Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Remembering the Embodied Ghosts of War



Buddha at Osaka City Station, Japan photo by Sydney Solis
Buddha in Osaka City station, Japan
This was the first time in seven years that I had not traveled somewhere in June.

I have always missed the heavy rains that come in Florida that time of year, because the day after my kids's last day of school, we always jetted back to my home roots in Colorado for the summer as part of our global family yoga homeschooling project launched in 2010. AKA my personal Mythic Yoga Journey™ for healing and wholeness.

The wet, humid, pouring rain that starts falling in ernest upon fecund Earth in June this part of the world in Central Florida of St. Croix I missed each year traveling to dry Colorado to pay obligatory family and friend visitations. I love Colorado and Boulder, it's just that ayurveda tells me I"m healthier and happier in this semi-tropical climate of hibiscus and rain, geckoes, palmettos and surfing teenage daughters and lots of diversity, which I love. And so I found myself at our downtown Orlando house, cloudy, humid, dripping wet and I loved it. So did my nails, hair and skin!


Sydney Solis - Flowers in Osaka
I am obsessed with all the flowers in Japan. Always an opportunity to wake up 
in mindfulness through nature
I had wanted to be in Osaka by June 1, but we had to change things because my soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter didn't want to move to Japan. Traveling around so much in her young life - 5 months in Buenos Aires, 2 1/2 years in St. Croix, USVI was enough. She's got a boyfriend, is in the DeLand High School marching band, and is doing great with a gaggle of friends.

We also have three dogs. And honestly it is quite a vata disturbance to travel and it causes anxiety. And so I write and practice meditation and yoga to keep calm.

The family house stays put in DeLand as the young adult housing, and I am adjusting to a new era in my life of empty nesting and growing children and to go back and forth Osaka Orlando for two years until she finishes high school.

Our journey is special now, as like Barack Obama, she doesn't want to join her mother on the next leg of her Mythic Yoga Journey.™ I think we are the envy of most parents with teenagers, that we spend time apart. Because I think this American teenagers living with parents as dependent annoying, infantized consumer is ABNORMAL. And of course our entire situation as a family is unusual considering their father's death 14 years ago. So we should be so lucky! What good fortune of events that brought me to the now I am living, writing these Osaka diaries from Orlando as I anticipate my third trip to Japan to join my husband working there.

I got the Orlando house ready. It's perfect for a writer's retreat!

Push for Peace
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My 19-year-old son is getting ready for college. I told my daughter that if she's not coming, she has to accept that we will be apart. Because reality is that we are going because we are working to pay the mortgage, rent, you name it. Here's my Patreon page!


She has second and third moms to keep her raised well by a village and that's great by me, because we have Skype and modern technology and since we've been together so intensely since their father's death this separation is healthy for us.

My kids are great, independent, award-winning. I'm very proud of my work with them. I miss her a lot. It was my greatest sacrifice for them to stay home and that sacrifice was for sure bliss!

So I waited to get my visa, but he died the day I left for Japan June 24.  My dear father who at 84 swung between saying with his Delft blue eyes, "Tell the people of Japan I love them" in a forgiving tone toward his captors and life destroyers, to being in a dour mood about what happened, like the Japanese murdering his father, my grandfather. "It's not easy to forget," he would say, staring into space. And all I could think about was to flee.

My grandfather, Albert Willem Straub, born Semarang, Java, died Tokyo, 1943
My grandfather, Albert Willem Straub, born Semarang, Java, died Tokyo, 1943
And sometimes I wonder if we can feel those ancestors in the depths shouting to us from the depths - never forget! Maybe it's my grandfather sending me there. That we cannot forget what happened.

The horrors of war. My Dutch grandfather, dying of intestinal cancer and beri beri in a force labor Mitsubishi tin mine outside of Tokyo Shinagawa in 1943. That story has been imprinted in my mind and body forever. Some unknown force propelling me forward.

And a psychotherapist friend told me how ancestors are haunting us, restless ghosts, epigenetics it's called. That PTSD gets passed on to us and more.

I've had two trips to Japan equalling a total of two months worth in the Kansai region. It has been stupendous, amazing, more than I can imagine. It rips me open in spirit and body and soul in a beautiful calm way like a black stupa.

I love Japan.  Continuing my Mythic Yoga Journey.™ Discovering all that there is to discover during these intense times of Trump and terrorism, fear and uncertainty.

It had rained so much in the past few days in Orlando that the roof had started to leak. It was the air conditioning in the ceiling above the fireplace in the living room. I came out for a snack of fig newtons while working and found it dripping wet. OH GOD! Just when the house was about ready to be listed on Evolve and leave for Osaka.

I loved the rain, but with the added stress of the leak, just when everything was almost finished, and the news about a vicious rape of some friends of my daughter's back in St. Croix in the USVI did make me a bit under the weather and depressed. And of course the collective rage and the Trump insanity with Russia and the wars and terrorism. I practiced a lot of tonglen for the girls, but also for myself.

I figure it's all work, consciousness work. Digging in the shadows, for my youngest sister, Jeanie, had been appearing in the shadows lately. Perhaps because I was getting ready to go to Japan and I am planning on stopping off in Boulder, Colorado to visit my father. That sad house I grew up in, has been transformed over the years since I embarked on my Mythic Yoga Journey.™ From the hoarder household it was when we were children until my mother died in 2001. And now he has died.

I have re-storied myself slowly over time just as the process of this house's transformation too. Still then, the chaos and disorderly dysfunction has only this year nearly no trace of the horrors of the past that took place in that childhood home.

The irony of me fleeing to Japan on the eve of World War III. Just as President Macron invited American refugees to France, I am aware that we live in spectacular times. Heroic times. And heroism isn't about basketball hoops and likes on Facebook. Heroism is about facing death. Our own death. Our own story. Confronting our own ghosts - our own shadows. That is the task before us. Peace lays ahead. Let's go!

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