Everything just as it should be

1. Workshop Announcement

Seishindo Embodied Presence Workshop
“Calm and Confident in times of stress”
with Charlie Badenhop and Marleen Adriaensen
Belgium, 20-21 March 2009

Stress is everywhere these days. You can feel it, hear it, and see it. In such uncertain times, what will your choice of action be? Wait around until “the economy” gets better? Or will you consider taking action for yourself, and explore ways to further develop your calm and confidence, your creativity and professional skills?

Stress may be one of the greatest challenges of our time, but if you coach or lead others, stress is also one of the greatest opportunities you’ll ever be offered. You have the chance to make a real difference in your clients’ lives.

2. Everything just as it should be

There are an endless number of short narrow streets in Tokyo that create a fascinating patchwork quilt of sorts. Whenever I go rollerblading I love exploring such unknown territory.

Recently I found myself in an interesting warren of backstreets. In a neighborhood that seemed to have fallen asleep a number of years ago, I came upon a small nursery selling bonsai. The sign out front proclaimed, “Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!”

“Wow,” I thought, “even in Japan, there’s no way bonsai are that much in demand!”

As I rolled to a stop I saw an elderly man in the back of the yard who appeared to be sleeping sitting up. To my surprise though, the minute he sensed my presence he opened his eyes looking wide awake and alert.

“Good day.” I called out. “Mind if I come in and have a look?”

“Please do.” he said. “Would you like a cup of tea as well?”

Sipping on my tea, I asked seventy-eight year old Morikawa-san how he happened to have a nursery in such an out of the way location.

“By the time I was 35 year old” he said, “I had three children and had taken over my father’s cut flower and bonsai shop in a fashionable part of Tokyo.”

“I had a lot of money coming in, a lot of money going out, and very little free time to do anything except work, Besides missing the time I couldn’t spend with my family, I had an itch to study Zen that left me feeling very restless.”

“At the age of 40, I realized if I sold my shop and bought the property you’re sitting in now, I’d greatly reduce my expenses. By needing less, I wanted less. By simplifying my life I provided for my family while also providing myself with the time to pursue my dream.”

“All this sounds wonderful” I said, “But how does your story lead to the sign saying you’re open for business 24/7?”

“Ah,” he said, “the sign is meant as a joke.”

“My business is largely run on trust and appreciation, and there’s no need for me to be present in order for business to be conducted.”

“I know most of my clients, and they appreciate the style of my work. When I begin a new piece I usually have a particular client in mind. I call my client when I’m done, and suggest he stop by and have a look. I then take off visiting temples and looking for interesting stock in countryside nurseries.”

“Fascinating” I said, “But don’t you ever worry about theft?”

“People don’t steal bonsai,” he said with a chuckle. “Even in Japan, a thief wouldn’t see the value in it. Besides, people can’t imagine stealing something that seems to be there for the taking.”

“We’re sitting here amongst thousands of dollars worth of my work. I believe the best way to protect it is by not keeping it locked up.”

“Having nothing to protect, I have no worry of losing anything, and everything is just as it should be.”

“If you simplify your life you’ll have the time to come sit zazen with me. I’m sure we’ll soon become good friends.”

The man’s eyes were soft and gentle and his smile so inviting.

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