True North

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro

Amidst the human and environmental carnages the Nobel Prizes go on. I'm heartened by the marvelous works humankind is able to produce. Kazuo Ishiguro won the 2017 Literature Nobel Prize. He is one of my husband's favorite novelists. The "Never Let Me Go" is one of my favorite movies and it is based on his book. Everyday we are entertained and uplifted by fellow human beings. Everyday our senses and mind entertain and enrich us. Today I am celebrating and honoring their services. We don't need to be anyone, do anymore, or get anywhere to experience every sensory stimuli happening right now. Yet, accessible within us is a natural drive toward unique expressions and even perfections. I sense this drive acutely all my life. But I haven't always seen it as something innate--uninfluenced by the outside world beyond my gut desire. In one of the questions I ask the women who participate in my book project (which I have put on hold since the passing of my dad), "What do you live for?" I've been contemplating the question and search for clues in my head, heart, and gut. 

I'm not great at relaxing and enjoying life. Nobody glares at my carelessness harsher than myself. Though I live comfortably and have a lot of leisure time, nobody is more driven to point out my mindlessness and sleepwalking through life than myself. I spend excessive amount of energy "mentally" engaging with everyone and everything and in constant need of soothing my nerves and body. It's exhausting to constantly aim for and fulfilling the goal that isn't a thing at all. Often I didn't realize that I was aiming until a few days later while explaining the situation to someone when it dawned on me that I totally managed the condition--someone or something to go my way. It's deceiving because I had given credits to others, that they had been the main players of my experiences, without acknowledging that I had manipulated them so. What is this thing I'm aiming for and that I stand and live for even when I'm unconscious of it? Asking the question clarifies the true north I've been following all my life. After all I'm not just living day by day playing nice to get people to do what I want and for things to go my way. Unlike those who have something tangible they live for like their arts, sciences, children, or families I live for relatedness which is subtle and complex. It's much more challenging yet satisfying for me to live in harmony with everyone and everything, and aim for enriching experiences for all in my immediate habitat and beyond.

Like those who have followed their true north and embrace their purposes, Kazuo Ishiguro found his unique creative style. He aims to work out human deceptiveness within their own memories and perceptions. Perhaps having born in one place and grown up at a different place helped him recognize the possibility of living life in different modes of perception. My need to relate forces me to cultivate peace and harmony through longevity. If you stand for something less (or more) than harmony of the totality of life you have the capacity to lose blood and life for someone or something. I can say for a fact that I lack that capacity. It is both my falsehood and my truth as well as a gift to me and others. I much rather work and make friends with everyone instead of losing lives, mine included, for anything. The current Dalai Lama would not be standing and promoting peace today if he had not exiled. It takes fear to practice peace which is the understanding of fear. I admire people who are loyal, honorable, and courageous. They are willing to lose their lives to protect the things they live for. They are in my closest and dearest circle. I have the same capacity to enrich lives through understanding our unique natures and cultivating harmonious relationships. On our wedding anniversary this year I gave my husband a new wedding ring. In it engraved "My True North". It's a little bit of self-interest and a little bit of self-sacrifice. For the love of harmony I aim for balance.