What is Evolution?

“We began as a mineral.
We emerged into plant life, and into the animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again.
That’s how a young person turns towards a teacher.
That’s how a baby leans toward the breast, without knowing the secret of its desire, yet turning instinctively.
Humankind is being led along an evolving course, through the migration of intelligences, and though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.”
— The Story of Evolution
Rumi, 13th Century


Visiting Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Fresh off the overnight bus, after a quick stop to drop off my luggage at my capsule hotel, I headed out to explore Arashiyama. With a bus stop right outside the hotel, I grabbed a free tourist map from the lobby and set out on my adventure for day one in Kyoto.

Living in Japan means that I not only have a grasp of the language but also a smart phone with data which (thanks to Google Maps) puts a map literally at my fingertips at all times. 
Nevertheless, having a physical map comes in handy for figuring out stuff like which buses to take to visit all the tourist spots. 

In fact, the bus was my main mode of transport while in Kyoto because of just how efficient they were. 

One 45 minute bus ride later and I was in Arashiyama, Sagano. 
Arashiyama is a district on the western borders of Kyoto and is well known for its lush and picturesque bamboo forest. It is also a nationally designated historic site and Place of Scenic Beauty. 
...and scenic beauty it is! As soon as I arrived I was greeted by the calming song of the bamboos swaying through the air. 

Gio-Ji Temple

There are several paths to exploring Arashiyama, I chose to begin my journey at the peaceful Gio-ji Temple. There was a special joint ticket for both Gio-ji Temple and Daikaku-ji Temple and that is what I purchased. 

I visited Daikaku-ji the following day. 

After leaving Gio-ji  I made my way along the Bamboo path in search of Nonomiya Shrine. 

Along the way I, of course, had to stop to get myself some matcha (green tea) soft ice cream! 

The shops and homes along the Bamboo path were so serene and quaint that I felt a tinge of envy for the persons who get to live there all year round. How beautiful it must when the seasons are changing!

Nonomiya Shrine

Nonomiya is a small Shinto shrine surrounded by the Bamboo Grove. 
The main deity enshrined in this shrine is Nonomiya, also known as Amaterasu aka the Sun Goddess. She is said to answer prayers for health and wisdom.
So naturally that is what I prayed for.

However Nonomiya is most famous as a place where you can pray for marriage luck, pregnancy and a smooth delivery, which is why the shrine is especially popular with women. 
I prayed for none of the above.

FUN FACT: This shrine also appears in the Tale of Genji (one of my fave tales) by Murasaki Shikibu.

These buggies are popular options for getting around the Bamboo forest (especially for couples). 
I, however, chose to get my steps in and go on foot. 

Tenryu-Ji Temple

I would eventually end my morning of walking and exploring Arashiyama at the Tenryu-ji temple with a vegan/vegetarian lunch (Shojin ryori) at Shigetsu, the Zen Vegetarian restaurant located within the temple grounds. 
The meal was delicious and even came with my absolute favourite, nasu dengaku (grilled eggplant with miso sauce). The perfect end to a morning of exploring. 

Tenryu-ji temple is a Zen Buddhist Temple of the Rinzai Sect and one of Kyoto's countless World Heritage Sites. Its pond, Sogenchi Teien (Sogen Pond Garden), is truly a sight to behold. If you are ever in Arashiyama be sure to put this temple on your Bucket List.

All in all, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest gets two big bamboo thumbs up from Nady and is definitely a place I would consider visiting again if life and time permits. 

love big bamboo

Nadya Dee

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Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."