“Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.”
This evocative Haiku written by Mizuta Masahide, a 17th century Japanese poet and samurai, has spoken to me deeply since I adopted my treasured son Neal, who has taught me the gifts of leading a purpose-driven life. I aspire each day to be of service to those, like my family, who live with autism and “special needs.” In fact, I founded The Miracle Project so others could come to “see the moon” each day by being Miracle Minded.
My heart is full as I witness the courage, grace, cooperation and compassion at the core of our Japanese brothers and sisters’ culture.
In this unimaginable moment of crisis, we hear nothing about looting food or material goods in order to survive, but rather, we learn one story after another about Japanese citizens’ instinct to share each bit of food, shelter and clothing with in those in their midst, be they family, stranger, elder or infirmed.
How extraordinary to witness sharing, compassion, generosity, connection, understanding, patience, grace and unconditional love in the most desperate of times. What a blessing to learn of the boundlessness of the human spirit in moments of scarcity as well as abundance.
When disaster strikes and we are brought to our knees, I believe we come to know who we are and what we are made
Tag: Japan Tsunami 2011
“Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.”
We live in a small, media-connected world, where any disastrous event happening anywhere may affect us all, at least psychologically. On the one hand, we need to be informed, so that we can help wherever possible and learn lessons that may prevent subsequent disasters. On the other hand, we need to be careful not to end up with internal emotional disasters stemming from empathy.
Coping well with disaster stress helps us all stay emotionally afloat in the anxiety-provoking sea of uncertainty generated by tragic events. We need to learn skills for coping with our feelings of sadness, anger and terror evoked by tragedies like those in Fukushima, Katrina and Haiti, so that we rise to these occasions rather than collapse into them.
Most importantly, we need to take some kind of action, no matter how small, in response to these
I’ve always been someone who looks for the underlying message in just about anything and everything that happens in my life. I keep all the wonderful quotes and sayings passed down from family and friends because on some level, I believe they make my ordinary life feel a little more meaningful and special.
Last week I was getting ready to go to Los Angeles for several meetings the next day when a friend called and said she was passing through Montecito on her way home to Carmel. I went and met her for a quick hello in the lower village, and as I was driving back to get my things for LA, I found myself reading a bumper sticker on the car in front of me.
It said, “The best things in life aren’t things.”
I remember thinking in that moment, “Isn’t that the truth!” and I was rather surprised that I had never heard that quote
In this special blog, I’ll share with you what my 30-year survey of the most powerful, little known and guaranteed health interventions has revealed.
There is no pill you can swallow, food you can buy, nor gizmo that confers complete protection from pervasive toxicity, skewed societal consensus or invisible radiation. There’s no place you can go, nowhere you can hide and no authority — scientific, medical or spiritual — who can help you to escape what we’ve all created (or allowed to happen) here on planet Earth. Whether you are rich, poor, young, old, sick, healthy, right or left, no health manna, rural organic garden, island dwelling, nor spiritual belief can give you, me or us an out if we keep on screwing up.
Unless we turn around and heal the disconnect that allows us to misguidedly pursue personal goals, without sufficient care for the health of our society and the earth, than it’s likely our health problems will go from bad to
The tragic remains of the Japanese coastal towns devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami seem to offer themselves up to augurs for reading, like tea leaves at the bottom of a cup once the liquid is drained. Some see a vengeful God, punishing mankind for various sins. Others see the hubris of man believing that he can build nuclear reactors to withstand nature, the ultimate big bad wolf. I believe these readings are much like a Rorschach test of the reader’s
As Japan has now raised its nuclear alert level to 5 over on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, the Japanese government is surely assessing the range of scenarios that could develop as a result of its and TEPCO’s attempts to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. Information is unreliable and the situation remains fluid. This article examines three potential scenarios and their implications.
1. A meltdown is avoided and radiation leaks stay at acceptable levels.
This looked increasingly unlikely last week, however attempts to begin to cool the fuel rods and connect the plant to the power grid appear to have been
It’s been heartbreaking to watch the news out of Japan in the last week. Like you, I found myself shifting between feelings of horror, terror and compassion. I was at once deeply curious to know more and eager to turn it off and think about other things.
But something else has drifted out of the region along with the horrific headlines: a sense that Japanese culture may just change in response to this tragic series of events.
For instance, in The New York Times, Hiraki Azuma, a professor at Waseda University, wrote that he believes the Japanese will respond to this catastrophe by building a new, re-energized society, one in recovery not just from this “calamity” but from the “prolonged stagnation and despair of the last two decades.”
That piece and others like it made me think of Jonathan Haidt’s book, “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.” Haidt writes that adversity can actually make us stronger: “People need adversity, setback and perhaps even trauma to reach the highest levels of strength, fulfillment and personal development.” In fact, he says, researchers have begun to move beyond studying how human beings cope with adversity to focus on the benefits of severe stress — sometimes called “post-traumatic growth.”
How does this work? In rising to the challenge, we reveal our hidden capabilities. This, in turn, challenges our self concept: We realize that we are much stronger than we once
The people of Japan have suffered severe trauma since last week’s earthquake. And rather than experiencing conditions of secure normalcy that victims of trauma need to begin healing, Japan lives under the threat of a nuclear meltdown. Fear is ever present, their existence under siege.
How can we help from across an ocean? One immediate way is by donating money to the Red Cross (texting 90999 will create a donation of $10) and by sending our prayers to
The Apocalyptic horrors still unfolding in Japan are causing many of us to search within. I am not a philosopher, or ethicist or expert on death and dying. Like most of us, I’m in awe when I read about the 50 heroic workers who have been fighting the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushia Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. I wondered what motivated them to give up their
While Japan struggles to recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, artists and arts organizations around the world are coming together in a show of support for the island nation. Japan-related events in New York as part of this month’s Asia Week are being recast as tributes or fundraisers for earthquake victims, while artists in various countries are coming up with creative ways to respond to the disaster and raise needed funds for the victims and their families.
Yuriko Matsuda’s “Rock Paper Scissors,” 1995
/ Courtesy of Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.
Asia Week — the annual series of art exhibitions, auctions, and lectures — will take place as scheduled from March 18 to 26, with exhibitions and auctions representing art from a variety of periods and Asian countries. The only gallery from Japan, Kyoto-based Hiroshi Yanagi Oriental Art, is still planning to participate, and will exhibit Japanese scroll paintings, sculpture, and ceramics ranging from the 14th century to contemporary times. Another highlight is Joan Mirviss’s show of avant-garde sculptural forms by Japan’s Sdeisha ceramic movement.
In connection with Asia Week, an exhibition titled “Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art” will open March 18 at the Japan
Japan’s first week of this crisis has revealed to the world what many Japan watchers have known for many years — that it was woefully unprepared to deal with an inevitable severe earthquake and its repercussions.
TEPCO (the Tokyo Electric Power Company) and the Japanese government have unfortunately fulfilled the expectations of many who are familiar with their histories addressing crises, in which they have proven either inept or purposely misleading in delivering trustworthy information to the public. To proclaim, as one Japanese minister did last weekend, that the amount of radiation released at that time was equivalent to a CAT scan was simply absurd. We should not have expected more from TEPCO, which has in previous instances delivered purposely misleading
My wife, Cyndi Lee, landed at Narita Airport near Tokyo at almost the exact time the earthquake hit last Friday. She had come to Japan to lead a yoga teacher training program in Tokyo, and then a public program the following weekend in Osaka.
At the very moment she was handing the customs officer her passport, the entire airport began to shake. The shaking continued and intensified for several long
Last Friday when you first learned about the catastrophic tsunami that washed away entire Japanese communities, I bet the morning conversation around your breakfast table or office water cooler was not “Hey Susie, did you hear that JCPenney is running a 20 percent off sale on shoes?” Or, “Mike, how about Groupon’s movie deal for Battle: Los Angeles?” Yet on Twitter and Facebook — the global switchboards where hundreds of millions of people were engaged in high-velocity conversations about the disaster in Japan — corporate America could not put down the sales sheet.
Like you, I follow dozens of my favorite people and companies on Twitter and Facebook. But reading urgent calls for disaster relief right alongside updates from companies pushing their products precisely during the boiling point of a global calamity left me, well, dumbfounded. On Friday, did corporate America flunk the main lesson of Social Media 101: Be human?
Not one tweet or Facebook status update from any of my favorite companies signaled that they were getting behind (if not financially or strategically, then at least empathetically) our friends in
As we all know by now, the Earth has shifted once again. Just the slightest change from deep beneath the waters, a crack in the fabric of her lining, and islands quake while tsunami waves rush across shorelines. We awake believing the world — our world — is stable, only to learn again and again that this Earth is as much a living, breathing, moving, active instrument of life as we are. It is the grandest live organism we shall ever encounter, this wondrous Being that sustains us each second of our
When a confluence of events line up to expose an irrefutable but wickedly ugly truth, the phenomenon comes to be known as a perfect storm. Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake, tsunami, nuclear emergency and humanitarian crisis would better be described as a series of ever-worsening perfect storms.
Though few people yet realize it, these events are a clear but frightening glimpse into the future of our world as carbon fuels upon which we have relied for the past two centuries dwindle. These incidents have already exposed the world’s energy vulnerability.
The sooner people and policy makers realize it, the faster and more effective we can be at implementing clear-headed, sensible plans for our energy future. No country is anywhere close to being prepared.
The hydrogen explosions and venting of radioactive materials at the Daiichi nuclear power plants at Fukushima, only 150 miles north of Tokyo, already represent the second worst nuclear accident in history, and the situation is becoming increasingly
What follows is a description of what I experienced in Japan from the moment of the earthquake until the day I left Japan — March 14, 2011:
Friday, March 11th @ 2.46 p.m.” Heading to a business appointment, I am on the Marunouchi subway. The quake hits while between stations. The train stops as soon as it began. It lasts nearly a
Over the past 12 months, we’ve had caved-in coal mines, underwater oil spills and now compromised nuclear facilities. What does it take for us to accept that renewable energy is the way to go, both from a safety and ultimately a cost effectiveness viewpoint? We are quick to forget the societal consequences surrounding our dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear until disaster strikes.
Coal miners working in dangerous conditions. Photo courtesy of Giorgio Monteforti via Creative Commons.
The Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, operated by Massey Energy, killed 29 miners in the worst disaster in four
Right now, millions are glued to the television sets and scanning the Internet for stories about Japan’s tragedy and relief efforts. As the images of destruction mirror across the screens, many are rushing to see what they can do to help.
Horrible events like this tend to bring out the best and worst in humanity. We are reminded of how fragile life is and how we are all bound
Japan’s government and nuclear industry, with assistance from the U.S. military, is in a desperate race to stave off multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns — as well as potential fires in pools of spent fuel.
As of Sunday afternoon, more than 170,000 people have been evacuated near the reactor sites as radioactive releases have increased. The number of military emergency responders has jumped from 51,000 to 100,000. Officials now report a partial meltdown at Fukushima’s Unit
This week, Newt Gingrich, exploring the possibility of launching a presidential exploratory committee, “partially” blamed his past marital infidelity on how “passionately” he felt about his country. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to blame teachers, nurses, and trash collectors for his state’s budget woes succeeded, as the state assembly voted to strip government workers of their collective bargaining rights. Walker apparently forgot to include that $140 million tax break he’d given corporations in his budget blame
I am asking all HuffPosters to share my January 2010 post about Haiti and our need for preparedness in case of an emergency.
Please share it and this:
I watched the Oscars (wish I hadn’t) and there was the special effects reel of a Clint Eastwood movie I missed seeing. There was the tsunami effect of a wave washing over a village or town. Personally I thought it looked a tad cheesy and not realistic. After yesterday though, I sit humbled and dumbfounded at the power of nature and the hubris of man to think we can hold it back.
I am one of the National Red Cross supporters who talks about preparedness,
I spent most of the first 18 years of my life in Japan and the idea of the Big One striking was as much a part of life as eating and breathing. Still, nothing prepares for the incredible site of Japanese homes, businesses and lives being washed away in a split second.
We learn a lot about each other in moments of crisis but there are many things about the Japanese and we Americans that we already know: Japanese are sober-minded and clear-headed in moments of crisis like this — it’s highly unlikely that they’ll loot or in any way take advantage of the tragedy for personal gain. Rather they’ll look out for their neighbors and help one