Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Transitioning phase has begun!

(Recently completed 1st kyu test in Aikido in Madison, WI)

Already October! The leaves are fluttering all about, people are raking their lawns, geese are gathering, and of course pumpkins are appearing all over the place.
While fall has been lasting for quite some time now, the frost is coming and the trees will soon be bare. 
Recent haiku I thought of while walking down the sidewalk the other day (10.17.17)

"Like children running-
I welcome the blowing leaves
with open arms!" - Makoto

I have begun signing my poems with the pen name 'Makoto' because my initials 'MU' are the same as my fathers, and the same as my sisters. I always enjoyed these initials because in japanese the workd 'MU' means 'nothing'... how appropriate! So, although it was never an issue, I felt it was time for a pen name. How did I acquire it? It was a gift. It is a japanese name meaning 'truth or sincerity'. 
The best things in life are given to us... I value this gift as it is a wonderful name with a meaning that gives one cause to always strive to do what is right, to keep one's intentions sincere. 
After my father passed on, I was up in the Pacific Northwest and I went to visit the Shinto shrine, Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America run by Rev. Koichi Barrish. What a wonderful place to go see!
Sensei Koichi Barrish agreed to do a ceremony honoring my late father, and I also made known to him that I was seeking a new 'pen name', and if anything spoke to him during the ceremony that was appropriate that I would be  honored to receive it from him. I don't want to get into all the details here, but it was truly an incredible experience and brought much needed closure for me as well as a profound sense of peace. Walking the temple grounds afterwards and taking in the gorgeous river that runs through the backyard I felt what a special place that is. There is a true sacredness in the domain of nature as it should be,  something that you can feel in our very bones by spending time in places that have less of a human print on them.

Now on my final year of architecture school, I am forced to look ahead into the not too distant future and wonder- what next? What perfect time of year to have such thoughts...the changing of the season corresponding to this huge transition beginning for me. I have been in architecture school for the past 7 years. It has become such a norm to me that thinking about life without school in it actually feels kind of strange! I am excited for this next chapter of my life, and looking forward to the experiences that it will bring. My time has been split between Aikido, School and Work, with very little trail running actually taking place these days. I find you can have three things in your life, any more than that and you just end up dabbling... if you truly want to get good at something, you have to pare it down to three. Life can be interesting in that many times, you don't even get to choose these three...
You sort of come up for air one day and find them there. If you are lucky you get to choose maybe one...but two? You are blessed. Choose wisely, how you spend your time defines you.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

At the end, at the beginning!

Here we are, the last day of 2016!
This day always brings up so many different trains of thought. People like to reflect on what they have achieved over the last year, maybe comparing it to years past and those achievements or regrets that have brought them to where they are today. I am no different, much of this morning has been filled with fleeting thoughts of goals set and met, and also of goals that have slipped on by...

2016 was such a year of transitions! And while it will be over at midnight, it is now launching all of us forward. I welcome the New Year with much anticipation, as new ventures unfold and new memories are made. I have spent much of this year doing the same as I have for the last seven, continuing onward through architecture school. However of course there are the other goals that run parallel- in years past it was racing, running farther and farther, challenging myself and my body to ultra marathons and seeing how far I could go...

This year, after the passing of my father, it was an inward journey. How far could I go back to find myself, the self that existed before the running, before architecture school, before adult life began, before I lost my dad. This too was an ultra of sorts, because it was full of unknowns. It was full of ups and downs, an emotional roller coaster. But it was a necessary journey, and I am thankful I took the time to truly go through with it. This type of self reflection I think is so easy to abandon. It is easy to just keep going forward, because going back is hard! Deciding to stop is hard. Much easier to keep the momentum going. It may seem like a waste of time to look back, to stop and reflect. Many people say don't bother, the past is gone...but I don't believe that. I don't believe the past is any less real than the time given to us today. It's all part of who we are, and the present becomes the past in an instant. Are we learning as we go, or are we merely stumbling ahead? Being still brings us back to now. It is easy to lose sight of things when we are constantly pushing onward, without taking the time now and then to look over our shoulder. Did you drop something? Did you forget something? Does it matter? Maybe not. But in my case it did. I looked back, and realized that there was a part of me that mattered very much that had been dormant for awhile. Like it was sitting on the bench, waiting to get back in the game. And I would not have found that part of me if I had not gone back for it. If I had not taken the time to realize it was even missing in the life that had begun to sprout from my constant forward progression.

There are phases in life. I truly believe that. Sometimes we are not ready for something to be revealed to us, sometimes it is and we miss it. We look back one day and we understand, and we change accordingly, or we acknowledge this truth and that simple acceptance shifts things in our thinking, which shifts things in our actions, which shifts things in our lives. All from a glance over the shoulder...

It is important to press on, to seek the new dawn that awaits us. It is important as well to remember the things that make us feel joy and love, and give us direction and stability. The things that become our compass through this life, whatever they may be. Hold on to them, and if you happen to lose sight of them, go back and find them. Take the time, it isn't going to slow you down. If anything, it will slingshot you ahead. Be brave. Everything is as it should be.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Following up to July 19th juice cleanse!

Sorry for having taken so long to follow up to the juice cleanse I talked about in my last entry! As you can see I survived, and it did the trick. Today is October 9th and I have not had a drop of coffee since. I have been drinking hot tea, which I now have probaby a dozen different kinds, but overall I feel a lot better. In fact, I feel better all day long so it is easy to not go back. It is always easier to go the path of least resistance no? I have found that if I try something and I like it better, I stick with it. The same probably holds true for most of us. It comes down to taking the initiative to START. Thats always the hardest step, the first one out the door...however, it is like the story of the wild goose. No one tells him to go, he knows and just starts flying...

Details??? Ah, so the cleanse went like this...
Day one: Pick up groceries. A LOT of groceries. I think the apples alone was like 125.00. Yeah, waaaay too many apples. You do not need a case, although it is supposedly cheaper. That is a ton of apples. Buy a dozen and just get started. I bought what I figured was the total amount needed for the entire time because then I would be committed you know? It worked, but it was overkill and I was eating apples and juicing apples for like 2-3 weeks afterwards...
Day two: Hungry. But not starving. The juices are actually pretty good, by middle of day 2 the headache comes. Not severe, but there perhaps as a reminder that your body knows something is not quite the usual... a little hard to focus because I think your mind is wondering when you are going to eat, maybe a survival instinct? Who knows. Stay strong.

Day two midday: Had to leave work because my headache progressively got worse. At home it was pounding, I began to doubt the cleanse, but just laid down and hoped it would pass. It turned into a migraine, which must have been my body detoxifying because somewhere around 9 pm I got really nauseous and had the dry heaves (crazy!!!) which lasted about 2 hours... then finally sleep. Woke up feeling pretty good, very clear headed. And very ready to be done!
Let me just say that I am a firm believer in that the worse you feel during something like this, the worse you probably were to begin with health-wise. Whatever my body was kicking out, I am glad it did. I am sure I am better off for it!

Day 3: A little weak, but able to work all day. Came home and had a great dinner of greens and healthy food stuffs. Nothing too crazy, but savored it all. Said farewell to coffee for awhile, because it felt so good to just wake up and be alert, and not half out of it.

Afterthoughts- coffee is pretty acidic, and if you drink it like I was (cup in the morning, americano maybe mid-morning...maybe another after work, etc) thats tough on your system. My energy levels were always up and down, and I would feel bloated around mid day. I feel much more balanced now, healthier, happier and at ease. That was worth changing my habits. Each of us is different, we have to constantly refine ourselves as we go. That's what life is all about, paying attention and getting back on track when we wander off.
Take time for self reflection, study your habits, they are what you spend a lot of time thinking about and doing! Are they propelling you forward or holding you back? Be honest with yourself, life goes by too quickly to half ass it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


After my run today with my brother, I decided that I really need to cut back on my coffee intake. I drink quite a bit of coffee, and I am sure I would feel better if I just quit for a bit and got off the stimulus it provides. Since I always go all in, why not make it a complete cleansing period?
I did some research online, and found a great blog post by Doug Hay who was also an ultrarunner.

You can check it out yourself at:

Question 1 : How is this going to affect my current training? 
Since Doug was also training for an ultra when he did his cleanse (which was also for three days, not two like mine) I felt his advice was great for me. Since he mentioned the worst symptoms came on at the 12 h mark, I started my cleanse today, at 5:30 pm. This will allow me to wake up and then drink another one right away, hopefully this will ease the hunger pains a little. I also am going to add chia seeds to my juice drinks, for the extra protein/energy. Things can get demanding at the architecture firm where I work and I want to stay on my game :)

Question 2: How expensive is this going to be?
I got lucky here since I already own a pretty nice juicer, an Omega Juicer 8004. This machine is amazing, juices anything (handles wheatgrass very well due to it being a 'masticating' juicer, meaning that it doesn't use spinning blades but actually presses the juice out with an auger type bit.Rinse and done. Back to the cost, I was just looking at a grocery bill. Which mind you, would have been a lot less if I had noticed that it called for 24 apples and not a case. The case was expensive, at 40lbs. That being said, I am going to be juicing A LOT of apples over the next two days. There will also be a lot of leftover 'stuff' I am sure.
Bill: 165.00

Question 3: Whats going to happen to me?
 Ha ha, this is where it gets a little exciting and a little scary. Since it is only for 48 hours ( of which 16 I will be sleeping, hopefully) the worst symptoms Doug mentioned are headaches, fatigue and hunger (go figure). I think the worst will be the hunger pains and the coffee withdrawal. Both of which should clear by the morning on Tuesday (it is currently Sunday evening, 7:12 pm. I began the cleanse at 5:30 pm today) so we will see. Since I eat pretty healthy already (green smoothies every morning, low meat intake, no junk food, no soda, no alcohol, etc.) I am not expecting this to get too painful. That is my hope...

Question 4: Whats going to happen afterwards?
 When the 48 hours is up, I am going to gratefully sit down to some quinoa and salad with walnuts and roasted beets. After that, for the following 30 days I will abstain from coffee completely, and continue my morning green smoothies except I will be following a new rule of thumb of ABC (apple, beet, carrot) juice intake daily. Each day starts with lemon juice and warm water, to stimulate the digestive system (this also helps to clear the skin).

In closing, I am excited to do this. I feel like it is time to make some good moves with my food intake and to help take my training to the next level. What better gift to give oneself then amazing health? The human body is meant to feel amazing, everyday. To do amazing things, everyday. Anything less and it could be said that you are merely cheating yourself out of a life filled with a healthier, happier you.
I will be posting more on this experience as it unfolds for those who may be interested in trying it themselves someday.