Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Terrible news broke out a few days ago that Japan had suffered the worst earthquake in its history. That earthquake and several violent after-shocks led to a land-changing tsunami that has displaced countless homes and people as well.

I also read some intriguing news about the axis of the Earth shifting by approximately 6.5 inches. This is remarkable. I do not know what the long-term affects of this will be, but while the number is small, this shift could be significant. Over a long period of time there are countless possibilities for what could change on the surface of the earth as far as weather patterns or changes in seasons go.

I got to thinking about directional change and how small shifts can completely displace you over time from where you were eventually headed. I sat back and gave some thought to it and started to demystify the oracle, that is I really took inventory of what things have caused me to shift my focus and direction this year. Then I began to ask where that focus and direction are leading me. The fact of the matter is that I take stock in and live within a giant net of grace. I think that, ultimately, my own faith and belief in what is will lead me to my inevitable destination, but shifts will determine what happens along the way.

I will admit that, sometimes, I just want the company of a few. I have my own spurts in my life where I will be like a larva in the cocoon, shutting myself in (at least socially) and allowing intensive focus and growth to occur. And then, as is inevitable for the larva, I will bust out of my shell and take to the air becoming a social butterfly. I think, sometimes, we all say or do things that have us clamoring to bury our heads back into the cocoon, but that is the plight of being imperfect people amongst others. You are going to get scuffed up, worn out, beat up, or even abused, but there is always a place you can go to that provides you time to heal, and be restored.

This might seem silly, but I really like the mess out of a Japanese cartoon called Dragonball Z. In it, there is a mighty warrior living on Earth named Goku. He is actually a descendant of a race of humanoid warriors called Saiyans. The Saiyans live for battle, the glory of victory or even defeat always motivating them to become stronger, better, faster. The unique thing about Saiyans is that they grow their strongest after being beat down almost to the point of death either physically or emotionally. When they heal from this place of near-fatality, it is then that their power level increases exponentially.

I would like to think of myself as the real-life equivalent of a Saiyan. Sometimes life has a way of making itself look like a battle, and I sometimes find myself on the ground, barely breathing, blood trickling down my nose as I gaze at the sun above me through bruised eyes. I find my shelter, my safe place, and there I let the healing happen. Pain becomes a memory, one that will alter the shift and direction I go in; it will help me to think first about just saying the things I want to say, or just doing the things I was to do. I would like to think that greater purpose is discovered, and I am much more road-ready.

Like the Saiyans in Dragonball Z, though, I do not find that forces that work against me to be weaker and easier to defeat. Those things which break you down will not have the power to do so again once you rise up against them and overcome them. Now, it will take something much bigger to take you down, but the magnitude of one's obstacles is really just a testament of the power you have achieved through maturity and the gaining of knowledge.

Japan has suffered a huge blow to its country, and yet its people have endured hardships which have solidified their resolve and have them overcoming through their grace. I read countless stories of how they never panicked and were clam in their demeanor despite harsh conditions. I think a lot of us could do ourselves a great favor by looking at the Japanese people and taking a cue from them on how they behave or react during the conditions they find themselves in. Would we in the West also be able to maintain such a high level of civility, honor, and respect during same circumstances, or do we need to grow as a people and be prepared to stand firm in the face of great adversity?

I would like to think the answer is a quick and easy "yes," but first we must shift our focus as a people from what leads us around now and towards something much greater than ourselves and our own achievements or possessions. In one mighty wave, it can all be taken away, but the Japanese have shown us that no earthquake, and no wave can take away their dignity.

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