During the last few months of 2019 I was not in the best of spirits.
Possibly because the series of events below had piled on top of one another:
・Transformation of Lifestyle
A total change from a carefree, nomadic, single life to that of a family man; the birth of my first son, my first experience of married life, that being in the wife's mum's home, with the addition of further extended family, being in a foreign land, working full-time while taking care of a child...
・change of environment
From Japan where material goods and services are abundant to England where its culture is more conservative and mono-tone. From a country that has variety - four distinctive seasons, climates ranging from subarctic to subtropical, landscapes from snowy alpine mountains to subtropical rainforests and dunes to a grey, blunt place...
Outdoorsy activities such as travelling, mountaineering, foraging and fishing have been my hobbies. Obviously, England is a flat land with no mountains, maybe hills at best, so a day's mountain trip is not an easy option.
Naturally, fishing was left as an alternative until the winter hit when both fish and fishermen became inactive. On top of that, I have already caught most of the indigenous British freshwater species and those which are yet to be caught, have only limited populations in limited habitats, which has drained the last remaining energy in me.
Coincidentally I was going through a period of becoming tired of satisfying my material desires and any physical activities.
Petite et accipietis, pulsate et aperietur vobis. (Ask, and you shall receive.)
I found out that two of the people I know had completed their own 10-day Vipassana retreat. Being a practitioner of that style of meditation for some 6 years, I was stuck at a point where I just could not progress in my practice as it was.
Around the same time, I tried out Sam Harris's meditation app "Waking Up" during its free trial period. It taught me the importance of being taught, about which I would never have become aware of through self-learning alone. Also, it turned out in a chance conversation, that one other person I know was in fact very knowledgeable about shamanism, this has borne a newly found bond with them.
These encounters and my internal realization have shone a warm, bright light on me, who was feeling stuck under the ever grey London skies.
My theme for 2020 is
"Journey of the soul, rather than on foot"
Whatever awaits us, I look forward to, whatever that may be.
Off we go… to where the light leads us... (Photo taken by the author at Okumatsushima, Miyagi, Japan)