Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Sei-hin" and Abundance

(Another little painting/printing experiment, playing with language/composition ideas)

Every week I receive a newsletter from Chiro and Yuka Ichiroya in Osaka, Japan, owners of Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA. They sell Japanese fabrics, vintage and antique kimono,obi and other items. Sometimes their newsletters describe Japanese holidays and culture, sometimes Chiro's Japanese perspective on world events. They are always interesting.

In newsletter No. 275, Chiro wrote his response to the American automobile industry crisis and the huge salaries of American automaker CEO's by comparing their income with the much lower ones of Japanese CEO's.

In Japan, many CEOs practice "sei-hin", the Japanese word for honorable poverty. When a company is not prospering, the CEOs may cut or freeze their own salaries. Even in times of prosperity, many CEOs live in small houses, commute to work by train and eat lunch in company cafeterias.

In Japan, CEOs often spend many years coming up through the ranks and "are selected as if they are selected as the captain of the baseball team." This approach can create problems as well, according to Chiro, because people of average ability rise to leadership positions simply because they get along well with others.

To attract visionary leaders, some Japanese companies are starting to offer larger salaries, but that also creates problems. In Japanese culture, especially among the older generation, "when people see very rich, they are apt to think he must be enough avaricious to be able to do something dreadful thing to others."

Now contrast this with today's "Daily Quote" from Abraham-Hicks. "You have to find a way to be all right with thriving because you are always going to want to thrive...The economy is moving forward in response to the desires of people."

"And depriving yourself of something does not make more money for someone else to spend...If there were not people who were purchasing things, then all of the people who are working at manufacturing and marketing them would have to find some other ways of making their living."

One of the questions that the above quote and Chiro's newsletter discussion of "sei-hin" raise in my mind has to do less with "honorable poverty" than redefining abundance.

To me, the current times feel transitional but exciting. Dealing with challenges in every form and on every front stimulate creativity. Choosing new ways of living as individuals and as nations may actually lead us to discover new definitions of abundance. Perhaps this shift will lead more and more people to discover the joys of creative living and applying creative problem solving to innovate solutions for current national and international problems.

Perhaps we are in a time when a balancing is taking place and becoming more oriented to creativity in the workplace and in dealing with our social concerns may lead us to wonderful new ways to address our national and global problems.

I feel incredibly rich and privileged to be able to spend a part of each day creating. To engage in creative activity of any sort, to waken each day with such heartfelt enthusiasm about your work,to dive into the trying parts of creative process while keeping your intentions and focus strong -- to accept problems and failure as a natural part of attaining mastery and success -- this is all part of the incredible challenge and wealth that a creatively inspired life offers. Surely something so wonderful can't help but catch on!

Imagine creativity flourishing in board rooms, in hospitals and in educational systems. Imagine as well a time when storytelling and music and art making and healthy foods and lifestyles are part of EVERY life.

What we imagine we can create, and those of us who are artists and creative people of every kind may be at the forefront of a huge shift in how people live and what we desire for happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Jeanne,
    there must have been a change somewhere as i lost you. some other blog about feedburner comes up in your feed. had to google to relocate you.
    and it only works via copy and paste.
    anyway now that i found you enjoy the holidays.

    neki desu