Ideas shoot through my awareness like summer meteors in the Perseid shower. As I try to harness wild interests and choose my topic for September, I slip back to being 10 years old, trying to separate a reluctant saddle horse from our shifting herd. A gangly gray and white half-wild pinto, Paint was descended from the great 19th Century herds Yakima Chief Kamiakin ran on Ahtanum Ridge. Paint probably didn’t like me, for good reason. I rode him harder than I should have, galloping dusty reservation roads. I raced anger and grief at my parents bitter divorce, and later sadness and confusion when my powerful grandpa was felled by a stroke in the bull’s corral. No matter how fast Paint ran, neither he nor I could escape what I didn’t yet know to call Impermanence. Oh, but we tried. My adventures unreeled framed by Paint’s ears.
I don’t know what finally happened to Paint. When I returned from my first college semester, my grandparents were in a nursing home, the old ranch house stood empty, listing to one side as though only the life going on inside had kept it upright. Someone had done something with the animals; I didn’t have the heart to ask what. Paint may, like many unwanted horses, have become dog food.
I’d rather rewrite this tale, making it about devotion between a thoughtful, selfless girl and her beloved equine companion. Instead I’ll stick to what’s true, acknowledge my self-focus, necessary for a child to thrive in a difficult environment, but not pretty. Growing up and maturing is about building a Self, then learning to release it, while still engaging with life. I’m working on that, remembering it’s all impermanent. This body, like Paint’s, will end, though probably not as dog food, and I hope to leave something more useful behind than a sweat-stained saddle. You never know…
Meanwhile, life is sweet despite strange times, strange seasons. Qigong helps me meet each day with minimal anxiety and reactivity. I have space for two more participants in a Chinese Essence Qigong beginners’ workshop, two sessions, Tuesday September 22nd, and Friday September 25th, 2pm to 4:30 at my studio. When you call me at 541.390.9652 or email Kristina@kristinabak.com I’ll tell you more about this, as well as other times, tutorials, and events this fall.
Save the date: Monday evening, November 16th, gather at my studio to hear photographer and Qigong practitioner Sandra Kunz tell the story of her travels in China with Hui-Xian Chen, the venerable woman who introduced many of us to Chinese Essence Qigong. Hui-Xian Chen’s amazing autobiography Life Is Always Smiling is now available in paperback, as well as on kindle, at Amazon.