no easy task; being awash with all of my emotions, and psychological states, to face the truth on the canvas is intimate and vulnerable, uncomfortable. The best work can arise from the depths of reflection, and time off, we'll see.

I realise that becoming pharmaceutical free is only another challenge amongst the many I've had to face and overcome, and every day I am surprised and delighted to be here, in existence.  It's not easy, but you become better for it and that heart space within, and depths of wisdom never ceases to expand and empower.  

My recent out of the ordinary read has introduced me to a new brand of shapeshifting super intelligent blue colour; Hooloovoo, I imagine something magical in my favourite colour.  And the number 42, from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, eye opening and fascinating.

How life unfolds, what a journey.  

w/Love and Hugs,
M    


           

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016

Starting off the new year, the epilogue of Jenny Lawson's book FURIOUSLY HAPPY can't be any more true to me:

"Deep in the Trenches 
(bits and pieces of the whole epilogue)

To all who walk the dark path, and to those who walk in the sunshine but hold out a hand in the darkness to travel beside us:
Brighter days are coming.
Clearer sight will arrive.
And you will arrive too.
... The bright moments might be for a few days at a time, but hold on for those days.  Those days are worth the dark.

In the dark you find yourself, all bones and exhaustion and helplessness. In the dark you find your basest self... You will see things that no normal person will ever see... fearsome monsters, you know they aren't real but when you're in that black watery hole with them they are the realest thing there is.  And they want us dead.

And sometimes they succeed.
But not always.  And not with you.  You are alive.  You have fought and battled them,  You are scarred and worn and sometimes exhausted and were perhaps even close to giving up, but you did not.

You have won many battles... you learn how to fight.

And in the deepest, night-blind fathoms you're certain that you're alone. You aren't.  I'm there with you.  And I'm not alone... Painfully stretching their souls so that they can learn to breathe underwater... so that they can do what the monsters say is impossible.  So that they can live... So that they can dry themselves in the warm light that shines so brightly and easily for those above the surface.  So that they can walk with others in the sunlight but with different eyes.

Ground zero is where the normal people live their lives, but not us... Life when the sun shines should be lived full throttle, soaring.  The invisible tether that binds the normal people on their steady course doesn't hold us in the same way.  Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else. Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow.

And sometimes... sometimes we fly."

It rarely feels like it, and I probably need to acknowledge it more often, but I am flying exuberantly.  For that I am infinitely grateful.  I shall keep on living, loving, caring, and believing in the possibilities.  2016 biiitches!

Love and Hugs,
M       

Monday, October 5, 2015

NOMADIC CONTEMPORARIES


Lives today are as mobile as they have ever been, in a flux of activity wether on our phones or lifestyles, more and more of us will lead transient lives that span countries and oceans, making the world a smaller place.

I've been on the move since I could remember; my first move was at 1 from Tokyo to Nagoya, I only have recollection of vague memories, and familiar sensations. I have lived a nomadic life, where all appears so seamless and borderless, where international moves are done in less than a month; reality feels a bit warped and there are those pangs in space and time where I so long for stable ground to call home.  Home for me has never been a destination or place, but wherever I am within, and the safe space I temporarily create for myself.

Life is constantly ebbing and flowing, but it would be nice to be able to snuggle up to a reliable significant other, a doggie companion, preferably in a place that is not a rental, to feel safe and to belong.  Is this even possible or a figment of my imagination?  I wonder what life is like to live in one place for longer than a few years without chunks of life missing to illness or other life lessons that are now distant memories.  

These moves have brought our family closer together (although this too was a turbulent path to get to where we are today), as who else would have our backs? Teaching us (my brother and I) the value of complete trust and loyalty to the death, with an honesty and openness that is uncommon; something I treasure and have infinite gratitude.  Maybe home will be wherever I end up creating my own family?  It makes me wonder of the adventures to come, although I am getting very tired of doing international moves, not to mention cost and stamina required.  The only thing that could possibly move me at this point in my life is for love/to support someone I love.


Sometimes I think that having moved so much, has kept me extremely pure at heart, uncluttered, and truly appreciating the simple things in life; actually, that's probably not travel related but a host of life experiences, values, and character?  Who knows~ I'm just thinking aloud...         

Where is the future of modern society going with such nomadic contemporaries?  How will individuals and people adapt and learn to transition, or will there be an influx of instability and some sort of transition/transient/displacement disorder?  Will families look after one another and get closer or disintegrate? I don't know of the trends to come but curious to see how we evolve with the times.

For the time being, focusing on the task at hand; an anchor for when I float off into the stratosphere is an irreplaceable lifeline.  I'm steadily getting there, 300 (originally 475 at my highest) to 187.5 is remarkable progress:)      






           

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Little Encouragement


Some days you just don't know how you can possibly get through another day.  The weight of life is heavy.  Right now frustration abounds, and I am trying to tame my serial overachieving multitasking inhuman nature. How to quiet the mind while synapses are being tampered with and juggling an international move, two jobs, reconnecting with social aspects, concerns and worries, etc etc etc.  Such is life.  

You do the best you can, and focus on the simple pleasures of life, the good (or you try to), and get through the rough patches, one unstable sand dune step at a time.  

You know you'll live, but sometimes you want to believe in something bigger than yourself; the hopes and possibilities keep you motivated, sheer gut strength, and commitment to live life fully without fear, regret, close-mindedness, and a vast undying compassionate heart keeps me afloat.  

Forgiveness, tolerance, and a malleable core also helps in seeing various  perspectives and embodying empathy. After a collision, some beeline for the phone to call 911, others react however way, and I knee-jerk react straight to the individual who needs emotional/psychological support.  We're all wired differently, some can see it, and appreciate it, others oblivious, most pass judgement. Thats all right, we all have our past experiences and scars unresolved, easily aggravated, its all a learning experience and we're all evolving on the journey.  After a while you're just grateful for every experience, good, bad, the completely ugly.  You love every bit of it, as you've lived a life where in an instant it can be taken away from you, changed, void.

Might I add, who you are, 'being', also makes the world of difference.  We are not only what we do, but whom we embody.  

Note to self: pull through, M, you've got this;)