I'm joining Service Space because ... I have been and continue to be inspired by the joy found in folks who give from their hearts, who do just because they love....there is big love and big hearts within/amongst those connected with servicespace!
A good day to me is when ... there is a lot of laughter from the belly
My hero in life is ...my grandmother, Mutsuko
My favorite book is ...the little prince
One thing I'm grateful for is ... my health, my friendships, my curiosity...(I know I know, one thing, but actually this could amount to a long page a day :-)
Dec 28, 2016, 14 smiles Second year in a row to spend Christmas eve with my grandmother and John at her nursing home. Mostly, it is like any other day or evening. We walk in, sign in, say hello to any of the staff that knows us or any of the elders who are around the front desk. There is a Christmas tree and other decorations but I feel they are taken for granted. No one seems to pay them any mind. John went down to the activities/dining room to see if Bachan was there before we made our way down the various halls to her room. He stopped to talk to someone at another room – which is a bit unusual since it is more something I do – I am more apt to get side-tracked whereas he is more directed. Turns out this woman, Irene, knew him from his Foundry school days. She had ... Read Full Story
Nov 27, 2016, 3 comments, 14 smiles A sweet story for the heart...Went to see my grandmother (at the nursing home where she has lived over 2 1/2 years now) with John after being gone for 10 days. We took her to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants where the owner/chef has in the past given my grandmother healing dishes when she was sick. He wasn't in tonight but everyone was so happy to see us and gave us so many dishes on the house, just because. When we left, John, Bachan and I all bowed in gratitude and 8 of the staff who had come out to say good-bye all bowed back in response, saying Thank you to my grandmother in Japanese even though they are all Korean. So many smiles. After that we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items because I wanted to get a treat for the Nurse on ... Read Full Story
Sep 08, 2016, 8 comments, 19 smiles Bachan, my grandmother, has had a series of health setbacks recently that have surfaced thorny challenges, and plenty of opportunities for me to practice 'standing my sacred ground'. In an environment where administrators and health practitioners can quickly grow defensive, I have tried to stay in curiosity and keep it human to human. Keeping it human is one thing that is slowing folks down. For instance at the hospital Sunday, a woman came in to take blood from my grandmother. I asked her if she was good at finding the vein. She side mouthed, I don't know." I said, "Treat her like she was your grandmother. I don't want her to hurt anymore." Bachan chimed in with, "Wow you are so good looking!" (She was a beautiful African American woman with braids)...how can you not soften?) Later, the woman said, "Never apologize for loving and caring for someone. You telling me to treat her like ... Read Full Story
Sep 02, 2016, 1 comments, 19 smiles [Below is the poem I offered at the ServiceSpace community evening.] There But for the Grace, by Wislawa Szymborska It could have happened. It had to happen. It happened sooner. Later. Nearer. Farther. It happened not to you. You survived because you were the first. You survived because you were the last. Because you were alone. Because of people. Because you turned left. Because you turned right. Because rain fell. Because a shadow fell. Because sunny weather prevailed. Luckily, there was a wood. Luckily there were no trees. Luckily there was a rail, a hook, a beam, a brake, a frame, a bend, a millimeter, a second. Luckily a straw was floating on the surface. Thanks to, because, and yet, in spite of. What would have happened had not a hand, a foot, by a step, a hairsbreadth by sheer coincidence. So you’re here? Straight from a moment still ajar? The net had one eyehole, and you got through it? There’s no end to my wonder, my silence. Listen how fast your heart beats in me.
Mar 15, 2016, 2 comments, 15 smiles Anne Frank wrote - “I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains” from a "very small, very dark and dank" secret annex. Days and Nights and Nights and Days of hiding in silence and fear. Still, for her - beauty remained. I visited the room in Amsterdam where she had lived and even with a deep sadness and pain in my chest, I felt her light. Here is my grandmother - she has very little and yet, is grateful for every thing AND she does not miss the flowers in the tree or on the ground - she reminds me to see deeper - to focus on "the beauty that still remains" - today, we took her to get a simple manicure (her first one, she got at 88 - now at 95 with dementia, it seems like the first time). She told the ... Read Full Story
Nov 18, 2015, 8 smiles For the next few weeks I am staying with some close friends of mine out of state - a couple with three kids (the kids - 14, 11 and 3 - I have known all their lives). The Dad had heart surgery on Monday. It feels important to be here helping where I can but, at the same time, I am missing my grandmother, my friend (she now takes to calling me her “special friend”) and of course -my ever supportive love, john. John said he would check in with her while I am gone. He saw her today and wrote me the note below. ************************ So I had a great visit w/bachan. She did it all. We went to patio - sat in the sun and talked before doing the new word search book you got her which she appreciated. It was a sincere conversation to be forgotten in the next moment but lets me in on ... Read Full Story
Oct 30, 2015, 3 comments, 18 smiles Last week, about 40 of us went on a field trip to City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Among the many unexpected ripples, few of us (Madhu, Vinya, Pancho, Nipun and I) spoke to the boys and girls school assembly. We each shared stories, engaged in lots of Q&A, laughed a lot, did a movement exercise at the end, and gave out ample hugs. It was a very touching experience. At one point in the assembly, a young girl raises her hand and says, "I'd like to share an act of kindness. When I was very stressed about my Chemistry exam, one of my friends asked me if she can help. I told her that while I would have to stay awake the whole night, I would feel so much better if she slept in my room that night. So she did! It meant the world to me, but I've never thanked ... Read Full Story
Sep 29, 2015, 2 comments, 20 smiles My grandmother hasn't been eating the past four days and so has gotten a little weak and wobbly. I took her to a japanese restaurant for dinner even though she said she wasn't hungry. We sat at the sushi bar because it was easier for me to sit by her close and help if she needed it. The sushi chef made her a special plate of food, chopped into little pieces so it would be easier for her to eat; he even made her a little heart on top of her rice! She didn't really understand but it made her smile AND she ate almost all that was in the bowl! We didn't tell him what was going on OR ask for any special dishes or treatment and yet, he took the time to specially prepare her meal. So nice! #BeautifulRandomActOfKindness
Aug 29, 2015, 7 smiles Here's a beautiful story I read recently in a book entitled, Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa by John Heilpern ... Once Peter Brook arranged for a private meeting between his actors and the Peulhs. A nomadic tribe, shy of strangers, a mystery even to Africans, with no linking language, how could the actor’s build a bridge to them in one meeting? There was only one way and it was through music. Brook asked the actors to sing a song. But the Peulhs took no notice, the men just admiring themselves in little mirrors. The actors tried six songs but nothing happened. And then Brook asked for an AH sound (vocal exercise for opening and extending sound), just this one basic sound that was to be extended and developed as far as it could possibly go. It seems an easy thing to do. Yet the group had worked on ... Read Full Story
Aug 16, 2015, 2 comments, 8 smiles New schedule means sharing time with my grandmother on other days now besides just Monday. So, happily, this Sunday afternoon was spent with her. "I have good friends" she said proudly to Nurse Simi as we went off to dinner. When we returned, we took a walk around the nursing home to check in with folk. Found out that my grandmother's first "friend" here, Alice, died. My grandmother doesn't remember her but I do. I remember the two of them sitting together doing word search, helping each other. So sweet. Now, in the past year and 1/2, my grandmother has gone through about 7 of the same book with about 100 puzzles in each! Around the corner was our toothless one legged friend Mr. Le, still packing all of his things onto his wheel chair (a war veteran who had been on the streets homeless for many years). I raised my hands ... Read Full Story