This forgotten book-mark in a book being revisited after two years is an origami crane – a symbol of healing in Japan. A school kid had given it to me at Hiroshima as a token of gratitude for helping him practise his spoken English.
Paper folding started in China in the first century and reached Japan in the 6th century. Here it was cultivated as an art of understatement. Origami suggests. It implies without announcing outright. It intimates without brashness. In Japanese folklore, a crane is fabled to live for a thousand years and is held in high esteem. It is believed that folding 1000 paper cranes brings the folder’s wishes come true.
A young girl called Sadako Sasaki survived the Hiroshima bomb when she was only two years old. Less than 10 years later she was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow. The disease progressed rapidly and the prognosis was not good. She set out to make a thousand paper cranes. She could complete 644 before she died on Oct. 25, 1955, less than a year after being diagnosed. Her classmates, family and friends made more to bring them up to 1000 and buried them with Sadako.
Her story captured the imagination of the country and the world. Today, we recognize the crane as a symbol of peace and hope.
“She let out both the pain of our parents and her own suffering with each crane.”
“Her death gave us a big goal. Small peace is so important with compassion and delicacy it will become big like a ripple effect. She showed us how to do it. It is my, and the Sasaki family’s responsibility to tell her story to the world. I believe if you don’t create a small peace, you can’t create a bigger peace. I like to gather those good wishes and good will and spread to the world,” said Masahiro, her brother.
Peace and hope to Sadako and to us all.
Left the massive, fire-walled monster of a building, feeling as tired as a rag. Stood on the covered walkway looking at vertical lines of water heavily following gravity, falling like a velvet curtain, making the darkness darker. Couldn’t gather enough courage to step into it. No rush. No one waiting at home. Cold hands in pockets, frozen tips of noses and ear-lobes. Cool, moisture-laden air flooding the balloon-bags in the chest and leaving with a tiny bit of fatigue. Even though the jungle is concrete, it offers some respite.
While I stand at the edge of this temperate downpour, tiny deflected reflected droplets find my face and keep me awake. The noisy business of clanking rain adds to the drama.
Over the next few minutes the drops become grainy. Splat! They shatter on flat surfaces of windscreens and pavements, leaving a little residue, a trace of things to come.
The noise suddenly vanishes, as if the conductor of an orchestra has indicated a pause. The air changes form. Little white flakes completely defy gravity and dance gracefully in all directions, seemingly weightless. The darkness lifts into soundless brilliance. Streetlights exaggerate these elegant movements. I bounce onto the road and walk under this light white flurry. My feet land on softness. The whiteness starts to make little homes on hedges, fences and chimneys. I am transported into a world of lightness and joy.
For a few moments, all is right with the world.
A New Year’s Prayer
May God make your year a happy one!
Not be shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it as it comes;
Not be making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright,
Even in the shadows
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you
When people and their causes need you most,
And by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you
For the year ahead.
Everyday presents opportunities for change but the very last day of the year makes me think harder about them. What do I want to change? Stop? Start? Improve? Loose?
All these come from a place of non-acceptance. I would like to be in a state of acceptance, starting with myself. I am fine. I give myself permission to be as quirky, kind, silly, funny, generous, happy, spontaneous, sorrowful as I like, as long as I am authentic. Completely and unapologetically true to myself, irrespective of what anyone else thinks. There is only one of me. I embrace all aspects of myself, knowing that I am the best version of myself at this moment in time.
It’s fear that stops us being ourselves, mostly fear of rejection. If I never reject myself, no one else’s rejection would matter. If I proudly stick with who I really am, I can’t go wrong.
I honour all I have been through and all those who have helped me. Despite everything, life is good. It is full of love and blessings. I have the perfect role model. Someone who has never been afraid to express himself fully and be his wonderful self, spreading joy!
We wish you a peaceful 2017! May you unwrap your wonderfulness and spread bliss! xxx