Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Every Visit Is a Spiritual Visit"

Last week I met a gentleman on our hospice -- a doctor, actually -- who made an interesting comment to me. I introduced myself as the spiritual counselor and said something about how we could have a "spiritual visit." His response was something like: "Every visit is a spiritual visit." I thought that was a pretty cool response! This doctor understands the underlying quality of spirituality around all people, all connections, and all life.

Meanwhile, I also attended a "Living with Grief" seminar last week, the 17th Annual Teleconference sponsored by the Hospice Foundation of America. This teleconference focused on "Cancer and End-of-Life Care" and was quite well done. I heard some helpful and wise comments being shared during the three-hour program. Some of these were:

1) Hospice should not be "brink of death" care!
2) No matter what the patient is dealing with, there is always something that can be done (to ease the person's suffering).
3) Uncertainty makes doctors and scientists in particular very uncomfortable.
4) As the cancer progresses, "com-passion" is key. Attentive listening -- being present and honoring all that is said -- and asking meaningful questions can also be helpful.
5) Hospice can often bring a calming influence into a difficult situation.
6) There is significance in the telling of and sharing stories, especially as the end-of-life draws near.

One question I might leave you with from the seminar is: "What is a good death?" What might you consider to be a good death? What would be some of the ingredients, if you were considering your own death, or the death of a close loved one?

If you're interested in learning more about what hospice is, I invite you to see my article, "What Is Hospice Care, Anyway?" that is available on the home page of my website.

Blessings on the journey, and have a most Blessed Easter! Dancing heart~~~

p.s. If you are interested in some titles related to end-of-life care, you might like to see the last two articles at my site.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ANPO, My Sister Linda's Second Documentary related to U.S.-Japanese Relations Coming in June

Linda Hoaglund, the co-producer of Wings of Defeat (2007), is getting ready to debut her second film this June. It is called ANPO, the Japanese abbreviated name for the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty that was negotiated in 1951, after WWII; and it comes at a critical time between U.S. - Japan relations.

ANPO opens as a squadron of F-16 fighter jets thunder directly over local traffic to land on Kadena, the largest U.S. airbase in Asia. Ten miles south, the urban homes that crowd Futenma Marine Corps Air Station shake from the numbing drone of C-130 cargo planes whose novice pilots repeatedly practice “touch-and-go” take-offs and landings.

The U.S. base at Futenma is one of 30 bases in Okinawa, an island that makes up only 1% of Japan’s land mass while shouldering the burden of 75% of the U.S. military installations in Japan. That presence includes over 28,000 American troops. America’s military presence was negotiated in 1951 under the terms of the lopsided U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty, known in Japan as “ANPO.” Under its provisions, American soldiers who rape Japanese women and girls are seldom prosecuted. Prime farming lands have been confiscated from farmers to extend jet runways. Civilians are killed in hit-and-run accidents by drunken US servicemen with few held to account. In one egregious case, a woman collecting shell casings to sell as scrap metal was shot in the back and killed by a U.S. soldier who served no time for her death.

Protests by Japanese enraged by the onerous terms of the security treaty have generally been ignored by Japan’s ruling party. Yet for a brief window of time during the summer of 1960, shopkeepers, children, and housewives joined a coalition of artists, farmers, students, laborers, and intellectuals in a series of massive demonstrations to block the renewal of the treaty. Hundreds of thousands of protestors marched on the Japanese parliament to demand an end to the unequal partnership with Washington. Among the protesters were some of Japan's most talented artists. They used the creativity of their paintings, film, photography, manga, and music to give a powerful voice to the protests and to document the many ways in which the American military presence has intruded upon Japanese life and sovereignty.

ANPO showcases the resulting artistic treasure trove that has been largely locked away in Japanese museum vaults and film archives to take an unprecedented look back into a forgotten period of Japanese history, when a nascent democratic movement almost changed the course of an entire nation. The artists speak about how the events of that summer forever changed them and their art. We hear from a survivor of the Lucky Dragon, a Japanese fishing vessel that on March 1,1954 was in the path of deadly fallout from a 15 megaton thermonuclear test blast whose effects became a rallying cry for the Japanese protesting against nuclear armament and the U.S-Japan security treaty (see top video below). ANPO also incorporates film clips from Japanese classics and riveting archival footage that shows the passion of the protestors who flooded the streets to fight for democracy.

While memories of what happened decades ago during that summer of anger have faded, the legacy of the artists and the protests they captured is more relevant today than ever before. A new government has come to power in Japan, promising to confront Washington over its massive military footprint on Okinawa. A lawsuit by a small group of citizens to protect the Okinawa Manatee and one of the island's last coral reefs from destruction by construction of a new U.S. military base is making headlines and interfering with business as usual between Washington and Tokyo. Interviews with contemporary artists reveal the organic link between Japan’s political history and its broad creative culture and indicate that recent events could again spark a political upheaval not seen since the summer of 1960.

The film was shot in high-definition video by Yamazaki Yutaka, one of Japan’s most accomplished cameramen. He has filmed hundreds of documentaries, worked on the celebrated films of Kore-eda Hirokazu, and filmed the 1960 ANPO protests as a student. Playing a key advisory role is Dr. John Dower, Professor of History at MIT and the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat, the definitive study of postwar Japanese culture and politics.

ANPO aims to entertain its audience with a fascinating look at an unknown period of Japanese activism through the eyes of the world-class Japanese artists who lived the experience. But its lessons about American overreach and the anger its unwanted military presence engenders can just as easily apply to U.S. plans for permanent military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. As we enter into an age of greater political transparency under different administrations in the U.S. and Japan, now is as pressing a time as ever to examine the complexities and limits of America’s presence on the world stage.

May Peace prevail on Earth, Dancing heart~~~

p.s. For more articles that Dancing Heart has written for, see this link.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I need your support to self-publish my upcoming book!

I'm now on a fast track to get my new book published. I didn't realize until about a month ago that I had a book, and then a title that I'm ready to go with.

My forthcoming book will be titled: The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? I hope to wake up the American public a little bit with this title; and I plan to include more personal stories and reflections in this book. After each of the chapters I will also have suggested exercises that readers can practice to help them go deeper spiritually. So it will have the flavor of being a workbook -- a companion book to go with The Last Adventure of Life.

If you are interested in being part of this process, I would very much appreciate your financial support. You can download my preview/pre-order sheet, or go to my website to donate through Paypal or by cc. I'm suggesting that you give $33, the mystical, magical, master number for infinite possibilities! And for those who donate $33 or more, I'll make sure that you receive an autographed copy of my book as soon as it is released -- early May.

You may also be interested that you can now purchase my mini-books -- both the small print and large print versions -- online. Just go to my home page and scroll down. You'll see the Buy Now button on the left side. These lovely little books make great gifts and introduce The Last Adventure of Life in a good way.

Thank you for your beauty, light, and courage! Keep shining in this sometimes very confused and fearful world. And Happy Girls Day (in Japan), all you girls and women out there ;) Infinite Joy and deLight, Dancing heart~~~

p.s. Please have a look at my articles when you get the chance. I have 221 articles posted there now...