Como esta?

A typical daily greeting in Mexico is "Como esta?" - how are you?

Even in my own pottery wall-mural classes, I always asked each of my students, "How are you feeling today?"

"Like a mango," chirped a young student once, meaning to say that today she felt like the fragrance and beauty of a ripe mango.This created a nice mood in the class, and the Mixteca students began to calmly talk. "Sometimes my grandma answers she feels like the wind. For us, the wind is a soft breath sent to us by our ancestors..." As if there were nothing unusual in that, all those young students said that the wind was the breath of their people.

Next, the Xapotec students spoke. One day, one of their mother's had asked, "Today I have a terrible headache. Can you go check how our guardian spirit (Tonal) was doing?" Quickly, the student went to the hill in back of her house to check on the spirit, and got a big surprise The mother's guardian spirit, a palm tree, had had its bark chopped to shreds by a hatchet.

From the time Xapotec children are born, each has a guardian spirit or "Tonal", and together they look after each other throughout life. The Tonal is an animal, insect or plant customarily partnered to a human from birth

Ah Mexico! Where people can feel like a mango or the wind, or can sense the feelings of a palm tree. And the place which helps me keep my heart in line.

Things the eye can see, things the eye cannot see... the earth goddess, sprites, skeletons (ie, people), ghosts - all things which the natural and spiritual climate supports. So bighearted...

My own Tonal who support my work are not only from Mexico. I have warm friendships with many ghosts who live in Japan. And to both them and my much-enduring friends in Japan, I offer heartfelt thanks.

Hurrah to life! Hurrah to humanity! Hurrah to death!