This summer I came to the multi-culti realization that, for me, home is where the mat is.
After living in Oita City the same number of years (past the decade mark) as New York City (where I resided before Japan), I realize that home is no longer a country or a town.
I found that a 60 cm X 180 cm space that I can roll up and carry with me does the trick to let me find my center, and to be at home wherever I am.
Stop and find your center. Let your energy radiate out from the heart,
is the motto of a yoga mat I designed this year, based on the Japanese kanji,止, (tomare, pronounced toe-ma-ray),which means STOP.
I was attracted to this stop sign since I moved to Japan eleven years ago. Over the years I drew Tomare, painted Tomare, and made a 3-D Tomare bench as a stopping place. The yoga mat is a medium which finally brought the message home for me.
The radiant sun in the center of the design represents the heart.
When I STOP long enough I can watch my breath, and slow down into yoga postures that help me connect to the world around me— standing in front of my favorite tree in a field in Yufuin, or in front of an abstract square sculpture in the middle of New York City; looking up to the sky, watching as buildings touch the clouds, or staring at a clear blue expanse of sea.
To STOP is to connect to a stillness which at the same time is always in movement.
It took me a long time to pause on my journey long enough to feel this. “TOMARE” continues to teach me and point me in the way to new “Starts”.