Life is a path. We come from Mu and we go back to Mu. Life is long, and our own lives are each a small part of life. Sometimes rain, sometimes wind, sometime life or death. Pretty simple, actually, it is what it is. Ikkyu
Joe and John. I’m sorry I missed a chance to talk to you just before your departures.
In these days, the more I practice Tenshingoso, the more I appreciate the end of the movement (Oooooo~Uuuuuu~Mmmmmm)!
When I was young, I was practicing this part of Tenshingoso according to the text/recommendation written by Aoki-sensei.
I enjoyed it, and I kept sharing my understanding with many people having the confidence of how much I know about the cycle of our life.
Now that I’m 76 years old, I understand that my grasp of this part of Tenshingoso has been rather superficial.
It is always difficult for me to watch those who helped me share Shintaido leave for the next stage of their life. I wish I could have had a face-to-face meeting and express my gratitude in person.
But, I am lucky that I can still communicate with you, through the following ways:
Through the sound of Oooooo, I believe that I can reach you who are now omnipresent in the universe!
Through the sound of Uuuuu~Mmmmm, I can feel you in my Hara, You are gone but I still have many memories of the goodness I have studied from you.
Through the sound of Mmmm~Aaaaa, I can ask you to appear!
I hope you will continue to share Shintaido, and want to ask you to become our “Guardians” in the sky!
Looking forward to talking to you in Ten in the near future!
When we drove away from the Shintaido class at the South County Senior Center in South Deerfield recently, Stephen said something like: “That is so inspiring. I always feel great after that class.” I have to agree with him. I am teaching the class and Stephen is assisting me.
The class ranges from 4 to 8 participants; all women and all in their sixties or seventies. Shintaido always seems to work its magic. As the teacher, I often leave work, drive home and get myself to the class feeling a little rushed and tired. Afterwards I feel clear and uplifted. We have come to see by their regular attendance that these seniors are also enjoying themselves and the spirit of Shintaido.
The center is an older building right in the center of town. When we practice inside, we have to move the tables and chairs of the big room to the side to make some space. When the weather is beautiful as in the past few weeks, we set up outside under the shade of two big maple trees.
We always start in a circle sitting on chairs. We concentrate on our breathing and then move into seated warmups. Soon we are up and at it – warming up, stretching, doing balancing exercises. I originally thought that would be about all we would do but I soon recognized that this is a hale and hearty group.
I have surprised myself by what I have been teaching. These women are not afraid to use their voices and they enjoy the sounds and movements of Tenshingoso. We have practiced wakame and other soft movements, but also enjoy stepping, cutting and most recently Tsuki!
The classes last approximately one hour. We asked if they would prefer six or eight-week sessions but they all want to keep going. We may take a break in August, but otherwise we will continue the class on an ongoing basis.
It is true that some seniors have physical limitations, but everyone in this group seems very self-aware and able to work within their limitations and of course, Stephen and I are careful and make adjustments as necessary.
Who knows if some of these seniors will become active and participate in the larger Shintaido community? I hope so, but I am also quite content to continue this lovely weekly practice.
The most surprising thing for me is how very like any other Shintaido class this class is. It is the transformation that comes from connecting with heaven and earth and with one another that gives a meaningfulness to our movements and our practice together.
The conference was attended by 25 people from around the world with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Examples of the presenters include: an anthropologist presenting on the Mi’kmaq of eastern Canada and their Funeral Feasts; a social worker presenting on bereavement and the Malay Muslims; a PhD candidate in Russian Literature presenting on The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy; a Portuguese Literature Professor presenting on Old Age in Jean-Rhys’s later texts; and an ethicist from the UK presenting on Presumed Consent for Organ Donation in England. Other examples are: a Canadian psychologist and his social worker wife presenting reflections from their Death and Dying Group, an Australian ICU physician presenting on advance care planning, an American Chaplain speaking on spiritual care counselling, and an English artist presenting on her use of cloth and textiles as a metaphor for conveying grief and loss.
I taught the five movements of Tenshingoso with return demonstrations by the group. The group expressed appreciation for the sensation of opening the body, using the voice and the sense of harmony created as the group did the movements together. We discussed the study of the Cycle of Life with the individual movements as well as the study over a lifetime. As I concluded my teaching and the group entered the final “UM”, the local church clock bell rang 12 times – a special moment at the ending! The group also requested that I lead them again in Tenshingoso at the closing ceremony of the two-day conference.