Finding Ourselves in Loss
Proximity to Reality: Somos Cubanos

The Mountain and the Flowers

For those who know me, I quote my mother often. Her words and advice have shaped my life and my aspirations.

Lanikai dreams 7.14.16One of her most memorable quotes is:

Breathe in the mountain

and breathe out flowers.

It is a powerful phrase to me and my family. It speaks to my mother's zen spirituality, her inner strength, her creative force and her focus on the good and positive. Think about this phrase.

Say it as you breathe in and out. What does it feel like? What does it mean to you?

This was one of the very last phrases my mother said to me. Like a reminder of what was important, a reminder of her teachings. I said it back to her so she knew I understood. 

Below is a an excerpt of my thoughts about what this phrase means to me: 

 

My parents built a bedrock of love and support beneath our family


We stand on a Mountain of gratitude and enjoy the Flowers of their generosity

 

Breathe in the mountain and breathe out flowers

 Breathe in the mountain and breathe out flowers 

 

In many ways my Dad is the mountain

 

Silent and overbearing

Powerful, ominous and strong

Never moving, but almost undetectably shifting and evolving

Clouds gone, the mountain appears. (Zen proverb)

He cast a long shadow, a Japanese Nisei shadow, the shadow of the Samurai

A shadow of unspoken expectations

A shadow of protection

A shadow of love

 

And my mother is the flowers

 

Flowers never fail or disappoint you

Flowers always brighten your way

Flowers flirt and bring you peace

Flowers are always kind, always

They want your attention but never demand it

The flowers we breathe out are the flowers of our best selves

Our most loving, openhearted, compassionate and generous selves

A single flower can redeem the loneliness of a room.  Like a single soul can illuminate the world.

It is always about our humility. Our understanding of our commonness.

That we are but a small part of the world and yet can make a difference everyday. 

It is noticing the world through love and kindness.

Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower. (Shigenori Kameoka)

 

Mountains are our values and our identity from our ancestors who suffered and sacrificed and gave us destiny.

Flowers remind us of the seasons, of time, of our sensuousness, of our inner potential to bloom.

I have the mountain and the flowers in me. We all do.

Everyday I try, I try to breathe in the power of the mountain and everyday I try to breathe out the fragrance of the flowers.

And for a fleeting flicker of a moment, I become my mother and my father, reminded of who I am and who I can be.

We all have mountains and flowers.

 Why does it take death for us to come together, to make us appreciate what we have and who we are?

Because this is part of life. Our time is precious and short. Never too late. To pay attention to things, to know ourselves, and love one another and why we are here.

A time is coming when a flower freshly observed will trigger a revolution. (Cezanne)

That time is today.

So how do we  freshly observe our mountains and flowers--and trigger our own revolutions?!

Let's breathe together.    One big breath together

Breathe in the mountain     And breathe out flowers.

 

Thanks for reading. John

 

A haiku in honor of my father Rod Y. Kobara and my mother Tomi D. Kobara:

 

Breathe in the mountain

Power of love and kindness

Breathe out flowers

 

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