Words of Hope from Sendai, Japan: After the Earthquake

When images of destruction replace a thousand words, we become hungry for words. I awoke this morning with this thought and realized I had become starved for words of hope from the earthquake region in Japan. However, an American survivor in Sendai — Anne Thomas — has recently been corresponding to the blog of Ode Magazine (see post here). I have included excerpts of her letter further below.

Not all of Sendai was destroyed, as Anne points out. Higher elevations of this coastal area of over a million people have begun clean-up and restoration of services.

I am struck by a renewed sense of community — common-unity. It is indicative of the Japanese people and their character. They proclaim: Gambarimashou! (We must keep up our fighting spirit).

Anne reports: Buses have resumed on some routes. Some food shops are open for a few hours a day. I noticed a shop open with flowers for graves, for shrines and temples so that the souls of the long ago and recently deceased may have a touch of earthly beauty in heaven.

In another shelter junior high school students got paper and paints and made a large bright, energetic sign that said, “To have life is profound joy.” It was hung high overhead so everyone could see it and be encouraged by the words.

Most moving to me is Anne’s description of feeling part of a larger event happening on Earth — “an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step . . . a wave of birthing.” It is my belief that we are coming to a new shore of consciousness — a yet unnamed world view in stark contrast to the old Cartesian model. I want to share more about this in other posts, but for now, I am relieved to receive just a few precious words of hope from the core of disaster.

Anne Thomas in Sendai, Japan

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

It’s utterly amazingly that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.”

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains around Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Wondering how you can help? Aid relief efforts by clicking here to donate to the Japanese Red Cross, or text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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About C. Forrest McDowell, PhD

I am blessed to be a co-steward for over 30 years of the beautiful 22-acre Cortesia Sanctuary outside Eugene, Oregon, with my partner, Tricia Clark-McDowell. My lifelong interests in wellness care, psychology, nature, music composition & performance, writing, and meditation fuel my celebration for life. My form of service is founded upon the elemental practice of kindness and reverence for life. Of course, to understand the value of deep respect for life, we also have to accept irreverence as part of human nature and to know that it can be very disruptive and destructive to peace, safety, beauty, joy and love.
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