Charlie Chaplin: This Is Life

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Charlie Chaplin, age 26… He read the poem below at age 70

 

As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.

As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect.

As I began to love myself
I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything
that surrounded me
was inviting me to grow.
Today I call this Maturity.

As I began to love myself
I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call this Self-Confidence.

As I began to love myself
I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects
for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness,
things I love to do and that make my heart cheer,
and I do them in my own way
and in my own rhythm.
Today I call this Simplicity.

As I began to love myself
I freed myself of anything
that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations,
and everything that drew me down
and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is Love of Oneself.

As I began to love myself
I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since
I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is Modesty.

As I began to love myself
I refused to go on living in the past
and worrying about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment,
where everything is happening.
Today I live each day,
day by day,
and I call it Fulfillment.

As I began to love myself
I recognized
that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart,
my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection Wisdom of the Heart.

We no longer need to fear arguments,
confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide,
and out of their crashing, new worlds are born.
Today I know: This is Life!

Spring In Japan, Part 2

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Paige, Olivia and Natalie on the Shinkansen bound for Himi, on Toyama Bay, just outside of Takaoka.
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Yummy sweet potato ice cream that is only available on Shinkansen
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Mind blown seeing these trees growing out on a small island in the ocean!

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I waste no time getting comfortable and heading to the onsen for rest and relaxation!
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One of the gardens at the hotel…

The next morning we packed up and made our way to a beautiful, modern ryokan in Komatsu City called Sarai. It was here where we would stay for two nights.
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In Japan, you can wear your yukata (cotton robe) anywhere!

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We had many parties that included some very good sake!
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Another dinner party- here is our teacher, Yoshida Shihan
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A wonderful local artist came to celebrate with us and made everyone a personal artwork to take home!

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Hidekazu Mori-san making his art

Our aikido training and Honkoji practice was intense for the remaining days. Here, we had visitors from all over the world join our practice. One training session was in this Buddhist Temple.

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It was a crowded space. We took turns with our practice…
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Aikido friends
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For the afternoon training, we moved to another Budokan…
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These training spaces can be found all over Japan. They are massive! We had a great time exploring and training and seeing our big aikido family.

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Next stop was an early morning train ride out of Komatsu City at 5:15 am (the first train of the day out of Komatsu) to head back to Tokyo to go to Tokyo Disney for the day!

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Our first trip to Tokyo Disney!

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Fun!

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Olivia
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The enchanted castle- we arrived to see the Easter decorations!

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Only in Japan will you find curry popcorn!

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Until next time Japan! Sayonara 🙂

Spring In Japan, Part 1

We arrived in Japan for cherry blossom season. Japan loves flowers and takes great pride in showing them off! After our long flight over, we made our way to Takadanobaba station in Shinjuku where we rented a lovely three story house for the eight of us for two nights. From the station it was a good 10 minute walk. We passed streets full of restaurants and shops along the way. After getting situated at the house, we decided on a restaurant for dinner that had many choices and ice cold beer. After a long travel day we went to sleep and prepared for the coming days of adventure and tired feet. IMG_0027

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The next morning we were up early to get to our first aikido training day of the trip. Training at the Aikido Headquarters, Hombu dojo is not to be missed. We did the first class that starts at 6:30 am with Doshu. For more on the history of Aikido, visit here.
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Our first full day of sight seeing included Kitonomaru Park and Chidorigafuchi Park. This area has so much to do! We took many pictures under the blooming cherry blossom trees and found peaceful moments I will remember my whole life. We stopped for ice cream and decided on bento lunches from 7-11. Japanese 7-11 are amazing convenience stores. We bought plum wine and enjoyed our lunches in a quiet park like setting.

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Asakusa Temple was a quick train ride. There were many tourists, but nevertheless, I can see why… it was an amazing place! Anywhere in Japan during cherry blossom season is expected to be crowded. We discovered, much to my surprise, a shop called Mokuhankan. David Bull is a woodblock artist. I have been following his work for quite some time. When we walked in, David was in the middle of a class to aspiring students in the art of woodblock. His YouTube channel can be found here.

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We headed out to Shibuya, where we found a British pub for dinner, had some beers, and stopped off at the Disney store to buy our tickets for Tokyo Disney. After getting everything packed up, we caught up with the rest of the group to catch the train to Himi, on the coast. Stay tuned for Part 2…
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Time For Change

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Albert Einsteins handwritten advice, given as a tip to a bellboy back in 1922, recently sold at auction for $1.56 million dollars. The humble note, translated from German reads,

“A calm mind and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Albert Einstein’s “theory of happiness,” is a prescription to find joy in the simplicity of our lives. It asks us to pursue practices that bring us peace and to be wary of those practices that cause us great distress and perpetual tension.

We’ve been sold on the idea that happiness is in direct proportion to how much money we make, that our worth is in our status. Our culture’s “busyness” and “constant restlessness” is driving us farther away from true happiness. Just look at the basic needs we need to live modestly- a roof over our heads, food in our belly, people to share it with.

What if we decided to put more emphasis on the small things that make more of impact on our well-being? What if we showed more appreciation towards what we already have? What would happen if we practiced gratitude in every little thing we did? Not only do I think we would have a calmer mind and gain more freedom, but we’d also be happier people living in more harmony with nature.

I think it’s a worthy step in the right direction, do you?

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Summer Road Trip Part 2: Truckee, CA

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Donner Lake Summit

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We rented a house on Donner lake. So relaxing!

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Donner Monument

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Nature needs our protecting

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Philip and I made this on one of our hikes around Donner lake

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Beautiful morning on the lake

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Fun place! Jax has a lot of history

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Truckee river

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kayaker braving the strong river

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We did a 10 mile bike ride down the Truckee. It is the heart of this beautiful land

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Glenshire community

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A sweet little pup we met

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Legacy Trail

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Just a dude and his dog paddle boarding Donner lake

 

After our Yosemite visit we made the journey to beautiful Truckee. I found this great house on Donner Lake where we would spend the next few days enjoying all the Truckee has to offer.

Arriving in the early afternoon, we were excited to unpack the car and get back out into nature. Donner Lake is a gem. It was our first time staying in Truckee so exploring someplace new was exciting. We found a little market where we stocked up on groceries for the trip. We really just wanted to hunker down and not go out to eat a lot. We BBQ’d most evenings, packed sandwiches for our day trips and always had plenty of snacks.

We visited the Donner Memorial Monument and museum, watched a short movie about the Donner Party and the many challenges they had along the way. What a life they were seeking. Sadly, many of the group died trying to reach their destination.

We did a few hikes, rented bikes one day and biked 10 miles along the Truckee river. We had really wanted to do the rafting trip we did years ago but with all the snow and ice melt, the current was too strong and was not an option for us at the time so we’ll just have to go back and do it another time.
Our time in Truckee was wonderful! I love our family vacations 🙂