川 – Kawa

I was once a colourful little fish in a river.
I am now a drop in the ocean
where the fish and the river flow.

Kenza.

川 – kawa means “river” or “flow” in Japanese. By flow, it is meant the one from the clouds to the river to the sea. It is often used as a model for life whereby one tries to live in harmony with circunstances (people, work, thoughts, words, deeds, etc.).

Little pieces of paper

Little pieces of paper are sprinkled throughout my days.

I tend to note instructions as I have the hardest time remembering them, let alone understanding them. So I write them down on little pieces of paper: a childlike drawn map of the way to an appointment, the exact address, the items I need to get at the market, the recipe for a dish, the instructions for the rice cooker, and so on…

Mind you, I have been making crêpes for decades and yet, every time I make the dough, I have to check my little recipe notebook and keep it open until I am done.

Maybe it is why I prefer to walk quietly in a forest with no particular purpose, rather than go to an appointment; or cook a dish that relies on an acute sense of smell and a love of colours, rather than measurements.

Everyday I use tricks to pretend I can follow instructions, little pieces of paper tucked inside my pocket.

But life… it comes without instructions and I have no pieces of paper to help me. There is no “mode d’emploi.”

So I also use tricks to pretend I am here, that I understand what others tell me, that I relate to them even if I am often baffled by the hollowness of it all. Accompany me one day to pick-up my son from school, and drop on a parents’ conversation, you may then understand. So I just smile, say a few insipid words and check the door to see if my son is coming out. The same applies to most situations.

Some may think it is sad to be so exiled from the world, to fail to be engaged in social niceties. I admit it has its downside.

And yet most of the time, I find that to be absent from the world is a blessing. Silence and solitude are most comforting when you consider the amount of absurdities that surrounds us on a daily basis. My absence takes away nothing from the world; and it enables me to see the details that often go unoticed and, at times, have some of the most enlightened exchanges with perfect strangers or a dandelion. You know what I mean if you have read my poetry.

So I will remain as I am, taking life one day at a time. I will be the one strolling along museum corridors aware of the discreet light emanating from a painting, or walking down the street aware of the sparrows watching me from a balcony, and also the one standing in line at the supermarket aware that the lady in front of me cried all night.

I will remain quiet and will take in the beautiful and the tragic. Being absent allows it to happen. And then I might write about it on little pieces of paper and come here to share them with you.

Kenza.

Silent for one day

Now that parts of the world are getting immersed in their self-created whirlwind of consumerism and loud celebrations, silence may be welcome. It will not make the other parts of the world any richer or happier or less violent, but it may just may, make you aware of where you stand and bring some serenity along with it.

For one day, just for one day, stay in silence. Silence your gestures and your words and your thoughts. For one day simply remain.

Your body will dance softly as though clouds were beneath your feet. You will smell the aromas that words always cover, and see the colours that thoughts hinder. On that day, anything you cook will taste like a smile, and the water drops on your skin will turn into pearls.

Silence.

You will finally breathe at the pace of your own heart. You will be still for one day and the universe will whirl around you. From that immense emptiness, things that were entangled in your heart and mind will open up, and you will see bright ideas settling on your canvas like a thousand stars.

You will understand then, that there is no need for prayers, that there is no need for rituals. Silence —and anger will dissipate into forgiveness, fears and wants will follow, and only kindness will remain.

And when you gently go back into the world, an irrepressible soft smile will be drawn on your lips. That is serenity. Cherish it.

Kenza.

Slowing down

Yes. Slowing down. Going at a lower pace.

Looking, really looking around us.

And feeling also. Feeling the wind and immensity of the sky upon opening a window. Feeling the emotions, like a dress we smooth discreetly as we stand up.

Walking without running.

Taking in the taste and texture and colors of each dish when eating, and doing the same when cooking.

Listening to the other person, speaking with precision, pondering each word and adding comas.

Slowling down.

It is not to stop time; rather, it is to live it fully.

Kenza.

A bowl of rice

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A bowl of rice.

Simplicity, austerity.

Each gesture from washing the rice to serving it with a bamboo spoon done with utmost care and full attention.

Giving thanks before eating, then with a straight back, savoring it in full presence.

So much beauty in the ordinary.

A simple bowl of rice you say, and yet, one of the many doors towards serenity.

Kenza.


Photo – in the kitchen, Kenza.