Category: Personal Stuff
Music: 'String Quartet in Four Parts: Nearly Stationary' by John Cage
Yesterday was full of extremes, mostly emotional.
The morning featured its regulation dose of austere training; the almost standard hodge-podge of line drills, forms, kicks, stretches and chi-qong like breathing exercises. What makes the particular instructor that I train with so unique is how he weaves the disparate elements into a greater realization, which then becomes the lesson for that class.
In today's class we used the most basic form* taught to all white belts, then removed all the 'hardness' from it. Blocks and punches became open-handed, almost Tai-Chi like apparitions; stiff forward movements and stances became sinuous, each flowing from the hip and into the next.
One of the newer white belts is my friend and patient Michael, AKA 'Gerard' in ER4YT. 'Gerard' was the fellow headed for the liver transplant who never actually went down that path. 'Mikey' continues to do phenomenally well, so well in fact that here he is, grunting and sweating with the rest of us.
My time in the office went well. One returning patient was a gentleman with throat cancer who is almost ready to get his trach tube removed, as they no longer see any signs of disease. Another new patient was a young women with strange skin rashes that nobody can figure out the cause of. Not too surprisingly a type O who eats a lot of wheat and dairy.
Then had to bolt down a bowl of lentil soup and head over to my daughter's school for their choral performance. Both of our children have gone through the local Montessori school to the 6th grade, and if nothing else, these kids can sing! Cute little songs about 'painting with the wind' and other similiarly happy motifs.
Being around an event full of Montessori parents (at least in Connecticut) is sort of like discovering that the Soviet Politburo has suddenly moved to Esalen. In the old days, nobody wanted to be the first person to stop clapping after one of Stalin's speeches, so they installed a bell and rang it so everyone could stop at once.
We needed a bell --Not that the kids didn't deserve it.
The event was actually a part of the school's 40th aniversary celebrations, which takes place all this week, so the songs were interweaved with little speeches by past and present luminaries, one of who gestured backwards with her hand and used the phrase: 'look at your beautiful children, these children are the society of the future.'
I found this statement rather depressing, considering the screwed up world these children are destined to inherit. Some society. Can we possibly mess it up any further for them? At some point in time, in their new society, when the grown-up version of these kids write their history, how will it read?
Here is my guess:
The Second Thirty Years War, variously referred to by some authors as the 'SUV War,' 'The Well-Poisoners War,' 'The Land For Dead War' or 'Liberty/Terrorist Victim War', was waged by ideologic extremists of all varieties and cultures, in a vacuum created by inequitable wealth distribution, lack of individual expression and environmental deterioration.
But hey, I'm just an aging hippie.
* A form [or 'hyung' in Korean, 'kata' in Japanese] is a series of programmed moves along a pattern. It's goal is to develop one's technique and refine their nomindedness, i.e. relying on the innate rather than the conscious.
Good for martial artists, bad for political leaders.
Well here I am at the computer again. I'm supposed to be working on the Allergy book, but the weather can't seem to make up its mind, which I prefer to think is the reason for my writer's block.
This morning featured its usual dose of austere training, centered around the simple act of moving foward and backward, delivering either a block or a punch. Sounds easy, but it's not. You have to deliver the technique in a tensed, extended position but move in a relaxed fashion (tension/ relaxation). One author writes that you should "move along the floor as if your feet are separated from the floor by a sheet of tissue paper, but deliver the technique as if you are suction-cupped to the floor." You must also move in a linear manner, not bobbing the head up and down.
Easier done than said.
The concept was to 'flat line' the concentration; do the technique but not bother it with too much thinking. I'm sure the instructor meant flat-lining my EEG, but after 15 minutes of this he could just a soon been referring to my EKG instead.
This weekend Martha and I attended a class in Escrima or Kali, a Phillipine martial art technique that uses short rattan sticks or bastones. It uses complicated footwork as you weave the bastones into an electron flurry (sinawalli). Done with a partner it is quite hypnotizing.
The class was taught by Grandmaster 'Nene' Tortal, a 69 year old, five foot one ball of energy. Not only was this guy quite obviously deadly, he was gentle and helpful as well. Several times that afternoon all twenty of us had to have a go at him one at a time in a series of drills that left each of us panting for air, while GM Nene just went on to the next student and started all over again. He would guide you through the drills by yelling 'get out' while lunging at you. After you finally started doing the drill correctly, he would then just start chanting 'maintain! maintain!'
Maybe that should be a bye word for doing the diet: get it right, then maintain.
This weekend we had a visit from my sister in law Marge and her husband Jim. Jim is one of those people I could listen to for a long time. In one of his prior lives Jim, a West Point graduate, was a battalion commander in Vietnam. The exposure to defoliants like dioxin (Agent Orange) was probably the reason Jim can down with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Hodgkin's Disease at the same time a few years ago, apparently a very rare occurence. He was given several months to live, even with chemotherapy, but has amazed his oncologists by living with the illness now for something like six years, using conventional and alternative medicines.
Maintain Jim. Maintain.