Hello again…

Dappled sunlight on the scroll in my kitchen today

Dappled sunlight on the scroll in my kitchen today

My retreat from cyberspace wasn’t quite as I expected. In fact, not long after I decided to take a break from all things internet, I started another blog as part of my university studies! This is my last year in completing my BA in Japanese and I am starting to look for a specialised area in which I can develop my professional translation skills, so if you’re interested in Japanese cuisine, you can see what I’ve been translating at my Kyoto Kitchen blog, which I’ll be continuing as part of my studies at least until the end of this year. In fact, I’m still on the computer every day because I have been undertaking some units as an external student, so my cyber retreat seemed somewhat hypocritical and a bit of failure.

But in this “failure”, I have learned something about myself that perhaps might resonate with you too. I realise that in my desire to withdraw from the cyberworld I actually wanted to be living in a different world – one that doesn’t exist any more. I have felt quite nostalgic for the pre-computer world that I grew up in, where we might have shared a ‘real’ cuppa together, where neighbours dropped by unannounced, where the pace of life was slower, where bread seemed to taste and smell more ‘breadlike’, and so on. But that world only exists in my own imagination. And by harking back to another time that sometimes feels more real than the present time, a world that I have made up with my memories, I create a kind of sadness that this world, this reality, is not more like the one I have created with my memory and imagination.

It dawned on me then that this is the essential teaching contained in the Buddha’s words:

“All that we are arises with our thoughts;
With our thoughts we create the world”

Wattle in my garden today

Wattle in my garden today

Whilst of course its fine to take a break away from the computer screen, there was more to it for me than just to rest my eyes for a while. Because, as I said, in my uni studies I was at the computer every day, so it clearly wasn’t just about taking a break. The root of my retreat was this nagging feeling that somehow this “cuppa” wasn’t as real as sitting across the table chatting with you face-to-face, and that led me to feel a kind of sadness. But my nostalgic melancholy stems from the creation in my own mind that there was some other kind of reality than what presents itself to me right now, right in the moment of typing on the keypad and chatting with you. This connection is far more real of course than anything in my imagination because it is a real event, happening right now, and so this is the only reality that can possibly exist. My whole being is connecting with you right in this very moment and that is a cause for happiness and celebration. So whilst I know that I will slip into my nostalgic ruminations, my spiritual path is to continue to practice immersing my whole self in experiencing this very moment. And right at this very moment, I am sharing a cuppa with you. Thank you for being here.

10 thoughts on “Hello again…

  1. Yyyaaayyy! Oh Cate I’m so glad.
    Your writing made gentle tears well up…of gratitude…of memories…of knowing deeply that I too must embrace this world right now as it is…and create all that is beautiful with what is here right now. And one day when you are’nt so busy we will sit face to face with a cuppa and I will even attempt to bake bread that smells lke bread. Imagine that πŸ™‚
    And dear Cate it might make you smile a big warm smile to know that I have just been to Queensland visiting my wonderful family. My Son and his wife and the two grandchildren surrounded me with such love I cannot even desribe it. I was hugged and loved and fed and made to feel I was the most beautiful little creature in the Universe. Imagine that πŸ™‚
    AND for the first time I was able to explain to my Son the miracle that happened…the miracle of Kannon,the miracle of You. And for the first time he listened and understood and tears of understanding came to his eyes.
    Thankyou once more dear Blessing. You truly are an instrument of Love…right here and now.
    xxxx<3 Gabi

    • That’s just wonderful news about your family Gabi – I’m so happy that your son is able to truly ‘hear’ your remarkable stories and understand. And I agree wholeheartedly with your family that you are indeed “the most beautiful little creature in the Universe”! I look forward to visiting you soon and sharing that cuppa πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Cate, how lovely to hear from you again and enjoy your beautiful photos. Wow, only one semester to go and you’ve finished your degree, great work. Remember Ava, the baby we prayed for on our pilgrimage. She’s 4 now and interestingly her mother calls her a very spiritual child. Our granddaughter in Pth, Grace, has just turned 4. I look after her 2 days a week and we have a great relationship and now our family is to be blessed with twins, a boy and a girl in October. I still look back on our pilgrimage as one of the best times of my life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make this journey.
    Take care, dear friend,

    • Oh my goodness, Laurel, I can’t believe it’s been four years already! That pilgrimage was a very special journey indeed and I remember it with great warmth and happy nostalgia. How lovely to see your family growing – even by two’s! Please feel free to drop by if you’re coming down this way – do you still have your holiday house down here? xxx

  3. Yippee! So great to hear from you Cate! I look forward to news of how you utilise your English/Japanese translation prowess! When I came to visit you, about 7 years ago now, my Italian friend Nina accompanied me. She’s just paid us a visit from Perth and we reminisced about our visit to Wa’bian. I read your post in January about the Year of the Snake. I think so often of you because of how this year, with its emphasis both good and bad, on the feminine is unfolding. It’s just what you predicted would happen. Your other point about balancing the old and new in our lives also resonates strongly here in Dromana. I’ve just submitted, via e-mail, a letter to The Age newspaper. I then sat down and wrote a snail mail letter! I love using the appropriate technology for the task. The hand written letter slows me down. The writing of it satisfies my sense of touch as I use a fountain pen and lovely paper to compose my missive. My love of ritual is gratified as I select both a seal and sealing wax colour to end the process of writing my thoughts to a friend. And, of course, whenever I look at my treasured images/statues of Kuan Yin, I am so grateful that the Goddess of Mercy enabled our transcontinental friendship to begin!
    Much love,
    Deborah Wildsmith

    • Hi Deborah – yes, I’ve been lucky enough to have received handwritten letters from you that are always so beautiful, with precious paper and your lovely artistic handwriting. That’s great that you’ve reconnected with your old friend Nina and reminisced about your visit – I remember it well. xxx

  4. How lovely to have a cuppa with you again Cate, I have missed you.

    Patricia Kent, Trentham, Central Victoria

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