Today is the 1 year anniversary of the death of Mayumi Tsuda. For those of you that may remember, I originally wrote about her in the post Mayumi.
A short time ago, Akiko was going through some old papers and documents and found a letter from Mayumi. In it, she gives a testimony of keeping track of gratitude and the good things that happen in life.
In her letter, Mayumi mentions something called a "Sundial Diary." This is a journal used to record the happy events, experiences, and observations in one's life. It is not a place for complaining; just seeing the good in everything.
She also mentions "SNI," which is an acronym for Seicho-No-Ie, a non-profit spiritual organization. Seicho-No-Ie has been an integral part of the Minamoto family, but I won't get into that here.
What follows is her letter, translated from Japanese.
I started my sundial diary on January 1st, 2007. It was given to me by the local SNI teacher in Ashiya (Tokyo), Mrs. Murakami. She is always concerned about me and takes good care of me. Since I know that I cannot keep a diary, I did not have a plan to buy it for myself. Since it was given to me by somebody who always supports and encourages me, I decided to start the diary.
Last year, I did not keep the Sundial diary and it was a rather unfortunate year. There were more negative things than positive things that happened in my life. Therefore, I made a resolution. One of my goals of 2008 is to be a very lucky person.
This year, I have been writing the diary, I found that only good things happened when I opened and turned its pages, even though it is just a couple months. Of course, there must have been bad things that happened, but there was none on the record.
At that time I started to keep the diary, it was psychologically painful. Since I am a on leave of absence from work now, nothing so special or fun happened. Although I was told that "I should record only hours of sunshine.", nothing shiny appeared. The only things that I could write were just complaints and gossip. I had nothing to do. Then, I tried to go out and find fun.
At first, I must not have found fun things everyday when I started to go out. After a while, it was getting easier to find a good things among little incidents and occasions in daily life. For example, the path covered by snow that I saw at night was shining brightly and beautiful. I was so lucky that I could have a taste of a very rare wine, called "Iced Wine," at the department store. I could borrow the book reserved at the library earlier than I expected. And more...
Also I started to try filling out one of the items, Deeds of Love, on the diary by donating a small contribution everyday to the donation box in the convenient stores or fast-food restaurants.
Although I am not good at writing regularly and there were some blank pages on the diary, I still continue to keep my diary.
I believe that this will be a good year when I look back next year and reread the diary. Because there are only good things recorded on the diary. I am thinking that it will be nice to do so. To make it happen, I will continue to write my diary.
The part of "Holy books and Holy Sutras" in the diary is still in blank.. I would like to to fill it out by reading some books and sutras. I was not enthusiastic to read the SNI holy books and sutras. I was recommended to read "365 Golden keys for Women's Happiness" and would like to read it. When I read 1 page per day, I will be able to finish to read it by the end of this year. But I will try to finish to read it faster by speeding up a little bit. Finally, I will become a shiny, joyful and bright lady.
Even though she died in 2008, she did accomplish her goal. She was absolutely a shiny, joyful and bright lady.
A couple of weeks after she died, I decided to go to a local SNI meeting that Mayumi was a part of. At the end of the meeting, Akiko and I were asked to draw something on a post card (on the topic of the meeting). But the only thing in my head was Mayumi. The picture at the top of this post is a small portion of the larger picture we made.
In the drawing you'll notice a small square in two shades of brown. That was Takuin's sole contribution to the drawing. When Mayumi and Takuin would meet, she would usually bring cookies she had baked. Those cookies were small squares, in two shades of brown.
When Akiko saw what I added to the drawing, she new immediately what it was without asking.
I may have inadvertently made everyone feel bad at the meeting. While their pictures were great, and expressed the topic of the meeting splendidly, Takuin was the only one to remember Mayumi. But I never had the impression they felt bad for what I did. It was more likely for what they did not.
As a side note:
Akiko and I were out at a local department store yesterday, and much to our surprise, there was a vendor for the Iced Wine Mayumi mentioned in her letter. We were able to have a sample and it was quite remarkable. I can easily see why Mayumi would write it in her Sundial Diary.