A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Thursday, October 9, 2014

This isn't Reb--or What's-His-Name

Has an article or poem or song ever stuck in your mind, longer than you recall, and kept replaying through the years? Like your shadow, it stays with you. Or like something you've touched, now a part of your prints.

Once upon a time I read a lovely Aikido essay by a popular writer, George Leonard. The piece was called "This Isn't Richard", I'll provide a link  below for those who want to read it. The subject: the spiritual breakthrough of a self-centered, selfish student in a brutal black belt test. I warm to the piece partly because I myself studied under the teacher, Bob Nadeau, for years. But the mojo of the piece is the moment of the breakthrough: Richard, the disgusted teacher who called him only 'What's-his-name' and all the students present become aware that the man on the mat...isn't 'Richard'. A new man stands emptied of the self that he'd been too full of. Later, some spoke of an aura or a nimbus of light around him as he got more and more into the flow. By all accounts, this was a brilliant performance. And the Richard who'd been 'Richard' had left the building forever.

The great breakthrough recorded in the the phrase This isn't Richard has become both a goal and a touchstone for me. In both my life and my writing..which no longer seem to be two. In furnishing my new Seattle studio or fine-tuning my new novel...in forming new habits and ditching the old...in pushing the envelope daily as I search my own sense that This isn't Reb...I find new liberation in those glorious moments when I am not Me.

Here's the link to the essay, with hopes you have a look. Caution: the essay starts at page 198 of :Leonard's book The Silent Pulse and stops abruptly at p. 203. So it isn't complete but you'll get the idea:


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