Stress: to reduce, to live with, or to turn into…

There is always a “second best” choice. But it seems like that a second best can be even better than the best.

There are different ways to get old. A few years ago I wrote about a demented president of a micro company that I worked for. He tried hard to find and point out other people’s mistakes to show he was smarter than others, but it never worked out. He was around 60 years old then. On the other hand, there are amazing elders. I was impressed by this internet article, 70-year-old woman runs 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. Even a 70-year-old woman who runs a full marathon is amazing enough. And she did SEVEN marathons on SEVEN continents in SEVEN days! This fact is incredible enough, and her comment impressed me further.

“I live a stressful life. Every day, I work 10 hours a day … but I always feel better,” Smith said. “How I feel after I put in my running, I think that’s important. It makes you feel good. I can’t really put it into words.”

Many people spend a busy, stressful life today. But how many of them can turn it into good feeling? Not many. When people work long hours daily and feel stressed, while some people simply live with it, probably “the best” solution is to reduce the workload and avoid stress. However, when the best one does not work, it seems like that some people choose “a second best” solution to do something else in their rare spare time to make themselves feel better. I admire them. In her case it turned out to be an amazing story and encourages others.

As I wrote in the previous post, my lifestyle will change soon, which I expect to be an opportunity to see how this year’s resolution would work; to mind my breath to be mindful. If workload cannot be reduced, another second best choice is to see the situation from a different perspective. Let’s see.

Be mindful

Three days, three months, three years. Some people say those are the timings when people think of quitting their job. I know a few people who quit their job on day three or four. It was in the third year in my first job when I thought of a different career path.

In last couple of years, I wrote about “New Year’s” resolution in March. The resolution for the year 2015 was “to ignite my intellectual curiosity“. The resolution for the year 2016 was “to visit a historical site once a month“. Three months should be long enough for many people to quit New Year’s resolution. If you have kept a resolution for three months, you may want to continue it longer, up to a year, or even longer.

In early January this year, I wrote about a “candidate” of New Year’s resolution, which is to mind my breath to be mindful. It’s been a little more than two months since then, and it turned out to be quite difficult. Mindful means to be “deliberately aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, in order to create a feeling of calm (Cambridge University Press, 2017)”. Whether you mind your breath or not, you won’t be choked, of course. But when you don’t mind your breath, your mind may be occupied by something unimportant or worthless. In fact, when I feel somehow stressed and uncomfortable, especially at work, I find myself not breathing comfortably and negative mind has emerged. To mind your breath is a good start to spend a mindful life. Trying it for a couple of month is just enough to find how difficult it is. Now the candidate has got the position.

I know my life style will change soon; I’ll go back to Canada and play a different role at work. I expect it to be stressful. Let’s see how I can (or cannot) keep calm there.

Combridge University Press. (2017, 3 16). Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved from Meaning of “mindful” in the English Dictionary:

Thank technology

I’ve found that recent posts are all about street musicians… I really like it, and it used to be 一期一会 – ichigo-ichie; one opportunity to meet one person, so people should appreciate the opportunity and show their supreme respect. I often stopped at a street singer’s performance, bur it was rare to see them twice. But thanks to today’s technology, street singers and their fans can be connected through Twitter or blog wherever they are. They can even broadcast their live performance whether they are at a live music club or in their room.

Twit Casting, or ツイキャス, is a main tool for them to show their live performance online. One day, I found a very nice singer songwriter on it. Her voice is very soft and soothing, and she gave me a relaxing time before going to bed. Her name is Hiromi Karino, or Hiromin. I also found her on Twitter and YouTube, and left some comments. She gradually recognized me as a fan of her. But I live in Nagoya, and she lives in Tokyo.

Yesterday, I finally had a chance to see her live performance! I went to my parent’s place in Yokohama to prepare for moving to Canada, and went to a small live music club in Tokyo. When we met, we instantly recognized each other though it was the first time to meet in person. We had some minutes to chat, and I felt we’ve known each other for a long time.

I thank technology for connecting us, but no technology beats live performance. It is literally “live”. I don’t only listen but feel it. I can be part of it. On the stage, she left the microphone for a few seconds, and her voice directly reached me. It was a special moment. Well, I still thank technology for giving an opportunity like that.

This weekend turned out to be a singer songwriters’ weekend. Yesterday I met Hiromi Karino, then I saw Idea on stage this afternoon. I finished today with Airi Nagoya on the street. I listen to their songs on CD daily, but live performance is always unbeatable.

Make someone happy

A few weeks ago I wrote about an “unhappy” cafe. That story continues. After leaving the cafe, I had a chance to see a singer’s performance on a small outdoor stage in front of a train station. Her name is Idea. She is cool and lively, and has excellent voice. Few people can impress me like she does. I became a fan of her, and went to a live music club to see her performance as I wrote in the previous post.

Yesterday I went to see an audition, held in a shopping mall, that she participated in. The winners would perform on an outdoor stage in the shopping mall. When the audition was about to start, she found me in the audience. There were ten candidates, and everyone sang one song in front of the big audience. She did an excellent job, and I was impressed. I’m sure other people, including the judges, were impressed as well. After the audition, the audience had a chance to talk to their favourite singer. I talked to her, of course. She thanked me for coming and said “I was so nervous, but I found you in the audience and thought I would be all right!” How nice of her is it to say such a thing to me? I like to see her performance because it encourages me, and it’s so good to know that I encourage her.

The result of the audition was presented today. She got the position. No surprise.

It’s also good to know that there is still room in my heart to praise other people’s success, which I often forget when I feel miserable. It’s good to know that the loser can still make someone happy.

Good to know I’m still alive (as a human)

Some people do what they like and it is also good for others, whether they can live on it or not. I like to see people like them.

In a previous post, I wrote about my favourite street singer Airi Nagoya. I like watching, or in other words, being part of street musician’s performance; street performance is created by a singer and the audience.Those street singers like to sing songs and send messages to their audience, and their messages and the attitude encourage the audience. When their singing touches my heart, I feel I’m still alive.

This week, on a weekday, I had a chance to go to a small live music club after work to see four singer-songwriter’s performance. I only knew one of the four, whose name is Idea. I didn’t know any of the other three, and it turned out to be fabulous experience. Everyone has a different character, has their own way of singing, and sends different messages. I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the four, Risa Hirano, touched my heart in a different way from anyone else. When she sang her song titled “Pony”, I was moved to tears, literally.

I adored Pegasus who can fly high in the sky and
came here, hoping my dream would come true soon, but…
I’ve kept running, and running, but I still cannot grow wings.

(Lyrics by Risa Hirano, translated by Hiro)

I am still a loser; I’m like a pony without wings. But the pony in her song keeps striving. How about… me? One good thing is I still have the heart to be touched. When I came back from Canada a year and a few months ago, I wrote about “face“. Which am I now? Am I one of human people, or one of emotionless people? Tear often washes out bad feelings. I’m still alive as a human.