Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A lovely lady of 85 has come to my table. Her daughter, now in her mid-60s, brings her after her own 10 sessions. 

Both are battling structural problems, the mother has a large degree of kyphosis which is responding well to almost glacial manipulation of sternal fascia. 

It was our second session, and I asked a general question of the mother (loudly, as she is quite deaf) about other children besides her daughter.

The daughter explained, as the mother teared up and shook gently, that she was a "Kriegskind" and had been born during the war.. that women did not want to have children during that time, and thought to wait until after the war... but the great majority of men fell in the war (I am deliberately using German-flavored language) and there were no children, after.  And no men to father them. 

I was deeply touched... I reached deep into my own center, and changed my work to gently place a tissue in the mother's hand (for your eyes, I said) and held her hand for a little moment.. then I moved my hand to her lumbar spine, and supported her gentle shaking with this old, generational pain. 

It is another moment, which remains deeply engraved on my soul. 

Another was a circle of fiberglass bear sculptures in Berlin, which various countries had sent for display.  I suppose a blank bear was sent to the country, was decorated, and sent back. The British bear was covered with silly pop pictures, the Irish bear was all wound up in green and orange tapes, the American bear was dolled up like the statue of liberty.. but the one that arrested me, made me touch it.. was the Yugoslavian bear. This was some 4-5 years ago, during the Balkan war. It had been liberally pelted with machine gun bullets, and painted corpse-white. 

My first day in Germany, we visited friends (we are part of a lovely global martial arts community) in their old townhouse in Frankfurt.  
In the back yard, I noted deep holes in the lower part of the house. What's that? of course my hands wandered into these cavities in concrete... 
It was scoring from the 50 cals of the Allies... 

These are things I will not leave behind. 

I'll quote a line from Casablanca, that the problems of two people don't add up to a hill of beans in the world.. Just a guess, from a kid doing the best she can. 

1 comment:

Budo Bum said...

Hi Emily,

Memories out the past that touch us. All of my iaido teachers are veterans of the Pacific War. Takada Sensei showed me pictures of him in his uniform in China. Suda Sensei didn't like to even mention the war. Kiyama Sensei was a fighter pilot over the Korean peninsula. He never piloted a plane again after the war. Takada Sensei desperately wanted to be pilot, but after the war there were no opportunities.

In Okinawa,you can tour the tunnels the Japanese Navy dug in the hills. There are rooms in these tunnels where the walls have hundreds of little chips out of them. These are rooms where people committed suicide by pulling the pin on a grenade. That one still stops me when I think about it.

Peter