Can you share a little with me? “Chotto chodai”
Finding Yoyu when you are depleted. My secret energy source and how to ask for help when no one is around to give it.
I don’t remember why I chose to walk instead of taking a taxi. Maybe habit. Or, maybe I knew I couldn’t face the taxi driver and give him directions without crying. I was so exhausted that even putting one foot in front of the other was an effort.
What do you do when you have no energy? When you are the caregiver and you’ve used up all your reserves? When you have no yoyu?
Yoyu is a Japanese word used to express one’s capacity to deal with or handle a situation. When you have yoyu, it means you have enough of whatever you need. When you don’t have yoyu, it might be because you don’t have enough time, energy, money, experience, or even peace of mind.
Five years ago today, Akira had surgery. That day I stayed at the hospital alone until visiting hours were over. By that time, I had no yoyu. I was exhausted.
I was so depleted that I barely remember walking from the hospital to the station or getting on the train. However, I vividly remember the final leg, the walk from my station to home.
That 15-minute walk home, 5 years ago, is the secret reason I honor this day every year.
I remember standing in front of the station and willing myself to keep going. My brain was foggy, and I fought back tears. I was shaking.
I wasn’t worried. The surgery had been successful. Yet all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball on the sidewalk and cry. I was depleted.
A small part of me was fascinated. So, this is what it felt like. I had heard people talk about exhaustion. I had seen people act it out in movies. I always thought it was overdramatized. Now I knew it wasn’t. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to make it home.
For a second, I thought about going back over to the taxis. I could see them, but the effort was too great. How was I ever going to make it home?
I thought about crumpling down on the ground. It would feel so good. People were streaming by me on either side going to and from the station. The police box was off to the left. If I crumpled down here, I would have to explain. That would take more energy, so I took another step forward instead.
Then I saw a tree on my right. A beacon of strength standing tall and mostly ignored amidst all the busy people, cars, buses, and neon lights. “Chotto chodai,” I silently begged. “Please share a little with me.”
I had been navigating the hospital scene all day in Japanese, so naturally, the Japanese came out first. It didn’t matter. The tree would know what I needed, whether I spoke Japanese or English. I couldn’t think of what to say in English anyway. Chotto chodai. Please share a little. Please spare a little for me. Not a lot. Not everything. Just a little, please.
Then I looked ahead to the next bit of green I could find. There was a pot of flowers in front of a shop. Chotto chodai. I asked for the flowers to share a little energy with me.
I saw another tree. Chotto chodai. Spare, a little, please.
I saw a dandelion growing in the crack in the cement between two buildings. Chotto chodai. Share a little, please.
I kept walking. I saw some moss on the curb. Chotto chodai. Spare a little, please.
The tears streamed down my face. I hoped no one was looking at me. I wasn’t embarrassed, I was worried about the effort of explaining why I was crying.
I saw another tree. Chotto chodai. Share a little, please.
I reached the next intersection. I saw a young, thin tree, itself probably struggling to survive alongside the busy street. Chotto chodai. Spare a little, please. I vowed I would return the favor someday.
I walked with one tree, one bush, one weed in front of the other until I reached home. I made it thanks to my new friends along the way. I never realized how much green is alive in this city. I entered my home with more energy and peace than when I had left the hospital.
I’ve walked the same route to and from the station hundreds of times since then. Many of the trees that helped me home that day still stand. I thank them one by one as I walk.
I admit I don’t always remember to share, so somedays I make it a point to retrace my steps. Then, I share with everything I can find. I share with the trees, the flowers, the weeds, the ants, the birds, the rocks, and even some of the people.
I learned that day that Source is always present. There is always help for me when I need it. I have only to ask. And asking for help and receiving it does not mean I am depleting another. A little here. A little there. It all adds up.
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About the Author:
Hi! I'm Marci. When I'm not writing, building websites, or coaching clients, I love walking the streets of Japan and discovering spirit in all shapes and forms. Here on the blog, you'll also get a peek into what it is like to live with and care for my Japanese father-in-law who has Alzheimer’s. Enjoy!