by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : October 2014
Moving to Japan a nd leaving the office— while bringing a Japanese partner and her two children into my life—had left me with even more daunting obligations than before. The only way I could do jus- tice to them, I felt, was by stepping into silence every now a nd then to remind myself of what I cared about and how to point myself in that direction. Of course I felt more than a little guilty, every time, to be leaving my sweethea rt behind, neglecting my bosses’ fra ntic emails, or missing a friend’s birthday party, but I had to spend a few days in absolute stillness, doing nothing, to see that it was only by collecting myself in this way that I could gather anything fresh and creative and joyful to share with friends and bosses. Otherwise, I was foisting my distracted- ness on them. One year after embarking on this practice of going on retreat, I moved with my Japanese family into a t wo-room apartment more or less in the middle of nowhere. We had—and have—no car or bicycle or TV I ca n really follow; we also have the luxury of all those things we don’t have to think about. I wake up and the day seems to stretch forever. Not getting any newspapers or maga- zines—even though I’m a journalist— means I’m not furiously trying to keep up with a moving target I can never keep up with, and I have to try to see events in a larger context. And not having any private means of transportation means I take walks a round the neighborhood, register the early plum-blossoms on the ba re winter bra nches, notice how the light is cha nging through our pebble-glass windows, notice how the light is chang ing in myself a nd in my beloved family. I sit at my desk and thoughts come and go. The daphne in the street outside sug- gests the end of summer. The occasional cries of school kids tell me it’s 7:45. The trees in the park a block away begin to blossom and then to fade and I need no calendar, no official lesson in how every- thing is always changing and how the pattern of that change is much the same. Four years after I became part of this seasonal rhythm, my bosses back in New York asked me to switch from fax to email. They’d shown preternatura l forbearance in a llowing me to work in a tiny flat 8,000 miles from the office, so I was in no position to protest. Neverthe- less, I try hard never to go online until gestures and patterns without knowing the words beneath them. I couldn’t begin to take myself and my ideas very seri- ously, and my business card a nd résumé meant nothing to kindly, patient people who saw before them a disheveled, da rk- skinned foreigner gesturing like an idiot. My schools in England and the U.S . taught me to speak, to push myself for- ward, to consider myself something va lu- able. Japan, I felt and found, would train me in how to listen, how to make myself as invisible as possible, how to attend to everything around me and think in terms of larger units than the self. Of course Japan can be as cacophonous, crowded, and dizzying as anywhere. But at least I was in a country that believed in the power of an empty room (if there’s just one scroll and a flower in a tata mi space, you bring all your attention to that scroll and flower, and find everything you need in them; on the stone basin near the famous rock garden in Kyoto, an inscription reads, “What you have is all you need”). The next thing I did, four yea rs on, was make sure to take a retreat every season, for at least three days, if possible. With no other means of transport, I walk around the neighborhood, register the early plum-blossoms on the bare winter branches, notice how the light is changing through our pebble-glass windows, notice how the light is changing in myself and in my beloved family. 62 mindful October 2014 time out