Raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, the 11 men and women profiled in A Different Kind of Luxury have all made the transition to sustainable, fulfilling lives. Based on Andy Couturier's popular articles in The Japan Times, this lushly designed volume has a wealth of stories about real people who have created an abundance of time for contemplation, connecting with the natural world, and contributing to their communities. In their success is a lesson for us all: live a life that matters. Read an excerpt of the book here or here. Read a review of the book here, here, or here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Re-entering the territory

Today I have re-started the process by which many of these articles were made: listening to the recording, rewinding, listening, typing mixed notes in Japanese and English, and adding occasional reflections. It is SLOW. So different than freewriting in the workshops I lead. Yet as I extol slowness and non-efficiency-driven processes, it is right that I should practice them.

Today was work on Wakako Oe. She is a philosopher. Yes, gardener, woodcarver, maker of botanical sculptures, translator of the writings of Indian saints, with her husband Masanori, but below that, a philosopher. Today I translated, her words " 'To disconnect from the flow of time,' what is that?"

She lets her conversation roll out contemplatively, recreating the experience of thought, the slow turning over of ideas.

"Just recently, I thought, hmm, the flow of time is the flow of consciousness. You see in your everyday life, all different kinds of consciousness is flowing, isn't it? So when that consciousness suddenly changes, and you become aware of something else, it's like going to another place. So when you think you are in the middle of the flow of time, actually you are in the middle of the flow of your own consciousness."

Also I found an old document that gives an overview of what the project is about. Some things there I discovered: "choosing of restraint in consumption of resources, but not for moral reason, but because the act of limiting actually enriches each moment of life."

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