Tag Archives: Japan

Look But Don’t Touch … Part II

On a recent visit to Kripalu, a yoga center in western Massachusetts, my sister and I took a late afternoon walk before attending a dance class. But before we went inside, we stood gazing at the sunset. Snow covered the sloping hill side, and bare trees showed off their elegant architecture in fading light that seemed to have been infused with fairy dust.

Silently we took all of this in. And silently I spoke to the exquisite landscape, which seemed to be shimmering with meaning: What have you come to tell me? I asked.

No answer.

Then, I heard my sister, say, “Embrace me!”

I turned to look at her. “Excuse me?” I asked.

“Well, I felt like the landscape was saying that, ‘Embrace me!’ ” she explained a bit sheepishly, “so I just said it out loud.”

What a funny way the world has of talking to us! I asked the question silently, my sister heard the answer in her head and gave it voice.

We stood and looked some more. After all, we could only embrace this wonder with our eyes.


p.s. My sister (who also happens to be a prolific blogger)  is visiting from her home in Japan. She is without her computer and without her camera, so she was not able to post on her own blog this week. She asked me to blog about our shared experience for her, so she could participate in Corner View even while she was “unplugged.” I hope you will visit her blog, too, and read some of her touching posts!


p.s.s. Asking a question of an inanimate object, symbol, or image, is a dreamwork technique called Active Imagination. It is often useful to dialogue with dream symbols in this way to engage the sub conscious and the conscious mind to find meaning in a dream or waking experience (such as an illness, accident, or encounter with nature). I write about it elsewhere on this blog.


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Tea and Synchronicity

“Overvalued reason has this in common with political absolutism: under its dominion the individual is pauperized.” –Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 302.

High Tea, 3.31.12


Today’s tea is Japanese green tea. I’m drinking it from one of the little blue and white polka dot cups I received as a gift on my first visit to Japan with my sister and her then fiancé, who is Japanese. The warm grassy scent of the tea reminds me of that first visit to Yoshi’s family’s home on a small fishing island on the Inland Sea.

Preparing for this afternoon’s tea break, I put my lemon cookies and Dove chocolate on the blue and white dishes painted with images of Mount Fuji, which my sister, who by then had moved to Japan, gave me as a gift some years back.

Thinking of my sister I decide to decorate the table with the Lakshmi postcard she sent me, from Japan, this winter for my birthday. Coincidentally, This morning in my yoga class the teacher introduced the theme of giving and receiving abundance, pointing to a tapestry of Lakshmi as a visual aid.

In this case, I created a sense of synchronicity*. I consciously set up the echoing symbolism of Japanese tea, memories, and the Hindu goddess that my yoga teacher mentioned, and my sister had sent me an image of.

But lately, the synchronicities have been finding me. My dreams for example, have been dropping funny coincidences into my lap, at least once a day for the past week or so.

For example, last night I dreamed of a former colleague, whose name, I just realized, is the same as my sister’s. I ran into her this morning at the pricy health food grocery store, where I rarely shop. I’d just gone in to buy a bottle of vitamins, but accidentally turned down the diaper aisle instead. Since my “baby” is fully grown, I had no real business in that aisle. Except that that’s where I ran right into J., who was shopping with her adorable toddler.

“I was just thinking of you!” J., exclaimed when our grocery carts nearly collided.

“Of course you were,” I said, because these days that’s just how things have been going. Mind you, I can’t recall ever having dreamed of J. before, we haven’t been in touch in well over a year, and have maybe run into each other one other time in the 3 or 4 years since she stopped working in the same school where I still teach.

I won’t even mention the next coincidence today, when I jotted down the name of an acquaintance, one who has never before called me, but who … within three minutes of my writing her name on a Post-it because I wanted to invite her and a mutual friend to tea … called me. We haven’t communicated with one another since Thanksgiving, and I don’t believe she’s ever phoned me before. Hmmm.

Still, I’m skeptical of such things as synchronicty, precognition and other extraordinary phenomena. But because I experience these things, perhaps too often to consider co-incidental, I have to take pause and consider.

I take comfort in the fact that Carl Jung, who was trained as a scientist, believed whole-heartedly in sychronicity.

In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung writes, “The unconscious helps by communicating things to us, or making figurative allusions. It has other ways, too, of informing us of things which by all logic we could not possibly know. Consider synchronistic phenomena, premonitions, and dreams that come true.” (p. 302)

How I would love to sit down to tea with Dr. Jung and talk all of this over.

“The collective unconscious is common to all; it is the foundation of what the ancients called the ‘sympathy of all things.’ ” –Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 138.


*synchronicity |ˌsi ng krəˈnisitē| noun 1 the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection : such synchronicity is quite staggering. ORIGIN 1950s: coined by C. G. Jung.

What role do synchronicities have in your life?

Is your life made richer by them?

What’s your favorite tea?


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D is for Deer … and Devotion (CV)

Painting by my talented niece, Yasu.

As I rode in an open air taxi from the ferry to our camp on my arrival to St. John, in the Virgin Islands, a small family of deer crossed the road just in front of us. I was visiting St. John for the first time for a week’s vacation. My name, in Hebrew, means deer, so I smiled at the welcome from my namesakes.

A few nights later, I found myself face to face, and nose to nose with a deer in my dream. We peered at one another until I was no longer certain which body I was gazing out from. I looked at her and I saw my face. The deer lifted its hoof and pressed it against my head. It didn’t hurt, but I was aware of the power the animal had, if it chose to use it.

I entered the heat of that day with the riddle of the deer’s face staring at me staring at her. The image followed me even as I hiked up Ram Head and back down to Salt Pond Bay.

The view from Ram Head on St. John.

When I have an encounter with an animal in my dream, especially if it licks, bites, or scratches me, I interpret it as a totem. If I encounter that animal more than once in a short period of time, awake or asleep, I pay special attention. It wasn’t until I returned home that I could investigate what a deer totem might represent.

I learned that the deer comes to us to remind us to approach situations with gentleness and unconditional love.

For me, the deer also reminds me of Japan, because when I visited there 12 years ago next month, when my niece was born there, we visited the Nara Park, where deer roam freely and will eat out of your hands.

Of course Japan has been much on my mind and heart this past week and a half. My sister and her family live there so, I felt a deep ache and urgency over the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that occurred there the day before I left on my vacation.

My niece, who still lives in Japan, painted the beautiful (and award-winning) picture that accompanies this week’s post. I offer my dream, the painting and these words as a reminder to bring gentle, unconditional love into my thoughts toward myself, others, and most especially toward all who are suffering from the recent events in Japan, or the fear those events have awoken in so many of us.

I especially dedicate this unconditional love to my sister, niece, brother-in-law and all of their friends and family in Japan.

Coral hearts displayed on Salt Pond Bay Beach.

To read some hopeful words about Japan’s strength and dignity please visit my sister’s blog.
For more Corner Views from around the world visit these blogs:
jane ianbonniejoycefrancescastate of bliss isabellejaniskarijgylisecateotlidortesophiemcgillicuttysunnymamadaanibbkelleynninjasammitheresacherry bcolelucylaineskywritingannaconnyrosamaríatikjewitjuniperannabelvaleriemlle paradiswander chowdon flowtopssusannataniadanatzivia mezzaocean girlkristin


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