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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Halpern

The Mindful Path — Ichigo Ichie | Nov. 3, 2022

Bunka No Hi is a national holiday in Japan celebrating Japanese culture. It is held in November every year and each region has its own unique cultural celebration. Denver Takayama Sister Cities will be celebrating Bunka No Hi with performances and presentations by local and national experts. The History Colorado Center will host the Bunka No Hi celebration on Saturday, November 5, 2022, beginning at 11:00 a.m. For more information visit: www.historycolorado.org

November is the perfect month to consider the Japanese concept of ichigo ichie. This Japanese proverb can be translated as, "in this moment, an opportunity” and also as "only once, a meeting." Each moment is a convergence of time, energy and thought which creates a unique opportunity that will never be repeated in the same way again. Ichigo ichie originated with the Japanese Tea ceremony. If we find ourselves living a rushed, pressured existence, the joy and wonder of our days could be lost forever.

The cultivation and practice of ichigo ichie can allow us to lead a more fulfilled life without feeling weighed down by the past or anxious about the future. Each encounter of our life can be a practice of awareness and appreciation. Ichigo ichie is one meeting, in one lifetime. Thus, our lives are a collection of unique experiences that can never be exactly replicated again. Even our routine activities, such as having our morning tea or coffee, can be done in a meaningful way.

Here are 5 simple concepts to encourage ichigo ichie:

1. Live in the present. Ruminating on the past or worrying about the future are the dual thieves that can rob us of the joy of today. To corral our thoughts, we can practice deep, slow breaths to center ourselves.

2. Try something new. Savor the opportunity to do something unique and different. This is a great opportunity to reflect on experiential trips, events, concerts, and outings that would make the perfect holiday gifts. Give experiences rather than things.

3. Embrace simplicity. When considering our belongings, relationships, and thoughts how can we dismantle the clutter of complexity and welcome simplicity. Often choosing the simple way saves time and effort. We can contemplate this concept as we plan our holiday gatherings.

4. Let go of negativity and accept imperfection as a vital part of life.

5. Choose to approach each encounter with love and kindness. The more rushed we feel the harder it is to be at our best. We can shift our attention to the importance of the present and the person especially if we give ourselves adequate time.

Happy Bunka No Hi and Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the vitality of each moment and the treasure of this day. To learn more about this powerful concept, check out “The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the Most of Every Moment, the Japanese Way” by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

Photo credit: Ricky Davis

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