By Rob Kedoin
On Sunday, November 12th, Shintaido members gathered at the Unitarian Church of Sharon for Brad Larson’s memorial service. The church was filled with so many people that some watched the service from an overflow location in the building. The service was beautiful. Rev. Jolie Olivetti spent time talking about Brad’s family as well as his many interests in Shintaido, Biodanza and drum circles. There was a period of sharing where people could tell stories of Brad. These stories ranged from his omnipresent smile to his involvement in the church, the Historical Society and his many contributions to the world of interactive storytelling in museums.
From a personal perspective, Gail and I began the day by hiking in the nearby Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. I know how Brad loved to run with his boh or joh through the woods and while I have no idea if he ever ran the trails of Moose Hill, it helped me to envision being on trails he once traveled.
Toward the beginning of the service, the reverend relayed a message from Brad’s mother which affected me deeply, that, “Brad would be the first one to forgive.” I needed to be reminded about this because I had felt myself growing angrier and angrier about Brad’s death.
Matt Shorten spoke about Brad and Shintaido, then led us in Tenso and Shoko as we stood at the front of the church. David Curry then invited the attendees to join us in open handed Tenso and Shoko. Facing a church full of people, palms outstretched in Shoko, all sharing their love for Brad was awe inspiring.
For myself, I will always miss doing the standing back stretch with Brad. I always felt like I was being lifted like a rag doll and being stretched by a kind, gentle giant.
Brad once spoke to his church’s congregation about a three-rock meditation he learned from Thich Nhat Hahn. Since the congregation thought it fitting to send us away with packets of three rocks and the meditation directions, it seems like a good way to close. Hold each stone consecutively in hand:
Stone 1: Breathing in, I see myself as a flower; breathing out I feel fresh
Stone 2: Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain; breathing out I feel strong
Stone 3: Breathing in, I see myself as still water; breathing out I reflect things as they are