A long walk and Byron Bay

Rice field in winter

Hitachinaka. I decided to take a walk today. It’s a little long, perhaps two or two and a half hours. I enjoy doing this at the start of the new year.

With each step, I feel my thoughts becoming a little clearer. My body feels a little lighter even with the weight of the winter’s cold.

When I walk, I imagine that I am moving closer to my goals. Arriving at my destination provides me with a sense of accomplishment and oftentimes clarity.

Foot path by the river

It’s a lot colder than I’d imagined it would be. I brought my knitting to occupy my hands as I walk. It’s harder to knit with gloves on, but I enjoy it. With each step, I make a new stitch. I can see that I am creating something even when the journey feels neverending.

I don’t meet many people on this walk. Every now and again, I see an elderly person walking or riding a bicycle. Where I live in Japan, it always seems so quiet. I think it’s made me even quieter.

Byron Bay Coffee

Mito. It took two hours and forty-five minutes. A little slower than I expected…but that’s likely due to the knitting.

Now, I am enjoying a prana chai tea at a local cafe. It’s a comfortable space where I can do some knitting and enjoy the presence of others. It’s a quiet and simple moment. The kind of moment that I would like to create more often.

Lotus, Kyoto

Yesterday, a friend said that she enjoyed reading my musings. It was a curious moment for me. I am just writing because I long to write.

I hadn’t considered that anyone would take the time to read my words. I feel grateful and honoured that anyone would, whether friend or stranger.

If nothing else, I have decided that from now on I need to take ownership of my truth and to embrace all that I am and can do. This includes writing, regardless of its current quality. So…

Thank you for reading.

D

A new year and kaze…

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. – Rumi

Lately, I have been reflecting on the idea and action of purpose. How do we decide what is our purpose? And how do we act purposefully in each day of our lives?

Life can, at times, feel like parade of accidents, moving from one unintended and possibly catastrophic moment to the next. We may watch from the sidelines, thinking that there is nothing we can do to change what comes next. Or perhaps we make ourselves active participants, leading or guiding the parade to its possible negative end.

Of course, life is filled with incidents, good, bad, in-between, intentional, and unintentional events. And oftentimes, we can choose our roles, whether as spectators or participants, etc.

Daigo

Many times I have been asked how I have come to live in places foreign to me. My answer has typically been that the universe pulled me to that location. More recently, my response has been one word: kaze (風).

Kaze means “wind” in Japanese. I enjoy the sound and the feeling of this word. It resonates with some core part of myself that relishes the weightless, transient, and forceful nature of wind. Perhaps I long to be a little like the wind…

Still, even wind has direction and purpose. And so, too, do we. Wind, after all, is just air in motion.

Daigo

So, too, can we be in motion in our lives, picking up enough speed to change our locations, whether physically, spiritually, or psychologically.

How do we decide what is our purpose? We listen to what our core self desires the most. How do we act purposefully in each day of our lives? We trust in our kaze.

It’s 2020. Let’s see where we will allow the wind to take us.

D

Watercress latte, knitting, and…

Daigo. The cafe is dark yet warm, constructed of rich wood and laid out with space heaters and blankets. It’s my fourth time here, listening to the melancholic notes of an unfamiliar singer. I wish I had my notebook and more time. It’s a place for writers, and I have been desperate to write.

Instead I’ve got a latte and my knitting to keep my hands and mind occupied. The green of the latte and the blue of the wool, both paint images in my mind of warmer times, green rice fields and ocean waves.

It’s funny how easy it is, when you get into the living the business of life, to forget the simplicity of living…of enjoying a latte and a little knitting.

I’m learning again what I came to know: living well requires being balanced.

Happy (almost) New Year.

D.

Morning Walk and a Cup of Tea

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It’s just after 5:00 a.m. The sidewalk is connection of pools of water, the sky a sleepy silvery grey, and sounds of nature a reminder of the silence of my voice.

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I am greeted by the road signs that reflect life (“Caution curve ahead”) and old men walking their dogs (“Ohayougozaimasu”). A lifetime is, indeed, a short-long experience…or perhaps do I mean ‘long-short.’ It’s only 5:20 and far too early to sort through this thought. I walk on.

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I pass a field opposite a factory. I watch a crow fly from one powerline to the next. A flock of sparrows cruise noisily from the top of a building to a nearby tree, and I am aware of the sounds of traffic.

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I live in a city that bustles with industry and fosters nature. It’s easy to enjoy wild flowers, buy from local farmers, be concerned about the potentially toxic smoke from some factory lazily clouding the sky, and contemplate ‘globalization’ while drinking a matcha latte at one of the two local Starbucks and gazing at the large concrete box that is Costco across the street. That’s not the point of why I am living here, though.

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6:30 a.m., I am back home. A pillow and a cup of Earl Grey mint tea–the simplicities of my life. My mind quietly enjoys the warmth.

Growing moment by moment

1523937809058It’s been ages…well, almost a year. During that time, I’ve been working on my clearing through the clutter of my mind, redefining my path, discovering love in multiple forms, finding community, and learning to cherish each moment.

I’ve laughed a great deal, cried a heck of a lot, and worked hard to nurture my child-self.  I suppose that will always be a part of what it means for me to be living.

Speaking of living: I’m still living in Japan, finishing up my second year. I’m still teaching English, and I truly love my work. I love being around children, and I especially love sharing knowledge.

I’m learning Japanese (it’s a process), and I wish I had the chance to speak Italian and German more regularly–now, I’m just reading books and doing some personal writing in those two languages. I’m learning how challenging it is to keep language skills when you aren’t able to use them. So, I’m sorting through how I’d like to resolve this particular issue.

Well, this has been quite the ramble. Still, I wanted to write something, and so I have.

Until Next Time,

D

Poetry | Now Nowhere

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Photograph by Diedré M Blake, 2018

Cicadas call now,

10,000 steps to nowhere,

“Will I find myself?”

-db

 

 

 

Poetry | Ambivalence

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Photograph by M. Beddingfield, 2018 (edited by D. Blake)

I stop. This moment

dances on petals–my heart

unfrozen freezes.

-db

 

Poetry | Fallen Blossoms

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Blossoms, Diedré M. Blake

Let me hold you now

as sakura blossoms fall,

welcoming spring.

-db.

 

 

Self-Care| Letting Go of Promises & Finding Peace of Mind

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Untitled. D. Blake, 2017

It’s a grey day, I’m at Starbucks, eating a strawberry cheesecake scone and drinking iced tea, and I feel a little tired. I started my morning by taking a long walk, looking at flowers, and listening to The Tao of Fully Feeling by Pete Walker. Yesterday, I finished Walker’s Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. On a daily basis, I consume books, articles and videos on childhood and adult trauma, self-care, fibromyalgia, personality disorders, and how to keep it together when you’re broken and involved. It’s a healthy diet of I’m ready to change.

This year marks a decade since I received my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. However, it’s been a life marked by a host of diagnoses: depression, SAD, OCD, PCOS, IBS, Raynaud’s syndrome, overweight, underweight, high blood pressure, etc.; and I was a walking pharmacy–there always seemed to be some new and improved medication to fix whatever was broken inside me.

All the while, I was doing the arduous work of unpacking my childhood, being therapized and therapizing myself, while codependently trying to fix everyone else’s problems, whether they wanted me to or not. I was without clear boundaries in my personal life, struggling with a compulsion to solve sadness, my own and others.

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Places to go. D. Blake, 2017.

Letting Go of Promises

You see, I made two promises a long time ago–not to myself, but to my family. I can’t recall my exact age, but I remember the moment with clarity. An incredible argument took place between one of my older siblings and my parents. Without going into the details, that moment represented the totality of my family’s dynamics: unbounded dysfunction.

Nothing was ever a discussion, always a war zone…and the children were used as  landmines against each other and seen as acceptable collateral damage. I made a promise aloud to my mother on that day. I told her that I would 1) become a therapist and 2) fix my family.

I had forgotten about those promises for two decades. Unearthing them again in a therapy session, back in December 2014, shook my world. I had to face the fact that I had been unconsciously living a life based on these promises…

In 2006, I became an art therapist and mental health counselor. I spent years, prior to and thereafter, confronting my parents on their unacceptable behaviors towards my siblings and me. I tried to create dialogue. I tried to be a bridge. I tried…until I realized, in 2016, that I couldn’t do that anymore.

I can’t keep these promises that my younger self made. I can’t undo what was done to my siblings and me. I can’t fix my parents, nor do I wish to anymore.

Still, I was raised to cater to others. I was raised to take the blame for others. I was raised to disregard myself and defer to others. It’s no simple task living within and for myself.

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Self-portrait, D. Blake, 2017

Peace of Mind

So, I’ve been reading, watching, confronting and comforting myself. I take daily walks, I remind myself that change is a moment by moment act of meeting yourself wherever you are. I can’t walk back my childhood nor the harrowing moments of my adulthood. However, I can walk toward the type of future I would like to have and the future self I would like to be.

In the past, fixating on the emotions of others and even myself, and trying to control the outcome of everything was what brought me a sense of fragile peace–as long as I knew what someone was going to do or what was going to happen next, then everything was okay.

Now, it’s the simple things that give me peace of mind: flowers, stones, water, changes in the weather, the sound of laughter, singing, and dancing–flowing with what is rather than what I would like to be.

Change seems to happen with the smallest and simplest of actions…at least, this is what trying to live within myself has been showing me lately.  If you’re on a similar journey, then I hope it’s the same for you.

Until Next Time,
D

Vlog | Mini Life Update & Get To Know Me (30 Questions)

It’s been ages since I’ve posted a vlog on YouTube. Today, I decided to change that. 🙂