muri shinai de

I think this is the last of my unfinished writings…

It’s been two months since I’ve come back from Japan.  I had expected to feel settled, to have found my groove…but I find that something is still missing, that I don’t feel whole, or at one with myself.  Lately, I find that I am disappointed in myself – for not being in a place where I can give others what I feel they expect of me.  Of course, it’s not really what others expect from me, but what I expect myself to give others.

In our women’s spirituality circle that I have recently begun attending, Mom told us the story of Gyhldeptis and the theme for our discussion was synergy and wholeness.  While I had not forgotten that Mom would be leading the discussion, I had kind of pushed what Gyhldeptis was all about to the back of my mind.  So it was still kind of fitting and coincidental that I had written something about wholeness, or the lack thereof, the night before.

I had likened how I felt about myself with something I had learned in yoga.  One of my yoga instructors explained that the average human being used (on average) only 30% of their lungs to breathe.  She invited us to think about how much more efficiently our bodies might function if we used just a little bit more.  And recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m only using 30% of my soul – that something is missing, or buried, and that I lack vibrancy and wholeness because of it.  I think much of this is left over Japan.  I don’t regret my time there – I really did love it – but I do think that I did damage to myself by living there.  Japanese people never tired of being good hosts, and so I made concerted efforts to constantly be a good guest.  But it is difficult to live as a guest for two years.  Whether due to the language barrier or because of my own desire not to be what might be considered offensive, I lost my voice – my ability to express myself in a way that I was used to.  I find myself limited in this capacity even now – day to day interactions are easier and I ramble as much as I used to – but I experience things that I simply don’t have words for anymore.

One of the women in our group mentioned that some philosopher or wise-person or somebody said that all stress originated from trying to do the impossible.  I thought this was interesting because in Japanese, the phrase for “don’t stress out” – “muri shinai de” – literally means “do not do the impossible.”  I went to Japan looking for something – this something that I have always felt was missing, the thing that keeps me from feeling as though I belong, the thing that keeps me wandering.  I didn’t find it; and though I found other things, I feel slightly foolish for thinking I would find it outside of myself.

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2 Responses to muri shinai de

  1. nick says:

    I’m leaving this comment as a complete stranger.I wanted to check out the nuance of muri shinai and this blog came up in a web search. I felt compelled to read the whole entry; you write well. Anyway, it was strange how well I could relate to some of what you wrote. Then stranger still when I saw tanegashima written on the side of this page. I’ve been teaching English for two years in Kagoshima-ken now. Actually, this is the second month since I’ve finished, but I’m still in Kagoshima for the time being. guuzen da na(偶然 だな)…

    I guess that is all I have to say, since words only go so far anyway. strange and interesting.

    • anotherperfectwonder says:

      Hi there and thanks for the reply! I lived on Tanegashima for two years on JET – is that what you’re doing, by chance? Have you been down to Tanegashima? I loved it there – such a unique experience and it will always have a special place in my heart =) Cheers, A.

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