"Barn's burnt down -- now I can see the moon."
This evocative Haiku written by Mizuta Masahide, a 17th century Japanese poet and samurai, has spoken to me deeply since I adopted my treasured son Neal, who has taught me the gifts of leading a purpose-driven life. I aspire each day to be of service to those, like my family, who live with autism and "special needs." In fact, I founded The Miracle Project so others could come to "see the moon" each day by being Miracle Minded™.
My heart is full as I witness the courage, grace, cooperation and compassion at the core of our Japanese brothers and sisters' culture.
In this unimaginable moment of crisis, we hear nothing about looting food or material goods in order to survive, but rather, we learn one story after another about Japanese citizens' instinct to share each bit of food, shelter and clothing with in those in their midst, be they family, stranger, elder or infirmed.
How extraordinary to witness sharing, compassion, generosity, connection, understanding, patience, grace and unconditional love in the most desperate of times. What a blessing to learn of the boundlessness of the human spirit in moments of scarcity as well as abundance.
When disaster strikes and we are brought to our knees, I believe we come to know who we are and what we are made of. In that very moment of revelation, can we mindfully commit to living the rest of our lives from this place of truth, compassion, character and authentic connection to those in our midst, locally and globally?
How can we decide to "see the moon" without having to have our modern day structures fall? We have the opportunity to choose to build more bridges than walls this year, towards creating stronger, more educated and loving communities.
Shall we tell our children the stories of neighbor helping neighbor so they remember that, in the midst of disaster, we can be the one to make a difference to another being?
Perhaps this teachable moment invites the opportunity to understand that each and all of us have "special needs," and by honoring and understanding our own and those of our others, we can open our minds and hearts and be our best/highest selves.
By having an open heart, we can live fully, joyfully, richly and meaningfully and inspire others to do the same, thereby building the kind of communities that thrive in good times and bad, that support children of all circumstance and abilities, that embrace the elderly and those in need.
I love the expression, "Character is what happens when no one is looking." Friends in Japan, we are looking today and we are so moved by who you are -- your instinct to help others through these difficult hours and days.
We are with you for the journey. Today you have special needs; tomorrow, we may have the same. In a second, we can all have special needs. We are all connected. Now is the time to build compassion for people of all abilities.
No matter where we live on earth, there is a moon. Blessings to each and all.