Struggling with awareness
I remember a year ago on my return to Japan, coming back from Europe to an country just starting to come to terms with an economy in recession. Getting on a train some days meant a precarious balance of coins in a pocket, at times coming home only to argue on the way with some train inspector because insufficient money was on my card and I was using too small coins for the automatic fare adjustment machine. My mind would travel through the day ahead, checking off money needed and that already accounted for, trying to prepare myself for unexpected costs that could derail my efforts at finding suitable work to pay the bills.
I remember worrying through most part of the day, and somehow making it, little by little, to the reality we call today. Day in, day out.
Not that these days are not filled with concerns, worries and fears, but I have a year behind me of successful struggle behind me that marks the possibility of survival. Friends and relatives rebalance themselves on the sea we call life. Jobs change, people move house, some move on, new friends and workers arrive.
Change….A year ago, Thanksgiving day in America was spent unknowingly celebrating the end of the “good times”. Black Friday 2008 woke many people up to the fact that disposable income has been disposed, and that many now had to back pedal and pay off excesses that were taken on, often in a sort of mindless bliss like state we call consumer society.
Recession. The tide had finally decided to turn back on itself.
Thanksgiving this year I am sure hosts a different and slimmed down menu for many… weakening some relationships, strengthening others in that big lottery we call life.
What can we learn from all this? That paying attention to the world around us and remaining mindful of our habits and tendencies can protect us against our own stupidity. That true friends reveal themselves at crucial times as others thought of as friends disappear just as quickly into the ether of life. All in the nature of balance.All in the nature of cold, hard truth. Simple, clear reality, neither good, nor bad. But constantly changing. Within this, we swim.
*pictures taken at Takao San in Tokyo in November, 2009.
**Black Swan- a book written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb