We are so grateful for each of you! For the love and support you give to us and to one another. For sharing your deepest longings, and opening to the magic of possibilities. For inviting Life to flow freely in you. For giving the gift of being completely yourself.
To us, Community is a feeling.
It’s the feeling of belonging.
Thank you so much for being a part of the Kai Chi Do Community. May the Spirit fill you throughout the coming year.
A while back Charles and I were going through a tough financial time – the kind of time where you sweat the mortgage and dread the credit card statement. I can still remember the feeling of constant anxiety.
And right in the midst of that, I woke one morning with a strange smile and a single thought:
“I have everything I want.”
You have to understand: Gratitude doesn’t come easily to me. Smiling doesn’t come easily to me. Focus, yes. Smiling, no. Charles is the peaceful one. Unperturbable. I’m the passionate one. Fiery and impatient.
This was not a time when I had everything I want. This was a time when gratitude was so far out of reach that making a list of “things that don’t suck” was a stretch. I was frustrated and angry and scared.
And yet here it was. This pure and ridiculous thought. This expansive contentment.
I’d been working the night before with a woman who was in chronic pain. She’d been through a series of spinal surgeries, one after the other. Putting metal hardware into her neck, hardware failing, neck collapsing, pulling hardware out. And here she was, in a metal halo – drilled into her skull resembling some kind of medieval torture – here she was telling me how grateful she was to me. And to God and to Life and to her husband and to her doctors and to…it was endless. Her gratitude was endless. And it wasn’t just words. It wasn’t a script, and she wasn’t reaching for anything. It was just glowing from her. Filling me.
I know what it’s like to come through a crisis and be so glad that the worst of the pain is behind you, and you survived it, that you praise all that’s holy. But what does it mean when you’re still in the middle of it, still struggling, still in pain, and feel so blessed? It’s winter but you feel so warm. Where does that kind of gratitude come from?
“Only through time, time is conquered.” – T.S. Eliot
I live my life as if my time is limited. You can only do so many things, fit so many things, into a day, a month, a lifetime. I don’t want to waste a minute on what I HAVE to do – I want to spend it all on what I WANT to do. I have no energy to spare on thoughts that pull me down. That’s time management.
The passage of time has turned my hair a charcoal gray, an ashen shadow that summons the threat of losing all these things I am meant to do – the creativity that hasn’t yet turned into expression – and the urgency of holding onto time with the people I love. Demanding a future. The right to be here, to cherish and adore and protect them.
Fleeting moments. My past is filled with them. My daughter turns 18 next week. And I want to be here for all the rest of it – all those sparkling moments. There’s a myth about independence. We really do need each other, even when we’re grown. I want to be here, for her. And for Charles. Just to be with him. For no other reason than that simple comfort. And the knowing that I am that for him. Without me, he has no anchor.
My yearning for transcendence comes, at least in part, from my sense that my time is limited. And the need to find a way to get beyond time while I’m here.
Instructor Francine Brown brought Kai Chi Do to the Chicago Neighborhood Youth Corp, a Chicago Police Department Summer Youth Program, and the results were amazing. The Youth Corp is designed to break down barriers and encourage trust, build community, and inspire service. Those goals are in perfect harmony with the purpose of Kai Chi Do – to help people to experience the feeling of Connection, to Source, Self, and others.
I think participant Shavell Franklin said it best when she described the value of the Youth Program, “It unites us and that’s what our city needs the most.”
We are so proud that Kai Chi Do was a part of this program! Thank you, Francine!