Japanese Good Luck Doll

It’s almost a new year!  Can you believe it?  2015 is right around the corner.  And what better way to head towards a new year than with a bit of good luck.  But where to find it?

One way is to purchase a Japanese good luck doll known as a Daruma, or tumbling doll, which is modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism.  It’s traditionally made of papier-mâché, spherical, and weighted down at the bottom.  That way, even if it falls over, it will always stand back up.  This is to symbolize perseverance.  The Japanese have a famous phrase: “Nana Korobi Yaoki” which means “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”  As someone who has fallen before (while running), I really appreciate this saying!

How does it work?  Think of a goal you wish to achieve.  Then fill in one of the blank white eyes with black ink.  Put the Daruma doll in a prominent place where you will constantly be reminded of your goal and what you want to achieve.  Pursue your goal as best you can.

When you complete your goal and your wish comes true, it’s time to celebrate by filling in the Daruma’s other eye.  He was motivated to grant your wish, because in turn, now he can see!

As you may have noticed in the photo above, I decided to purchase my very own Daruma.  With one eye filled in, my goal is set.  Now it’s time for me to get up and move towards achieving it!

What are your goals for the new year, and how do you plan to stay motivated to achieve them?


A Labyrinth Is Not a Maze


I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been intrigued by labyrinths. Maybe it started with the movie. At first I thought it was because I like a good challenge. But then I realized I was confusing a labyrinth with a maze, which is designed as a puzzle to solve with multiple paths and dead ends. A labyrinth actually only has one path, however winding, with a clear beginning and end point. You go back out the same way you came in.

The first time I had a chance to walk a labyrinth was in San Francisco. See my post on that. It’s a highly meditative process. And it was then I realized the deeper symbolism of the labyrinth. The idea is to walk the course either thinking about some specific question you want to answer or just pondering life in general. You’ll be surprised what you come up with along the way.

So how does one go about finding a labyrinth? It turns out there’s such a thing as a labyrinth locator online. By luck, I found that there is one down the street from me outside of a church. They are very commonly located at places of worship, either inside or outside. So one Sunday my husband and I decided to walk over and check it out.

The day was hot and the labyrinth happened to be in direct sunlight, but that did not deter us.  We noticed a sign listing every major religion on it. It shared a quote from each. All the different faiths had one thing in common: The belief in the concept of helping others. This suggests that we are all connected by an invisible thread. With that thought in mind, my husband and I entered the labyrinth.

My first thought was that I felt a little bit like I was traveling around inside the belly of a giant…or its brain 😉  It’s interesting how patterns in nature repeat themselves.  Then I tried to focus my intention on the present moment.  I noticed how we moved methodically to every corner of the labyrinth, but ended up in the same spot, the center.  What does that say about life?

Afterwards, I asked my husband his thoughts.  He noticed how when we seemed closest to the center, we were really quite far from reaching it.  When we were furthest away, it turned out we were actually heading right for it.

There’s a lot to be learned from walking around inside a labyrinth.  You should try it!  I know I’ll be going back again or perhaps to a different one.  Either way, I imagine I’ll discover something new.  What I learned was that a labyrinth is not a puzzle to solve.  We are the puzzles.  And each time we enter the labyrinth, a little piece of the mystery about ourselves is revealed.

Quote of the Day: Goals

“The important thing is to strive towards a goal which is not immediately visible. That goal is not the concern of the mind, but of the spirit.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942, translated from French by Lewis Galantière