Letter of March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020

Greetings. Thank you for your notes regarding our decision to close the dojo temporarily. Two weeks ago, I could not have imagined a time when I would not bow onto the mat with fellow Aikidoists. At present, we find ourselves with an opportunity to implement what we practice on the mat: be ahead of the curve and recognize the power and responsibility of being part of a global family. That means finding immensely creative ways to maintain our connections in other ways than on the mat, for the moment. It's an opportunity we might never have considered. In adapting, we align with the advice of researchers around the world who tell us that the exponential spread of coronavirus can be shifted to our advantage, but only if we intervene early. That means now. 

Today I find comfort in reading the teachings of the American Buddhist Teacher Pema Chodran. She has spent her life teaching her sangha to see that all the barriers we erect between ourselves and others is an illusion. Just like O’Sensei, she sings the song of global connectedness. I hear myself repeat her sage words: "May the roots of suffering diminish, may violence, neglect, and indifference decrease. And may the wisdom and compassion of all beings blossom now, and in the future." I add to this chant: may all beings find a way to care for themselves and their community members in light of this unprecedented coronavirus crisis. May we do the right thing by seeing what could come by keeping our hearts open and our creativity on tap and may we investigate what it truly means to lead the life of a spiritual warrior.

Kimberly Richardson