I awoke this morning to the realisation that 2 years have passed since that tragic day in Japan when the earthquake and tsunami destroyed so many lives and homes. My first thought was of my lovely friend, Anne Thomas, a long term resident of Sendai.
When I opened my emails, sure enough there was a letter from Anne marking the anniversary of ‘this profoundly significant date’. She writes beautifully and with incredible insight into the country, which she has made her home for the past 20+ years.
I would like to share her letter here and also point you to the links at the bottom to Anne’s book. Proceeds from book sales go to survivors of The Great East Japan / Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Donations are still very much needed in the region. Thank you!
Dear Family and Friends,
March 11, 2013. It is a time of pause as the world cycles round once again to this profoundly significant date. Last year marked the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. I had spent an entire twelve months fully involved and committed to this area because of the disaster and devastation that had instantaneously transformed all of our lives. My connection and the process of recovery were so intense that I could only compare it to the umbilical cord connecting a mother to the precious child in her womb. Maybe because my connection was so strong, last year I decided to deliberately leave Sendai for a few weeks. I set out on March 11. It was a symbolic choice, pushing me forward and inviting me to engage in other parts of the world.
Yet, for the second anniversary of that time so embedded in our hearts and psyches, I decided to stay in Sendai and honor what happened and what has been evolving since then. Downtown the night before, March 10, people were selling candles. They were encouraging all of us to join a moment of silence and prayer. The flickering lights were reminders of the souls now existing on the Other Side.
Even though I work for and with others, I know that it is my nature to take the road less traveled. So today, March 11, I decided not to join a group, but rather to spend time quietly alone in a temple area I deeply love. When Sendai was build over 400 years ago, it had a ring of temples and shrines surrounding the city center. That allowed this beautiful city to be within the circumference of spiritual energy and benevolent protection. Even now many of those temples and shrines still grace the area where I live. And that is where I headed.
More by luck than good management, I was there at the exact time the earthquake had struck two years before, 2:46pm. Just at that moment, I head the roll of a temple drum, and I knew memorial services were beginning. The drum sound reverberated over the hills and hundreds of graves; and then enormous gongs began their message of condolences and eternal respect. First from one temple, then from another, and yet another. Unlike the joyous clang and clumsiness of church bells, Japanese gongs emerge from deep within the very fiber of Being. It is as if the great OM of the Cosmic is rising up out of the depths of the Void, and sending its profound message out into the world.
I stood there among the graves with their new and wilted flowers, their tiny Buddha statues blessing the deceased.
I listened with every fiber of my being and felt the profound wonder of life within the folds of eternity. I could only pray for the souls of the departed and for those of us left behind. We face the challenges, ongoing, of bringing life and balance back into a world that is outwardly finding adjustment, but inwardly still struggling for meaning and hope once again.
Love, Light, and Life,
Link here to Anne’s blog and her book ‘Letters from the Ground to the Heart’ and please share this information to continue helping those in need in Japan.