Hey y'all. I have not posted a blog in roughly 13 weeks! My last one was about feeling my first belly kicks from the baby down below. So we have traveled quite a bit together this baby and I ever since the last post. Bout time for a new one. And I am a bit overwhelmed and Mercury Retrograde is either looming, or already here. I refuse to google it and worry about it by finding the exact date of start and finish. It would freak me and my labor plans and thoughts about Japan out. So, I am acknowledging it's presence and moving slowly along. Point being, I am not mapping out a super planned out blog. I am just practicing a brain drain here for those who care to read and connect with moi. And for you whoever you are, I love you.
I am so excited about a web site of mine that should be done about May-ish. My "lifestyle web site." It will harbor all of my passion, love, tips, networks, people I admire, things for sale, art, detailed vital nutrition info, possibility and growth all in one place. That will be found here: http://taohappiness.com/ like I said, in about 2 months.
I went to Tai Pei, Taiwan! I got a clear vision in my mind's eye, of great Buddhas and mountainous deities and me with them and marveling at them, when my husband came home from work in Augusta, Georgia one 2009 day and announced "we are moving to Japan." Little did I know, the Japan I experience has little to none of this deity action!!! Sure, I am betting mainland has these statues and great stone temples like those I learned about in Far Eastern Asian Art History class in college. But, Okinawa, not so much. There is actually a huge void of spirituality here. They pray to their ancestors and the family tombs are everywhere and quite inspirational. Some of them look like this:
(these are called Turtleback tombs)
But I cannot connect with, enjoy, or at all feel a part of this spirituality. I cannot really connect to the spirituality I saw in Taiwan either, but at least it was a site to behold to be standing at the foot of a mountain and witness a shrine the size of Ohio. Or be able to see how certain sects meditate and pray with incense.
I have recently learned and fully understood the argument that Buddhism is NOT a religion. It is a philosophy alone. I think many people like to call it their religion when they don't seem to want to become a part of any particular group, church or label and they connect with the majority of ideas of Buddhism. And that's great. It seems to be a heated debate. Stated well here on this link, even though I don't fully agree with everything this author wrote (her opinion highly guiding the article, which I think should be left out), it still is a good example of the discussion at hand: http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/philosophy.htm
There seems to be a rich religious following of Buddhism in the newest part of Asia I have started to explore and it was really refreshing to see. I feel a bit sorry for the Okinawans sometimes when they seem so empty of faith of any kind. There are Buddhist temples here and churches but not as much as anywhere else I have ever been. But I am also quite sure I have not fully understood the Okinawans yet and hope to by the time my three years is up here...which is coming rather soon! Either way, I prayed and prayed hard at the welcoming shrines we visited where they offered to teach us how to make a "wish" to the shrines. And each prayer was for my health, the health of my growing baby in the belly and for the health and success of my entire family. Oddly, this is starting to sound quite like a far Eastern auspicious wish. I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning......
Another reason for the lack of blog was the art show!!! I was asked to participate in a crafty Bazaar for the USO. Japanese and American vendors sat side by side all selling their wares, art, pottery, instruments, furniture, jewelery and on and on. It exhausted me, even though I had great help setting up and sat on my butt in a chair the entire weekend. It exhausted me. I do not regret participating in it. But I did learn that this sort of networking is not really for me. And lessons are always good to learn. Needless to say, my large inventory of matted prints for sale are still very much for sale if anyone is interested in some great art prints already matted to frame and hang in your home, Yoga space or office. Another great reason for my web site launch. No, I did not sell much. but the people I met brightened my life. And that was invaluable.
More on art. I am now working as a contract, freelance illustrator! Did you hear that Dad, who so kindly paid for my college, and favorite Illustration teacher Traci Haymans, who has, since my graduation, sadly passed away?? Did you hear or read what I just wrote???!!! I recently found this in memory of Traci, my favorite teacher of all time, really: http://www.eduinreview.com/scholarships/traci-haymans-memorial-scholarship-175512/ (she was my absolute favorite art teacher and died way too young)
Yea, so I am working, working and so grateful for it. I never, ever, ever thought I would be a military wife. Ever. Just so you know for effect how much I cannot believe it. And I never, ever thought I would be a professional illustrator either. But the Universe works in mysterious ways. God is good. And what we do, our talents, our desires, they come out. No matter how hard we try to deny them. And if we try hard to deny them, we might succeed by starving ourselves to an early walking grave of a life. We may succeed. But what are people going to talk about when we are gone? What we ever did that was strong, or a gift. So it comes out again. Eventually. So don't struggle, I am saying. Your path is laid out. Your gifts, given to you at birth. They are there. They will feed you. You just have to believe, weather you understand what they are or not, that they are there and each of us has a purpose.
I am eager to teach my new daughter about all of this! All of my travels, things I have learned about money and gifts, working with people and for yourself. On and on. And all of this I have learned and gelled together since she has been growing in my belly. So I cannot help but believe she is an angel coming to meet me and teach me, her Daddy and big sister. I think she will have something to show us all. She will be a pearl of wisdom and beauty. And I feel so grateful for everything around this pregnancy, my lucky travels, my healthy family and for the work that I find myself engrossed in these days.
Keep the faith.