Some of the best friends I have in the world live in Manchester. They are safe, thankfully, but I have no idea what it must be like to be there right now. I keep imagining what it would be like if someone bombed Seattle Center this weekend during Folklife, the Stadium during a Mariners Game. It could happen. It might. In the meantime the world goes on. People cut each other off in traffic and bike through stop signs while looking down at their cell. The walker is warned about the intersection but remains oblivious to anything except the screen and the music playing through the ear buds. Who can't feel this terror and turmoil and unknown and never been here before and not want to rail against it, not want to hide from it all? The baby is fed, the job is attended. All of this, along with the Garden in all its glory, the hummingbird and the hasta, the crow and the clematis, the poppy & peony, is our world right now.
I come to the dojo that is also in a state of change. A close student dies, another sells their house and moves out of the area, another has a stroke. Rents rise, traffic jams the roads, parking is blocks away. This is our city right now. In the meantime the doors open and people step away from social chaos and their garden refuge and come to practice, everyday. Its a blessing and a burden, to keep these doors open but I do it. Its my work. Its my path. It simply is.
I've long held the floor is a place of neutrality. Some think this means I don't believe it is also a place of activism but that is not so. If our practice is not our activism then what is? We find our feet, we feed our root, we turn our attention away from "out there" to "in here" and we breathe. We find and cultivate our inner place of refuge. We make time to find space in our nervous system, which moment by moment jumps from grief to rage to confusion to grasping for answers. We find a moment where we stop chasing all of that and find calm and connection and remember beauty. Love. Even just for a moment we find it or if not, we remember it is there waiting for us. What is more socially active, more personally nourishing than that?
Today is Embrace The Moon's 22nd Anniversary. So quick these years! How the world, this city, my life have turned and changed over that tiny course of sunrises and sets. I'm not sure where I would be in my life without the dojo, in all of its many incarnations past, and those to come. Maybe I would be in the doorway like my homeless neighbors, maybe I would be an Amazon multi-millionaire. Both possibilities are within reason. I said to a friend the other day I'm not even sure what it is I teach, what it is I learn. Is it that which we call Taijiquan? Qigong? I don't think so and yet I am also sure of it. What is it really that any of us teach or even learn in the midst of "all this?" These questions rise and fall. Their import varies on any given day. And yet, somehow doors open, breathing rises & falls. Practice remains steady. I'm not sure what the framework is called but it is familiar. Deeply. And within it, I school and am schooled, by my teachers & friends, by the art itself, by the fellow travelers along the Way, by the Great Mystery.
Respect, Salute. May Peace Prevail on Earth.