Following in the footsteps of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Bodhidharma, I finally visited China after all these years and what a wonderful experience it was. The Family Constellation group with Darshan in Beijing was both powerful and deep. I enjoyed my contribution to the workshop: sharing music, meditation, and celebration. Afterwards, I had a few days off to enjoy a bit of sightseeing: The Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace. I was introduced to the most amazing people everywhere and made many new friends. I feel thoroughly nourished and loved. Thank you, all, for sharing your heart and transformation with me. It has been an inspiring visit and one I won’t soon forget.
I arrived in Tokyo from Beijing on April 9. It had been more than two years since my last visit to Japan. After a short stopover to visit old friends, I traveled on to Matsumoto City (gateway to the Japan Alps) where the first event was held. I was hosted in an old ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) which had its own onsen (hotspring bath), an added luxury. From there, I moved on to Nagoya, Hiroshima, and then back to Tokyo for the last event. After the tour, I visited in Gunma Prefecture (about an hour northwest of Tokyo on a bullet train) where I had a wonderful week of rest and relaxation with dear friends before finally boarding my flight home to America on May 5.
Just like Spring brings with a sense of renewal, so did the events this time all have a fresh feeling. Japan is endlessly fascinating. In my over thirty years of visits, I am still discovering and learning new things. It is a cultural kaleidoscope from its first-class cuisine to its complex, nuanced language; from its clean, modern cities and transportation systems to its timeless countryside of terraced rice fields, shrines and ancient temples.
Being a volcanic series of islands, Japan has lots of hotsprings. Fortunately this visit, I had the opportunity to visit two of my favorites, Ikaho and Kusatsu. Every hotspring has different qualities, the therapeutic effect due to the types of minerals dissolved in the water. A long, soothing soak defines the meaning of Japanese word, “kimochi”: In other words, “Mmm, this feels REALLY good.”
Everyone loves springtime in Japan, not just because of the mind-silencing cherry blossoms (sakura), but the variety of flowers that endlessly come popping up every day, everywhere. It’s true what one hears that the Japanese love their flowers. And so do I.
I had some strong experiences along the way. One in particular, a concert I gave in the shadow of the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima. This building with its dome-like roof was one of the few structures left standing after the atomic bomb was dropped in World War ll. Now a central feature of the Hiroshima Peace Park, it stands as a poignant reminder of what can happen when nationalism runs amok, politicians’ egos spin out of control, and we lose track of our humanity.
I was touched by the many new people coming to the events, their sincerity and interest in meditation and exploring themselves. Their willingness to open their hearts, put their minds and differences aside was inspiring and made the events especially strong, nourishing, and transforming. Maybe I am a dreamer, or perhaps it has something to do with my musician disposition, but I always feel so much more is possible when we join our hands and come together in silence and love.
A word about the photos: I have arranged them more or less in chronological order. They reflect the route my travels followed as I celebrated the seasonal magic unfolding everywhere. To all my organizers, musicians, and the many beautiful new and old friends I met along the way — also to Ashik who made the long journey from Colorado to join us in Tokyo — I say “xie xie” (thank you in Chinese) and “arigato” (thank you in Japanese).