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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

With time to take each task in its own turn, unhurried

 A Reader in Australia "Data Gecko" asks:
What a wonderful book. In an age when the wisdom of the past seems mostly forgotten or ignored, here is a book that is not only beautiful to look at, but overflowing with inspirational wisdom that is just so satisfying for the soul. It is replenishing my rapidly dwindling pool of hope for the future, for the stories are uplifting, fascinating, and most importantly, motivating. 
Nakamura's Kitchen
The story of Nakamura’s sublimely simply life was a particular highlight for me. (Chapter 2) There are days when I crave such a simple life, uncluttered and with time to take each task in its own turn, unhurried, uncomplicated, without compromise. You make the following observation: “I compare Nakamura's absolutely simple--almost bare--existence to the sophisticated level of his thought and discussion, and I really feel an admiration for his decisions in life as to what to prioritize.” I wonder, do you think it is his ability to see with clarity which elements in life most deserve his priority and focus, and which can be laid aside, that ultimately dictates his success in the way of life he has chosen?
In my mind I try to imagine this life, though I can’t quite make the leap to following such a path, as my life (and mind) seem so cluttered with other peoples priorities, to the point I sometimes wonder if I even know what my own would be any more. It must take great strength to put aside the expectations of others, find with clarity those elements you believe are truly important, and then commit to them fully.
A wonderful story, and something to strive towards. Thanks.
Thanks for the question.  I think you have gotten it right, that it's his ability to see clearly what's important that determines his success, but I think, also, behind that, it's his innate personality to take things very slowly, and consider what ways to use his time that gives him that ability.  And, as I said in the book, I think it was the years he spent living with the Sherpa villagers in Nepal that reoriented his internal desires, and recalibrated his "needs." 

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