My First ICASSI 2007 In the Netherlands(2)

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Hala said on the very first day: "I am an art therapist and an integrator. Remember, anything you draw, anything you express, will be the process of healing. And I hope in this class, any growth of anyone will influence each other and will harmonize." Yes, we became very friendly, influencing each other by the fourth day. We became somewhat high and wanted to express more. Hala permitted us to use the room one or two hours in the evening, and we stayed in the room.
2007,3.jpgIn an old magazine, I found a picture; an old man holding a newborn baby, which reminded me of my grandfather. He came to celebrate my son's birth but he died a year later. Next picture I found was of a tall man walking with a slender boy, which reminded me of my son and his father, my ex-husband. I clipped out these pictures for collage.
Then I tried a Scribble method which Hala showed us that morning. I took a blue crayon in the left hand, shut my eyes and scribbled on a big white sheet of paper. When I opened my eyes and saw the trace of my scribble, I intuitively felt it was a picture of an expecting woman. I colored the woman's womb vivid red and her arms orange. While coloring it red, I felt my subtle emotion in the deep place was dissolving as if the body of a larva melted and changed inside the cocoon. I pasted the photos of the men on the expecting woman. As I had a surgery of myoma of the uterus three years before ... Hala's art therapy healed me very softly.

adkerbook.jpgIn the last class, Hala asked us to draw pictures of "Bridge." First, I drew a wide blue river which separated people. Then I drew many yellow arch bridges connecting this side and the other. I drew people crossing the bridge. The shadow of the bridges reflected in the surface of the blue water, and I was really enjoying drawing.
When I explained this picture in the class, I was suddenly seized with a strong emotion. I heard my voice was trembling with tears, but I wanted to share my feeling with my classmates. So I spoke: I thought I did not belong to my original family. I had not even told my parents I was studying Adlerian Psychology. Recently a book I translated (Alfred Adler: As We remember Him) was published, so I sent a copy of the book to my parents. To my surprise, my mother sent me an email in which she said she liked this book very much and had finished reading it in a night. She praised my translation. My father said he was deeply impressed by Adler's way of treating children.
My friends in the class listened to me silently. Hala warmly said "You have already started...." I found that I have belonged to my family as I belong to this class.

This was my story of ICASSI. When I returned to Japan, the rainy season was over and the hottest season had already begun. It was only two weeks' trip but I felt I was totally transformed and was reborn. I want to say a lot of thanks to all my classmates and Hala!

My First ICASSI 2007 In the Netherlands

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2007.jpgThis is an abridged translation of an essay I wrote for "Adlerian," the Journal of Individual Psychology in Japan. As I want to share this to my dear teacher, Hala Buck, I translate my personal experience in the Art Class. I took the "Cross-cultural Understanding through Art Therapy" course during the first week of my first ICASSI. I was interested in art therapy and I love to see pictures though I had never had a painting brush since high-school.

Hala was a Lebanese art-therapist of short hair with sparkling black eyes. My classmates were six, whose nationalities were German, American, Canadian, and Dutch. The course went on basically like this: Hala gave us a certain theme and we drew or created our picture. She provided us with much color paper, water color, color pencils, crayons, paste, and other materials. After we finished our work, we put our pictures on the wall so that we could see others', and we shared our feelings and thoughts. For example, Hala asked us to draw pictures on our "Name" on the first day. In the sharing, I was surprised that every painting expressed the individual's personality clearly. The pictures introduced us perfectly.
According to Hala, everyone puts on an eyeglass of his/her own culture. The lens of the glass is tinted by personal logic, family logic, working place logic, and common logic. These glasses are usually very thick and make people lopsided, so it is very important to know the fact we are wearing the glasses. Moreover, we need a bridge to bind the right lens and the left lens in order to communicate. I began to understand the term "culture" in "cross-culture" included all personalities of individuals.

One day, we were told to draw pictures of our early memories connecting to our present problems. My present problem at that time was the stress in my first dormitory life in ICASSI. As there were only two Japanese, people said hello to us in every occasion. They were eager to know Japan and asked about the present situation in psychotherapy, society, economy, politics, and many things. The problem was that I could not answer those questions as correctly as they expected. I found that I did not know about Japan, or at least, I did not have enough vocabulary to explain my country to people. I felt inferior.

2007,2.jpgI drew a picture I was playing with a swing in the kindergarten playground. Hala asked me where I zoomed my attention. It was me on the swing. She asked me about my feelings. I felt uneasy because the kindergarten nurse asked me if I was OK. I instantly became uneasy though I had been perfectly happy on the swing until she came. Thanks to Hala's questions, I found out that I easily became uneasy according to the others' words. "You sway like the swinging rope" Hala winked.

On another day, she told us to review all of our own pictures, choose one of them, and re-draw it. I decided to re-draw a picture I drew on the first day. It was the "My Name" picture. I re-drew it bigger and stronger. I collaged a rabbit photo because I felt I was like a timid rabbit always afraid of others. However, I knew rabbits could run and jump, and so could I. I began to feel I was accepted as I was in this class. One of the classmates said that my name in the first picture seemed to be surrounded by a circle, shut in. But in the second picture, there was no such a circle. "You are breaking the eggshell and coming out!" Hala said. (to be continued...)

Eclipse Now

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eclipse.jpgWe could watch a total solar eclipse this morning. They say it has been 25 years since the latest total eclipse generated in Japan. But as I do not remember it, it is my first total eclipse.
The weather was not fine, but I could see the moon was gradually overshadowing the sun. Rather, it was more dramatic because the thin clouds was trimming around the sun.

eclipse2.jpgI had thought it would become as dark as night, but in fact it was just like a cloudy day. As the eclipse advanced, the wind blew and the air became cold. I guess people of the past must have had fears to such a phenomenon. At 7:30 am, the eclipse advanced to the maximum, but unfortunately, thick clouds came to hide the sun. I took some pictures and was satisfied to see this astronomical drama.

It is written on the Men-Tsee-Khan Rigpa Diary: "During a solar eclipse the effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied by 10,000. Therefore practice is emphasized." I thought about practicing my daily Buddhism service during the eclipse, but I had totally forgotten it! If I chanted Vajrasattva mantras one time, the merit would be multiplied as 10.000 chants.... But perhaps the demerit of this cunningness will be multiplied by 10,000. Then, I guess it was good to forget it.

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Learning in Nagoya

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Today I went to Nagoya for learning Tibetan Buddhism. I am taking two classes, A Guide to Tibetan Buddhism and The Meditation Method of Vajrasattva Mantra. Both are provided by a Japanese lecturer who has the very wide knowledge in Tibetan Buddhism, so the lectures are very exciting. It takes much time and money to learn in Nagoya, because I live in Osaka, but I think a further things are provided.
As for the problem, the room is always cold. It was held on the ground floor of a Shingon-sect temple. I wonder why the room can be so cold! When I came last in February, it was a very cold and snowing day, and the room was colder than outside. It was just like in a freezer, not in a refrigerator. All of us including male did not take off jackets or coats. Nevertheless, we shook with cold for four hours. I will never forget that torture....
And this is May. It was a beautiful sunny day today. However, against my expectation, it was still cold in the temple. I guess it might be a magic room which keeps the minimum temperature all day long.

The True Sage

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I read a beautiful phrase so I want to share ... just share. No explanation is needed:

 His no-anger is not absence of the energy of anger;
 his no-anger is because of awareness.
 This man can love, and love tremendously.
 This man can become a great compassion.
 The whole world can be filled by one man's compassion.
 The world is not big enough; 
 a single man's compassion, if it explodes, 
 can fill the whole universe.
 When a Buddha moves on the earth, 
 when a Jesus moves on the earth -- 
 that's how it has happened.
 A single man's energy -- 
 purified, absolutely purified, with no identification -- 
 becomes a soothing shower on the whole of existence.
     (from THE TRUE SAGE by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)

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To the Baltic Countries Again

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I decided to go to ICASSI (The International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes) this summer. It will be my third ICASSI: The first was 2007 in the Netherlands, and the second was 2010 in Romania. This year it will be held at Druskininkai, Lithuania. I visited Lithuania in 2008 for the International Congress of Individual Psychology and stayed three days in Vilnius. The old town of Vilnius was very beautiful with a lot of churches, but I guess it is difficult to visit Vilnius this time because Drukskininkai is very far. Instead, on the way to ICASSI, I am planning a short visit to Riga, the capital of Latvia, to the most prosperous and beautiful city beside the Baltic Sea. Jolanta once showed me a beautiful book of the Jugendstil buildings in Riga, which was very attractive to me. Who would imagine that I could go to the Baltic countries twice in a life ! Those countries were occupied by the Soviet Union when I learned the nations in the elementary school. They became independent during these 22,3 years. Then, who can deny that Tibet will be released from the Chinese occupation in the near future? I really hope His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to Tibet while I am living.

A Fortuneteller and Turkish Tea

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cyukasyokudo.jpgI had lunch with my friends yesterday. They are the newly wed couple who live very near my house. The wife is one of the members of my self-help group of Adlerian Psychology but we did not know where we lived. It is funny we met using subways and trains so far.
She took me to a Chinese restaurant her friend is running. We ate vegetarian lunch and the taro soup was extremely good. The husband was somewhat tensed because we met for the first time. After lunch, she invited me to her house. I hesitated, but after all I went with them. They live on the fifth floor and their place had an attic (which is my dream!). They showed me many pictures they took in Turkey.
In their house, the husband became very relaxed and talked much. He was a professional fortuneteller ! This was the first time I spoke friendly with a person of this occupation. We discussed the difference between the counselor and the fortuneteller. He said a fortuneteller should tell the client an answer and decide. And I said a counselor could only help the client to decide. Counselor should not decide the client's life. You see, talking with a professional fortuneteller was very exciting.
turkishteapot.jpgWhile we were debating, my friend served us Turkish tea. They had the two storied Turkish kettles and beautiful Turkish glasses.

turkishte.jpgWe all enjoyed the tea and the conver-sation very much, but I wondered if they had any schedule this evening. So I bid them good-bye at four o'clock. They were nice people, and I think I will invite them next time.

Making Ginger-Syrup

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ginger1.jpgMy father gave me a bundle of fresh ginger he grew last autumn. I used some and gave friends some, but there still remains a lot. The other day I found a recipe for ginger-syrup. As it is off today, I decided to try.
First, I washed the ginger with a toothbrush carefully. The ginger wrapped in mud was as fresh as just after the harvesting. The weight was precisely 300g. Then I sliced it thinly, put the slices into a bowl. I measured the same amount of sugar, added it to the slices and mixed them well by hand. Then leave them alone for more than 30 minutes. A large quantity of juice came from the sliced ginger. Then put the ginger into an enamel pan together with the juice and sugar. Do not add any water. Stew it slowly, skimming the scum. Put out the fire after 30 minutes and add some squeezed lemon juice. Leave until it cool down, filter it, and put it in a sterilized bottle.
ginger2.jpgThere! This is my first handmade ginger-syrup! I can enjoy it with tea. I can also make ginger-ale with some cider.
They say you can use the remaining ginger for sugar preserves. Or you can cook it with soy sauce, and kelp or sesame. Sweets made from ginger are very attractive to me. So I save it in the freezer now, and will try another recipe next time.

A News

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I got a postcard this evening. It says that one of the old acquaintances of mine died on December 11.
I first met her nearly 20 years ago. In those days I was involved in a certain group, and we both stayed for a workshop. She was perhaps seven or eight years older than me. She was beautiful, elegant, and quiet. She was always calm. She had a certain dignity and everybody liked and respected her. She was running a boutique with her husband in Kochi. I remember that she and I alone had breakfast on the same table. Though we did not have much time, she was eating the complete, Japanese style of dishes without changing her pace. Others went away hastily, but I did not want to leave her. She was putting on very beautiful arm bands made of pale pink chiffon cloth. I had never seen such elegant arm bands then. So her fashion sense became one of my models.

Afterward, her family and I exchanged New Year's greeting cards every year. They always sent us postcards of their family. At first, the family members were five; the couple and three kids. It grew bigger gradually when the children got married one by one. Then their grandchildren joined in. Such warm and friendly pictures of a family made me happy, while mine has been changing a lot.
Last year, seeing the picture of the year, I felt she looked tired. I thought she had gotten old. Of course, as I got old, even she could get old. I did not know she was ill.
On the postcard I received today, she was sitting at the center of her family: her children, children's spouses, grandchildren and her husband. They are all smiling happily. She is holding a bouquet and smiling, though it is apparent that she is suffering from a fatal illness. Her husband writes: "She chose this picture for the greeting card. It was taken on October 30. She discharged on 27 and could attend our grandson's birthday party. We started from two. It has become 13. Now she has gone, and our second daughter is expecting. It will be her reincarnated. We will keep what she created and protected with love and care."
I couldn't help crying.

The Secret Statue

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Last Sunday I went to the Shitennoji temple, which is said to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan, built in 593. One of my young Adlerian friends will take a qualifying examination in a week, so I wanted to get a lucky charm for him.
Shitennoji was erected by Shotoku-Taishi (Prince Shotoku), who is known to be the cleverest noble man in Japan. There are about six stations by bus from my house to the Shitennoji temple. I would have the Tibetan Buddhism lessons from 11 o'clock that day, and I decided to go to the temple in the morning.

shotokutaishi.jpgI took the bus at 9:25 and got off near the west gate of the temple. I had once visited this temple, but I completely forgot the map of the yard. The temple was vast! I lost my way to find the office where I could buy the lucky charm. Before I found the office, I happened to find a notice which said they were showing us a treasured Buddhist statue of Shotoku-Taishi. The statue is forbidden to the public eyes except January 22, 10 am - 3 pm. Today! How lucky I was! I felt I should see the statue.
shitennoji-map.jpgI wandered the vast yard and managed to arrive at the Taishi-Okuden (Inmost Hall). It was 10 o'clock, then, a group of Buddhist monks was reciting the sutras and the forbidden doors were open. It was the statue of Prince Shotoku when he was 49 years old. The color on the wooden statue was vivid and impressive. Prince Shotoku was known for his profound faith in Buddhism when it was minor religion in Japan. Today I can learn Buddhism in Japan owing to Prince's virtue. Worshiping in front of the statue, I meditated on this rare chance.
After saying good-bye to the secret statue, I went to Potala College on foot for the lessons. It took near 30 minutes, but I walked happily. The lessons were extremely impressive that day! I am really happy. It is because perhaps I am on the right track of the spiritual path ... on the path of Buddhism.

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