Taking inventory of myself at age 29

When the sun goes down and your friends have departed, who are you?
Does the darkest part of your soul arise from the shadows?
Do you doubt who you are and what brought you here?

Today, I look into the darkness of the unknown future and wonder what is to come. My longing and loneliness tugs at my heart. Come out, I say. Longing and loneliness, you are invited into the light of awareness. I want to see you more clearly. Dear ones, I see that you have the same root. A desire to be loved and to have the security of belonging, an aversion to being alone. A deep fear of being invisible, forgotten, abandoned.

My heart is tender and vulnerable today. I sit on the cusp of my twenty-ninth year, alone at home in Jerusalem. I am here, and I know that there is no other place I could be. I am content with the decisions and leaps of the heart that led me to this moment. There is joy and contemplation and curiosity here and in the moments that preceded this one, and I do not wish for another path. And yet I am aware of my longing and loneliness, my uncertainty about the future.

Who am I on this day?

I am my parents’ daughter, born in California, of Japanese and Chinese roots. I was blessed with an upbringing that taught me the power of my own voice, showered me with love and a good education, and provided me the safety and stability of home.
I am the older sister to two brothers, Daniel and Ryan, who have each taken their own paths, one at home and the other in Tokyo.

I take refuge in silence, lazy days, and going slow.
I touch joy in the wonder of the redwood forest, the surprise of the river, the tide.
I walk to calm my body, sit to soothe my mind.

Sometimes, I am unskillful in my words or actions. I get caught in the fire of anger and blame, often at myself.

I am often a good listener.
I act and speak slowly, process deeply, write as a means of touching my own heart.
I am fully committed to the path of Buddhist practice shared by Thich Nhat Hanh. I have faith in the path to lead to greater freedom and contentment.

I enjoy the soft summer air on my skin, the fluttering leaves rustling.
I am happy when creating: coding, painting, drawing, writing. I experiment with new ideas, iterate, try again.

I aspire to give fully of my gifts, material resources, and time, to help others along the path of peace.
And yet I have a long way to go in giving fully: sometimes I notice resistance when giving, an idea that this is mine and I don’t want to let go. Resistance arising as a tendency to separate myself from others.

I am proud of my curiosity and bravery in stepping into the darkness. Striving to touch the unknown better within me. I am standing on the edge of what is comfortable, making do with less, giving of my heart and my resources more fully.

I am here, and there is no other place I could be.

Hope in the wishes of friends

I’d like to leave you with the wishes and aspirations of friends around the world. Thank you for sharing, my dear friends… Your voices give me hope that I am not alone, that we are each working and aspiring to a better world where we are. Our efforts are not separate from each other: your aspirations in Munich and San Francisco and London are with me in Bethlehem. And I hope that my aspirations are with you, wherever you are.

I have faith in our collective efforts, in the possibility of change to happen in tiny, consistent ripples of love and peace all over the world.

From my friend Eva:

“I learnt a new word today I thought I'd share: 'Ubuntu', a Bantu concept from Congolese tradition which means 'I am because we are' :) Hope you have a wonderful year and all your wishes come true.”

I hope all of our wishes come true, my friends.

Our wishes

I’d wish for myself to bring up the energy to hold a space of generosity in my heart and the courage to not look away but share my love when I see another person in pain. I’d wish for Mother Nature to give us sunshine, rain, in abundance so we can grow our seeds of compassion.
My wish in this moment is for peace in our hearts.
My aspiration for the present moment is that the impact of love and hope will overcome that of anger and fear.
My aspiration is to be able to encounter everyone around me with an open heart.
My aspiration for this present moment is to recognize and get to know my reactivity.
May I, family and our world heal from emotional and physical trauma.
May I take more risks.
May kindness be our guide.
May we know the earth is ourselves.
May you enjoy every breath, in the good and the bad times. May the leaves flutter and shine light in your eyes.
I wish for...
- all the rest my body and mind need
- generosity and compassion toward others
- inner peace and the wisdom to know when to start down new outer paths
I wish...
- for all beings to be at peace,
- for you to be safe and with joy,
- to see my fears with openness and clarity,
- to accept and love myself,
- to see activity in the mind as not mine and not self.
I wish for safe travels for you and other friends and family in the upcoming year!
To live a life I’m proud of, one that I can look back on when I’m older with pride.
To reduce focus and drive for money, to move towards a world where national borders do not divide us and we address difficulties in the world collectively, as one human family.
To give what you love to the other.
To collapse corruption in government.
For each of us to practice peace and interbeing in action, to participate and care in the well-being of others, recognizing that our suffering is not separate.
For myself I wish to develop more self compassion.
For the world I hope people will continue to keep learning - especially about the things we fear and don't understand. And that governments will act on the climate crisis.
Here is my wish for the moment: To be kind to myself and stay present with myself.
To end the occupation today, with a path forward to build understanding between peoples.
To die a healthy death, physically and mentally.
To strengthen my own voice.
To be a living example of the practice to others, without needing to do anything. A presence that inspire others.
To be in community with others who are the practice in their beings.
To start a Thich Nhat Hanh community of practitioners in Israel that will benefit the community and the country.
I wish for...
- True lazy days, allowing space for creativity, rest, and play.
- Curiosity and courage to look deeply at the roots of my own anger and violence, and my tendencies to blame and judge myself and others.
- Partnership on this path -- romantic and otherwise.
- Spiritual communities and friends with whom I can belong and be my full self.
- Guidance and direction as I aspire to the Order of Interbeing.
- Deepening peace in my heart for all the things I cannot change, and the resolve to act wisely for all of the things I can.
- Recognition of my own sufficiency and wholeness, and the ability to give and receive fully with an open heart.

Finally, some photos from my birthday!

Two cakes, two birthday brunches... I am a very lucky human to be surrounded by such love.