Experiencing sea life in Hawaii made me want to pick up scuba diving. The photos I took of these amazing creatures look as if they came out of a magazine. Believe me, we were not part of a marketing campaign. We were just tourists wanting to experience the world beneath us. Here I am touching a squid. I actually had to look up the difference between a squid and an octopus as I thought both were about the same. We also saw a few turtles and lots of coral reefs!
Giving is at the heart of every person; it just has to be let in. As I have become older, I have seen what can be done when individuals give to their local communities. Just read any social media and the most hits and likes are those that have to do with giving and the human spirit. Imagine if all our social media and lives were surrounded by those giving what they could. Giving can come in the form of money, time, effort, material items and even gifts. As a child, I donated my clothes. As an adult, I give of my time, effort and money to causes that are meaningful to me. My family also partakes in giving back to their community by donating their time and effort in many different community and national causes. I remember my children packing a truck with canned foods to take to a disaster area. I let the giving more come in and I challenge others to open that door just a bit wider.
In 2007, I traveled to Kyoto, Japan attending the YPO Kyoto University. As with any University event sponsored by YPO, it was packed full of educational sessions, day excursions to witness the real Japan, and lots of food, entertainment and fun. Japan was quite a distance from my home base so the jet lag the first day had me up before sunrise. With nothing better to do, I joined the early birds and explored a Japanese fish market and vegetable auction. To my surprise, there was no fish odor in the market and it was cleaner than my own kitchen. I was able to eat fresh tuna right off a tuna being auctioned and tried to understand the dynamics of a Japanese fish auction that seemed to end as soon as it began. The vegetable market was just as spotless as the fish market. Every vegetable had its special place in a box, on a shelf; each one specially showcased for its beauty. I guess this is why apples cost $3 a piece!
Japan would not be complete without meeting a Geisha. I learned of her place in Japanese culture and her need to be highly educated. Participating in this unique YPO University, a very special Gecko entertained us with her music and tea ceremony. She even sang Happy Birthday to one of the participants.
My last 2 days were spent traveling the path of a Buddhist pilgrim through the mountains up to a temple where pilgrims take refuge and enjoy food prepared by the priests. Our guide was a very tall American Buddhist priest who lead us through this journey as we learned to wash before entering the temple, payed respect while walking through a cemetery and joined a Buddhist ceremony. I found many similarities of all worldly religions gaining much appreciation of our common beliefs!