“The Sky is up and high, Mountains go up and touch the sky. Kyoko, you help raise people’s spirits. When they feel down, you help them to look up. You had told me that your name, Katayama means side of the mountain, which is the way to ascend. So you are like the path up to the mountain that touches the sky. Even though you provide the direction along the path, it is up to the climber to reach towards the peak.”



The Sky

Ocean was my delight and refuge but when I settled in Minnesota, the sky became my ocean. I’ve been a sky watcher for a long time and my relationship to it evolved. Sky reminds me many things, above all the infinite light of consciousness. Sky is an open and ever present invitation to remember who we really are and where we belong. It promises freedom and realization of our true nature.

Heavy storm clouds, puffy cotton clouds, auroras, rainbows and rain, thunder and lightening, darkness and stars can all happen in ever changing patterns, but they do not change the nature of the sky. It is at once empty and full of possibilities, as the source of all creativity and beauty.



It is the earth. This is where we get grounded. It is our individual body and collective humanity. We are at once so vulnerable and resilient. We are born and we die here on earth. In the seconds it took you to read these words, million cells in your body died and another million were born. We need one another not just to survive but to thrive. Earth steadies us. When we slip off our body like a too-heavy coat, it returns to the earth. Our vision may be set high, yet, we must steady our feet, and daily care for our body on our human journey. We must remember that the journey of 1000 miles begins with one brave first step. Step by step, a path is made by walking.


My last name, Katayama, means a side of a mountain. I honor my ancestors whose name I inherited. I wish to offer a side of a mountain to rest, to clarify vision, to muster courage, to recognize one summit, many journeys.



Held between the infinite open sky and the solid mountain of earth is the heart. The horizontal of the earth is the conditioned world where time exists in the mind as a sequence of past, present, and future. This is the world of embodied immanence. The sky, the vertical aspect, is the present moment that transcends time and space. It is infinitely open and unconditioned, encompassing all things beyond our mind’s imagination. These two vertical and horizontal aspects intersect in our heart. Only through the heart the infinite sky wisdom is revealed so that the mind and the body can express it in actions of every day living in the human community. This is the realm of compassion.

Eagle Poem

by Joy Harjo, a poet and a member of Creek (Muscogee) tribe

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear,

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circles in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.


 Kyoko Katayama   |  tenshinkyoko@gmail.com