The words of others

Often during conversations, the words of others reach me like shattered pieces of a porcelain vase. After painstakingly fitting some of those pieces together, I realize their hollowness.

And yet, in rare occasions, I hear ideas of immense clarity. They tend to be expressed with simple words, all genuine and filled with kindness. I then do my best to memorize and write them down.

After more than fifty years, they barely fit on the back of a Paris métro ticket.

Kenza.


Inspiration: poetry and silence.

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.

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.

Kisetsu – 季節

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Kisetsu (季節) is an important concept in Japanese culture. It literally means “a certain time of the year” or more commonly “season.”

In Japan, seasons are an integral part of life and the change of seasons is reflected in the arts, poetry and everyday activities.

At home, the change of season is traditionally respected by replacing items of decoration. In old times and even today, it is common to change the main hanging scroll in the common area to reflect the season. The scroll, known as kakejiku (掛軸), may have cherry or plum blossoms in Spring, and persimmons or fall foliage in Autumn.

Changing the scroll brings about harmony with nature and highlights the impermanence of things, both key concepts in Shinto and Buddhist thoughts.

“All beyond recall
Cherry blossoms have scattered,
So that my garden,
Once the home of joyful spring,
Looks now like an empty house.”

Ki no Tsurayuki, Japanese poet, Xth. C.

The same can be done in our homes by changing an item of decoration such as a painting or objects on tables, putting away some carpets in the warmer months while spreading earth colored pashminas on the sofa in winter.

The idea is to harmonize the home with nature, all the while eliminating clutter and giving a sense of freshness and renewal several times a year. One benefit is that the items that are set aside will be all the more appreciated once back in display. There is no need to have all our objects out all the time.

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At home, as the cold days are approaching, I have replaced some items on the walls. To be frank, I have very few and have placed a red colored painting more prominently, while taking away two simple Chinese fans. Two Persian wool carpets that were kept away, are now fully opened. Of course, the pashminas are handier. The ginger plant on the balcony is now inside the kitchen looking at the sun through the window, just like our cat Bluu.

This is a simple idea that will not only create harmony within a home but also with nature even if one lives in an urban environment.

Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts and any similar ideas. I would love to hear from you!

Kenza.

Illustrations:
“Maple viewing at Kai’anji Temple” by Shibuya Zeshin (Japan, 1807-1891), hanging scroll (ink and color on silk) – via The Met, NY.
“La vaca roja” by Juan Ezcurdia (Mexico, 2017).