Blog #29 A Single Arrow is Easily Broken, but Not Ten in a Bundle – Japanese Proverb

Posted on : 19-04-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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I don’t know where my brain has been but I walked up to the waiting portal area of my American Lit class and after a few minutes of discussion with a fellow student realized that I had forgotten that we had a quiz due by class time.

As luck would have it, this kind student (now friend!) had not only remembered where I usually while waiting for the class doors to open but took me up to the computer lab so that I could take the quiz before it was removed five minutes til classtime. I was very grateful to her. It’s only five points, but five points are five points!

One of the lessons I’m learning upon returning to school is to not give up, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep doing your best and to trust the process. In reference to the title of today’s blog, I related that proverb to having attended class on a regular basis, participated in class on a regular basis and interacted with students before, during and after class on a regular basis. I think that helped me so that when my arrow could have definitely been broken today, I had nine others in reserve because of the time and intention that I’ve put into school.

We studied the short story “Seventeen Syllables” by Hisaye Yamamoto about Rosie who is Niesei (child of immigrant parents) and her relationship with her parents and between her parents. The theme throughout the whole story was the level of restraint spoken and unspoken in the Japanese culture. Being American, I don’t think I’ve been taught the art of restraint but having been the daughter of a diplomat, I understand the nuance and importance of restraint. I believe some form of restraint from my ego is helping me to keep going in school and at work even though my nature wants to assert itself into every avenue so that I can hustle through life and make it to the finish line…for what exactly I don’t know….!

Three Japananese terms we learned today were Gaman-which means the internalization and supression of anger and emotion; Enryo-which means reserve, deference and diffidence and Wa-which means social harmony and the order of any social situation. To break Wa is to lose face. None of these terms come to be instinctively but each of them makes good sense to my heart and soul when they are calm.

I’m beginning to see the harmony and synchonicity in following through with actions on our beliefs and values. Because I’m coming to believe that the universe is a friendly place, I’m experiencing more harmony. Whether that is because I am becoming more harmonious myself so at least I am not adding to ripples, I cannot say. What I can tell you is that I am experiencing more help in unexpected ways from unexpected sourese than I have before now.

For me, this proverb “A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle” is another version of “it takes a village” and that the more I help others so that they can help me the more we can help each other and so on and so on and so on.

Where are you getting your support today and how are you creating space for it?

Arigatou gozaimasu

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