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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday prayers for Japan

It is Friday afternoon, and I am curled up on my bed with the sun shining in on me warm and golden. I have reached the time of day past which I, for one, am completely brain dead from fasting all day. Some people do just fine with not eating or drinking from sunrise 'til sunset. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I notice my energy level drop by late morning, and from then on I am not good for much of anything that requires any degree of mental sharpness. I spent most of my Friday working on my Canadian taxes and student loan consolidation paperwork, which meant lots of number crunching, which used up my brain food early on.

Fortunately it is Friday, and it is almost 4pm, so I only have a little over two hours to go 'til I break my fast for the day. The fast, while physically challenging, is spiritually rejuvenating, and I also find that because I feel so tired, it makes me slow way down. Slowing down makes me reflect more deeply, and notice details that I otherwise might not notice (and no, I am not referring to the detail work on the package of Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate that is sitting on the table next to me, although I will admit that the chocolate was the first thing that my eyes passed over as I typed that).

I have been thinking about Japan all day. Some of you may not know this, but my work back on PEI was very interwoven with Japan because it was our main export market. While working for Springwillow Farms and Anne's PEI Farm, I farmed with many WWOOFers from Japan, and interacted with many business people who came to PEI to visit us and learn more about our agricultural products. Anne's PEI Farm actually has two main owners: Raymond Loo, and Kosaku Morita. Kosaku and his family are currently in Japan, and Raymond is traveling in New Zealand, on his way to Japan. In addition to the Japanese people that I met through work, there was a lovely group of Japanese pilgrims with me at the Baha'i World Centre last spring when I went on pilgrimage. I have also mentioned my dear friend Pascale many times in my blog. What I did not mention is that she had been living in Japan for the past few years, and only recently moved back to New Zealand to start her business. Her brother, his wife, and their child still live in Japan. So I have been thinking about Pascale a lot today, and the amount of upheaval that she has experienced over the last month, from losing her family home to the earthquake in Christchurch, to worrying about her brother and his family yesterday during the massive earthquake in Japan.

I have mentioned the round-the-world journal that I am working on with eleven of my friends a number of times in my blog. The journal miraculously reached New Zealand despite the earthquake, and Pascale has been recording her thoughts, ideas and inspiration in its pages through the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, and now through the earthquake in Japan. While I would feel profoundly affected by the devastation in Japan regardless of whether the journal existed or not, its existence is connecting the eleven women scattered around the globe together in new ways. It is making us more conscious of the on-the-ground details of what is happening in other places around the world, and at the same time reminding us that those "other places around the world" are actually home to people just like us, who happen to be going through an overwhelmingly challenging time right now.

As the Japanese reel from the havoc wreaked on their homeland. As they feel fear of aftershocks. As they locate loved ones who were missing, or are forced to deal with the death of family members and friends, maybe we could all slow down a little bit and say a prayer for them as our fellow human beings. Throughout what promises to be a gloriously sunny and blue-skied weekend, maybe we could pause and acknowledge that what is happening to them could just as easily be happening to us in the community that we call home. I don't think it matters how you pray. Silently or out loud. If you sing it or whisper it into the evening. Just send some positive energy rippling over the waters to our brothers and sisters in Japan.

On that note I will leave you. I have to put together some prayers for a devotional gathering tonight with a bunch of friends. I am thinking of suggesting that the theme be healing and supportive prayers for Japan. As you move through your weekend, slow down and notice the seemingly small details that bring you joy. The branches starting to bud or blossom. The reflection of sky on the wet pavement. Melting snow. A misty moon. The sound of migrating birds headed north. The feeling of holding someone you love close. Making a friend or family member laugh. The taste of a hot cup of Darjeeling tea. The little joys that you have that make your life beautiful. You never know when you will lose your home, or your job, or those you love. Take the time to savour this moment. To appreciate your blessings. Have a great weekend!


  1. Very nice post, Ariana. I'm grateful for you as a sensitive writer, and soul, and friend.

  2. Love you Ariana and whilst i need to find the strength again to get up and face my reality after yet another sleepless night, i am grateful to know that there are prayers being said all around the globe and i feel so close to all of you right now because of that. I need to update the journal - it's funny, i'd been thinking that no one would feel inspired by such negative news but hopefully it will help to heal someone else one day.... Allah'u'Abha dear friend! x

  3. @ Jeff: glad you enjoyed that one.
    @ Pascale: Yes. Totally. Your journey -- its challenges and its ups and downs is part of our group's journey love. Record what is going on. Share your joys and sorrows. And the prayers that are getting you through this time. Your part of this journal is one of the most amazing parts of its journey so far. sending you oh so much love. And we all said prayers for Japan tonight too.