It’s remarkable to live in a country such as Japan that has a living mythological tradition that supports the spiritual needs of its people.
Instead of a dubious afterlife, the focus on the miracle and awe of the here and now revealed through nature is in every mindful cup of tea, every pathway and house, every art form.
To participate in the annual Sakura, or cherry blossom viewing in Spring, is sublime and a powerful exercise in spiritual renewal.
My second Sakura season has been splendid indeed, including hanami at Osaka Castle Park in Osaka with my husband and his co-workers among the thousands of festive picknickers. It’s a powerful collective event to celebrate nature together, this shared ritual and experience of the nature that is us glues people together with a common identity.
And the fleeting period that the plum and cherry blossoms are around reminds us of the fleeting time of life as well. To watch buds bloom then fade, their petals floating to the ground, reminding me that my body one day too will sink back into the earth, returning to its source.
And without fear, as nature assures me there is no death, just as every three days a sliver appears in the sky after a new moon. Reminding me all I have is now, so I’d better get going, let go of old baggage, and step into eternity.
Such was my experience viewing Sakura everywhere, even in Kyoto yesterday, starting at Hirano Shrine to be littered with snowing petals blown from the trees, baptizing all with their pink grace. Then to a traditional music and a play put on by Maiko and Geisha at Kitano Odori. This annual event is akin to North Americans seeing the Nutcracker every Christmas.
Spectacular costumes, a whimsical tale, three generations of Geisha and Maiko on stage dancing or playing shamisen and singing. The power of the feminine infused everyone who witnessed its mesmerizing beauty in the theatre, then released back into the world energized and balanced.
I used to have a hard time letting go. It was a long year of adjustment to Japan and myriad other details in my life, including being an empty-nester, saying goodbye to my father who died the day I moved to Japan, and rediscovering myself. After this experience in Japan with Sakura, I feel reborn. I recently cut my hair as a rebirth and letting go. This powerful alignment with nature had a magical effect on my psyche to let go of the past and find my center in the here and now again.
There is still some blossoms left! The Osaka Mint opens its famous pathway April 11. I’ve been invited to two more hanami at Osaka Castle Park.It’s chilly today in Osaka, but you can’t wait, they will be gone! Time to go outside!!!