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Don’t let the sadness ruin the happiness

Reading this article, where a woman died on the fourth of July due to Covid-19, on what was usually a happy occasion for the victim’s daughter, reminded me of my own father’s death. You don’t get to choose the day you die (if Dad said that it would sound like ‘the die you die’), obviously, but when it happens on a day that is related to something else, something generally happy, it can be hard to enjoy that day without it bringing back memories. I get that, but I don’t think it’s helpful.

My father died on ANZAC day four years ago now, which is also a day for remembering the dead, but it was close to Golden Week in Japan, where a bunch of holidays come close to one another. I remember thinking that Dad’s death would always ruin my Golden Week. It might be because of recent developments that meant that this year’s Golden Week was anything but golden, but I’ve been making a conscious effort not to let the sadness of things that happen to me ruin the happiness that would otherwise be felt.

Of course you should reflect on the events the past, but you shouldn’t let them drag you down. You should always look to move on as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. I think this is one of the best advantages of living the Uketamo philosophy, because it enables you to move on quicker than you would otherwise be able to do so, and it means your sadness doesn’t ruin your happiness (which in turn can also lead to the sadness of others if you’re not careful).

So, now for some practical advice. When you’re in this situation, focus on keeping a daily rhythm, focus on keeping the house maintained, eating well, and making sure you get exercise. This helps keep your mind from wandering off to bad thoughts. Also, allow yourself to feel sad, but do things that make you feel happy, for example going out for ice-cream or to a cafe or something else that you might enjoy. Don’t forget to take some quiet time for yourself either, whatever that might mean. I recommend either meditation, or simply making a habit of going for walks, or spending time out in nature. Do this when you are triggered into remembering past events also.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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