I am currently reading a book entitled “The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the Most of Every Moment, the Japanese Way” by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia. Ichigo Ichie is based on the idea that every moment in our life happens only once, and if we let it slip away, we lose it forever. Ichigo Ichie is about focusing on the present moment, as it is in the present that we are able to ‘live fully’ and find happiness. According to Ichigo Ichie, every one of us contains a key that can open the door to attention, harmony with others, and love of life. It is only by learning to be present, to be tuned into what catches your attention and excites you in the moment, that you can identify what it is that most motivates you and brings you to happiness.
In the past week there were numerous opportunities for students to simply enjoy the moment – to practice a sense of Ichigo Ichie.
The term ‘orientation’ has several meanings depending upon the context in which it is used. For example, it can refer to ‘training or preparation for a new job or activity’ or ‘to the position of something in relation to its surroundings’ or even to describe the particular interests, activities, or aims of an organisation or school. On Wednesday 18 November 2020, Holy Cross College hosted our 2021 O-Day or Orientation Day for 2021. This was an opportunity for current Junior School students to meet their teachers for 2021 and experience a day in the life of school for the new year. For students new to Holy Cross College in 2021, it was an opportunity to prepare for the new school year, survey the surroundings and meet new friends. For all students, it was an opportunity to allay their fears and develop a little Ichigo Ichie, that is, the capacity to enjoy the moment and find happiness in their new school or year level.
Colour Explosion Run
Now this was an Ichigo Ichie experience. The aim was to enjoy the moment by moving in slow motion to get covered in as much coloured dust as possible. To the thumping sounds of DJ Mr Bull, students traversed the course as they were sprayed with a rainbow of colours. The Junior School students, in particular, are to be commended for the way they embraced the fundraising aspect of the challenge, raising in excess of $26,000, which the Friends of Holy Cross will use to support a range of school initiatives that are generally unable to be funded from the regular College budget. Mrs Michelle Francis and her team of parent helpers were outstanding in their commitment to ensuring that students had a great time and were rewarded for their efforts. Students will be able to collect their prizes before the end of the school year.
Year 10 Science Showcase
Ms Laura Hunt and her Year 10 Science class are to be commended for their inspirational work around the composition of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). Students were clearly able to articulate the composition of their double helix structures that were constructed from sticks, foam balls, lollies and even a cake. Students were undoubtedly in the moment as they proudly showed off their talent and knowledge in Science.
A key role to principalship is to ensure that everyone feels happy, valued and supported. Throughout my tenure as principal, I have learnt that it is important to keep calm, focus on the moment, and take time to reflect on each situation before making a decision. A wise principal once advised me that, to avoid making rash decisions, I should smile and just say “thank you for telling me”, or just say “we’ll see”. As my time as Principal comes to an end I take inspiration from an old Chinese tale:
Once upon a time, there was a farmer in China. He didn’t have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plough his field. One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, “Oh, what a horrible thing to happen”. The farmer said simply, “We’ll see”.
He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.
Everyone’s reaction now was, “What a lucky man”. And the farmer said, “We’ll see”.
A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, “What a poor fellow!” The farmer smiled and said, “We’ll see”.
Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, “What a fortunate man.” The farmer said, “We’ll see.”
Later in the year, the farmer’s young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, “What a shame for the poor boy.” The farmer said, “We’ll see.”
Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.
Everyone said, “What a fortunate young man.” The farmer smiled again and said “We’ll see.”
The moral of the story is that there’s no use in over-reacting to the events and circumstances of our everyday lives. Often what looks like a setback, may actually be a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from.
It ought to be plain
how little you gain
by getting excited
You’ll always be late
for the previous train,
and always in time
for the next.
Piet Hein, 1905-1996
The man in this story had a true sense of Ichigo Ichie, since he always focussed on the moment, not worrying about tomorrow, what may or may not happen.
Sports Centre Update
The New Sports Centre is continuing on its journey to completion. The bulk of the work has now been completed with the finishing touches underway for handover in mid-January. Here’s a sneak peek inside: