Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The diving board

One of my students is currently going through the usual about-to-graduate grief and introspection as he ends one phase of his life and moves on to another.

When I told one of my colleagues about this (also a former teacher of this entirely wonderful young man), he said something that also resonated with me: "He's got to step off the diving board."

In an e-mail conversation with my kyudo teacher the other day, he said "You have to bring yourself to the bow." A teaching I've heard him give many others. Like all kyudo teachings, it's both philosophical and physical... an aside: everything in kyudo has three facets, physical, spiritual, and aesthetic. How wonderful would our lives be if everything we did was consciously invested with those three elements? But I digress..

In all the time I've been practicing kyudo, I've never "brought myself to the bow." Part of the reason that I don't understand how, I realized this morning, is that I'm afraid to bring myself to the bow. It's lack of commitment, caused by fear. Fear of what, I don't know yet. But that's always been one of my major stumbling points in my kyudo practice: fear.

Although MS certainly wasn't a "graduation excercise" in any sense of the word, it is pushing me to a point of "commencement:" That part of your life is over, a new part begins. And I'm speaking least of the physical aspects.

To return to my colleague's metaphor, I'm on a diving board; and I'm not even standing on the edge looking over, I'm on my knees with my face pressed to it, clinging to it desparately. And because my face is pressed against it, I can't even see what it is I'm supposed to be letting go.

I'm stuck, but to what I don't know. I do know that I need to let it go; I can feel the change pushing at me... to step off into the abyss and just let it happen.

This too is going to be a gift of MS... but to receive it, I need to open my arms, let go, and step off the diving board.

Even just writing about this, right now, I'm terrified.



Stuff could always be worse said...

Great post, go for it, jump off the diving board!!!

Robert Parker said...

One of my best friends today said, "Disease always makes you face your attachment."

Ah... yup. I'm definitely attached to... something. How to figure out what it is?

"Don't worry," he says. "When the time comes, you'll know what it is. You won't be able to miss it--It'll bite you on the ass."

Oh, I'm looking forward to THAT... (gulp)