From ancient times to the present, the Japanese people have celebrated the beauty of the seasons and the poignancy of their inevitable evanescence. This sensitivity to seasonal change is an important part of Shinto, Japan’s native belief system. Since ancient times, Shinto has focused on the cycles of the earth and the annual agrarian calendar. A distinctive Japanese convention is to depict a single environment transitioning from spring to summer to autumn to winter in one painting, as in this picture.
In this way, Japanese painters expressed not only their fondness for this natural cycle but also captured an awareness of the inevitability of change, a fundamental Buddhist concept.
In the Book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) we read this well-known text…
For everything its season, and for every activity under heaven its time: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to seek and a time to lose, a time for silence and a time for speech, a time for war and a time for peace. God has made everything to suit its time.
It has taken five decade but now, indeed, my time has come. I have discovered that my sense of identity lies deeply rooted in living authentically, embracing change, and understanding that life is always about growing, changing and evolving.
It has been a slow and difficult lesson to learn that I had to honestly respond to the question “who am I”?. For most of my life I have lived in fear of answering this question because I knew I could not begin to answer it until I accepted and loved myself for who I am… I am transgender.
No longer do I desperately seek personal approval and validation from other people, from the society I live in, nor from my Church. The peace and fulfillment I now experience comes from within: for the very first time I can now say to myself, “I am a beautiful and lovable person”. Only after I had reached this point in my life journey could I begin to explore and discover the richness of my self-identity as a person. In doing so, I have begun to appreciate and to value the richness and the beauty that is to be found in others. Now there seems to be a pearl in every oyster.
Join me as together we walk a road less travelled.
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