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;)   
 

  

              

Thursday, August 20, 2015

INTERNATIONAL DATELINES APPLY: Extensive Honest Shpeal on Dating. Love.

?
I recently came across this article on TINDER AND THE DAWN OF THE 'DATING APOCALYPSE' in the 2015 September issue of Vanity Fair Magazine, and I was lost for words... this is the saddest thing I've come across in a while, in unison with the state to Japan's lack of sex drive and/or desire for relationships.  Here is the article here: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating


Reading the article got me to thinking of recent concerns of female and male friends, as well as the realities I've had to face, dating on one side of the planet to the other; international date lines are in effect up in here~ I'm no dating/relationship expert and I can't say what is right or wrong, but only what I know is true to me and my own opinions.  I will try to be as gender neutral as possible and offer varying perspectives (although no matter what it will end up being biased as I'm female and can't speak for being a man).  This is my lengthy, probably the first and last shpeal on the subject. 

Dating in one side of the globe and the other has some differences due to cultural and surrounding environments but the premise is the same.  Everyone is looking for human connection; in the realm of dating, a romantic/intimate partnership or hook up (if you're like these guys going after girls/women like they appear on the NASDAQ).  

If I must, I can go into further detail; for example in Tokyo, being in a Japanese environment and a culture that is a bit misguided (勘違いしてる)focusing on the more superficial, puts those with 'gaijin' or foreign/western/anglo saxon features on a pedestal, giving them false sense of pride/power/superiority.  I have encountered on numerous occasions whilst dating where the other individual would casually say: 'don't worry the cab drivers will stop as I'm white' or 'they will stop for a foreigner', as I instinctually try to stop them from jaywalking across the street as cars were approaching, and didn't want them to get hit.  My comment was, (mainly at the start of my time in Tokyo as you get desensitised to these quips after a while); 'you've been here way too long, and you're more "Japanese" than I am'... my facial expression; did I really hear you correctly?!  But this is a reality, that just is, and although I think it to be sad, it is one that both foreign and Japanese are responsible.
    
I need to state the fact that I am Japanese, although in Japan probably more foreign than some of the foreigners, and I have experienced both sides of the double edged sword as well as the rainbow-and-unicorn-on-a-bed-of-pink-clouds treatment of being 'different' (and confidently so in my own unique way).  So I believe I have a good inside out/outside in perspective.  I have also experienced the reverse, of being in a completely American environment where I was the only asian in the whole school.  Culture shock on varying degrees throughout my life existed.  I've also been in two major long term relationships (of 7 years and 5 with my ex boyfriends), been single for the last two years, and at 33 I do date.  

In Toronto it is more; we're all human, anything goes, and a mishmash of multiculturalism, amidst the other aspects like socio-economic status, age, and other factors that go into one finding a mate.  But still complicated none the less as one has to be vigilant or sensitive to the cultural backgrounds, customs, language differences of the other you are meeting, etc. I've only been here since May this year, and when I lived here before, I was in a committed long term relationship, so I can't provide as much insight into the realities of dating here, although I do get asked out on coffee and dinner dates often. Wether it goes anywhere beyond that, well, when you know yourself, needs, and wants... I'm very discerning and selective to whom I give my time, energy, and self.  I am also currently going through a lot medically that requires my attention, but I'm trying my best not to let that get in the way of leading the greatest possible life (under the circumstances).  




This is going to be quite a generalised post on this topic, but a few things I've learned along the way and some words of advice that may or may not help or apply.

As you mature, perspectives, priorities, non-negotiable's, standards, and values also evolve.  Constantly learning as you go, tweaking what it is that you want and need in yourself, your future, your significant other.  Only you know yourself best, and you trust that the other individual does themselves, and will respectfully act accordingly without taking advantage or being a douchebagasswipe dick/batshitcrazy bitch. 

I have had the fortunate experience of meeting those whom were extremely respectful (intentional or not), and genuine individuals who had my best interests at heart who have had the courage, despite their 'liking' 'desiring' me, let me go, breaking my heart.  If you've invested your time and energy, had reasonable expectations and believed in the other persons actions and advances accordingly, you feel shattered, disappointed, sometimes feeling mislead, mind-fucked, and the hurricane of emotions and thoughts, depending on the situation. But thinking of it now I realise that they probably knew themselves best and if they believed they could not be a/the man in my life, then it wasn't meant to be.  I also have to add, breaking another persons heart can be the hardest thing one can do, and one that takes a lot of courage.  It just sucks, and there is a shitload of hurt on both sides (dating and more so in relationships).



Dating, exposing your heart, allowing someone else into your world, risking rejection, all requires vulnerability; something we don't do well in the modern age. Especially if you end up dating someone like me who goes straight to the heart of reality or truth, of pure depth and are challenged to face one self, and to be the best they can be, yes, it must be extremely scary (especially as guys/men don't do emotions and 'psychological' stuff very well).  Those you date or attract usually in some part reflect your current state of being and where you are in your life.  The universe has a funny way of presenting what you put out.  You never really know if the individual you meet and date, in the present, are meant to be or not, only time will tell.  And dating in the 21st century where everyone is mobile and where distance can happen; you become creative and push comfort zones, wether through Skype, FaceTime, phone calls, emails, FB, plane ride~ you work it out.    



You learn from your past, face shortcomings, create new strategies, evolve and grow from mistakes.  Change is possible no matter how old you are, its just a question of being brave enough to face your own demons, being flexible and adapting to new circumstances.  I mean I'm head strong and stubborn as heck, but bring on a challenge and you bet I'll be roughin' it head on, determined to overcome any obstacle and ready to step up completely.  

And standards; as long as they are realistic and reflects who you are and the life you've lead, and you personally would be able to uphold them yourself, do not ever lower. For example; I've had men older than I am, take flights to come see me (although I've only known them shortly and have met them a few times), flash their matte black, millionaire, high flying Master Card, and after dinner invite me over to their place expecting to get jiggy with me, at which point I tell them 'no, while you're high flying around the world, you haven't shown me concrete proof of who you are and what it is that you do, you don't know where you are going to end up, and are in the process of looking for the next investment/project/venture, a bit iffy on the commitment front, not much stability, expecting me to trust you completely?'  Nope, no can do.  I've no qualms, regardless of CEO status, earning power, profession, savant level mind, drop dead gorgeous looks, or anything other than value, respect, honesty, integrity, rationale, I WILL speak my mind, and/or stand up and leave, go catch the next bus/train/drive/take a flight/walk away, being polite and respectful, all the smooth while with concern for the other individuals feelings and ego, while I firmly stand up for myself, values, and standards.




Women and men alike; 

Its just a self sabotaging cycle where if neither stands up for their standards or operates on values, without respect for one another; it becomes a fuck fest re: Tinder, where individuals are objectified, hot or not?!  That is very animalistic and a low radar to be operating, not to mention risk of STDs and safety... although I am sure there are a minority who are on Tinder innocently enough who do end up in relationships.

Know yourself well enough to trust you'll make the right choices when they come about. 

In the case of confrontation and conflict where rationale and actions don't match words, you speak your mind.  I rarely get mad, but if you anger me, I fight like a drunk psychiatrist in a bar brawl; conflict resolution like bullet points, put it all out on the table, and work everything out.  See, some are outliers in programming or sport, but I am an outlier in the realm of psycho analysis and kicking with the punches.  Grow with me, explore and adventure with me.  Please step up and be down for an amazing life!  



So this thing we chase after called love, is sensitive, messy, riddled with hurt, rejection, tears, anxiety and uncertainty, but something worth fighting for and finding, as there is no other sensation greater than being in love and being loved by another, knowing that no matter what, someone else will have your back, as you traverse through this crazy adventure that is life.  So to find this significant other, you date.  


What do successful women (not girls) want and what are they attracted to?
An alpha male, who takes charge of his life, takes care of himself, and what he wants, with drive and ambition for his purpose, and future vision.  A man (not a boy or guy, but a man) that takes full responsibility for his actions and aspects in life, who has the ability to be fierce when in need.  Reliable, responsible, trustworthy, and dependable, a leader, who will protect and make one feel safe to be a feminine woman, and potential to be the provider and protector and the head of the household. That is a HUGE! responsibility, and it must be daunting to even consider for many, but in return a woman will bring with her a whole set of skills and gifts that makes a man's life that much better and easier (regardless of all the complaining and things you often hear about).  Hey we need one another!  For the commitment phobic guys out there, research seems to show benefits to improved health and higher earning for those who are in successful long term relationships.  

   
Some go into dating with the end goal and neon sign of ring, marriage, wedding, happily ever after (don't you love the garish colours I used there;), or god forbid to fill a void in their lives... then you miss the mark completely, the true meaning of a partnership and loving another for who they are and for the life that you respect and care for, as the beautiful whole individual you chose to allow into your life, and fallen in love.  I personally think weddings are taken out of proportion and ridiculous in their materialism and cost, but its a nice staged performance to attend and see~  Who knows, I may think differently if I ever get to that place.  I believe commitment is extremely important, and how you show or express that is up to you, but a 'contract' I'm still on the fence; when in doubt get a prenup, I guess...? This is one that needs to be discussed with whomever you are seriously considering being with.  But what I'm saying is marriage/commitment is not the end game in dating; its only the very beginning of a new adventure, with another individual by your side.  Enjoy the process of getting to know them and totally suss them out as they will you!    

In the mean time enjoy your life!, your single life, embrace and learn about who you are, at your core.  Be the best individual you can be, assess the dating situations you find yourself, and those you encounter in your life (dating or otherwise!).  Destiny, fate, meant to be's; believe it.  Being in love will bring out aspects of yourself you never thought imaginable, challenging your deepest darkest hidden fears, but empowering you to step up, be present for another, and to be your best possible self.

Don't you love being human!?  I love it, I think life is fascinating in all its facets, regardless of the darkest deepest crevices you may have to endure.