Japanese wisdom in action
?Fall down seven times, get up eight?
The first time I heard this quote was when watching TV. It appeared on a poster in a character?s bedroom during a flashback scene in Orange is the New Black.
The phrase struck a chord with me.
I liked the imagery of the strength that it takes to physically get up off the ground after falling down. And in turn, it makes for a good metaphor when we are knocked around emotionally and have the strength to move past it.
You are here, what are you going to do about it? Photo by John Baker on Unsplash
Today, I felt the wisdom of this quote.
Yesterday I had a big whinge about life. My life is very good. I know. But last night I felt the combination of a weight of issues fall on me. And I succumbed to the pressure. So, I had a whinge about it.
I felt sorry for myself. Throwing myself a little pity party. I also wrote about it on here.
Admittedly, I am embarrassed about what I wrote. But I will keep it up as it was me at a point in time. Just a lower point than I usually like to operate at.
At work today, I was walking down the stairs and all of a sudden it struck me. The fact I feel low right now is ok, it is what I do next that will make the most difference.
Sure, I could stay in a sorry state, feeling emotional and drained as a result. But really, it is time to get over it and get on with it.
The quote, ?fall down seven times, get up eight? came back to me. I realized this was the time for me to put this wisdom into action.
I am the master of my thoughts. I will not be mastered by them.
Right now, I am focusing on the good that is around me, and within. There is a lot.
I did a little research on the quote to find its origin. I was surprised to find that it is a Japanese proverb. The original wording is: ?nana korobi ya oki?, which translates to: ?seven falls, eight getting up?.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be in Japan. It was a life-long dream to go there. For the last few years I have spoken with my husband about traveling to Japan. This year we finally made it.
It was a wonderful trip.
The people are polite, respectful and helpful. The food is flavorsome and delicious. The cities are clean. I felt safe wandering around. Especially in Kyoto. That is one city where you do want to walk down a dark alley and see what you can find. There?s no other city in the world where I would actively seek out dark alleyways.
There is one street in Kyoto where you do need to be careful though.
Ninen-zaka. Photo by me
It is called Ninen-zaka, and is a beautiful lane filled with gift shops, coffee shops and traditional, yet modern, architecture. There is a starbucks too. The first starbucks I?ve even been to where you can sit on tatami mats to enjoy your brew. I chose a sakura, or cherry blossom, latte.
In this lane, there is a myth that if you fall down here you will die within two years.
My husband, friends and I walked the street three times, and I am pleased to say we traversed the stone steps and walkway incident-free each time.
What does this have to do with falling down seven times and getting back up eight?
For me the connection is that when walking along Ninen-zaka, you can pay close attention to how you walk, to avoid an unwanted early demise.
But if you do that, you risk not appreciating the beauty of the street. The detailed architecture, the colorful gifts in the storefront windows, the friendly, but shy smiles of the locals as you pass by.
Rather than focusing on the negative state I am in right now, I want to bounce back. I want to get back up. I don?t want life to pass me by. I want to appreciate the good that is around me.
There is a lot to be grateful for.