“Iconic” is the new fashion phrase this spring. Shoes are iconic; belts and watches: iconic. I was confused, so I looked it up. An icon is “A representation of a sacred or sanctified personage.” My Jizo & Chibi jewelry are iconic!
Jizo (Ksitigarbga in Sanskrit) is the Earth Womb in Buddhism, the Bodhisattva who promised Buddha he would remain on earth until all beings were finished suffering. Chibi is a different kind of sacred personage: the inner child or your own child. Chibi means “little one” in Japanese.
I made Jizo, a talisman to hold you safely on your journeys through grief and fear, unmet wishes, necessary and unnecessary pain. …and Chibi, for you to hold your own inner self as you awaken your Jizo-nature.
Icons to hold and wear
While in training as a psychotherapist I heard a series of talks by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) on integrating Buddhist principles into western psychotherapy. These talks changed my life and the way I worked in my office. The Buddhist concept of interdependence, that we are all connected, was the beginning. Mindfulness was the means to awaken to this. How else would I see the sun and rain in a piece of paper?
This was my koan. My unanswerable question. How were we connected? Therapy seemed to be about unearthing the garbage of the past. So we unearth the garbage. Then what? No one could tell me. Listening to Thay’s talks on Buddhism and psychotherapy, I learned that we need our garbage to grow our flowers; desiring a state of “no garbage” was not realistic. A practice of experiencing my so-called garbage with compassion was called for. We cannot do this unless we see clearly, with a willingness to accept life in the present moment.
I struggled with the concept of acceptance. Radical acceptance. Changing what I could and not hating that which I could not change. The reaction to this realization was not a happy one; it made me more anxious.
Discovering Jizo Bodhisattva
It was only when I discovered Jizo Bodhisattva on a hillside in Kyoto that I sensed the possibility for a more radical concept of acceptance. Here was a being who was meant to be the protector of all souls, the Womb of the Earth, the safe zone for the baby within each of us that was screaming for milk, for safety, for MORE. If I awakened this safety within me, I could accept, well, just about anything that I could not change.
As I painted my Jizos, I imagined myself within his robe, peeking out. One morning, Chibi appeared to peek out of the robe and settled on to Jizo’s chest. My logo was born and I hadn’t not made a single piece of jewelry. A peace spread through me that I can only wish for each person who comes into contact with my words and my icons. Is my jewelry iconic? Yes. Are my words from my heart? Yes. Do I want to sell you my jewelry and spread peace at the same time? Yes.
I ask each morning what the universe would have me do to be of service. Today, my job now is to write to you as often and succinctly as possible, hoping my voice will be heard across the massive traffic jam of the information galaxy. I am here. Jizo & Chibi are here. Find us.