Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I need a pre-vacation to my vacation. For some reason, whenever I go on vacation, I feel as though I need to get my current life in complete order before going off into the wild blue. So that way piles of laundry don't nag at my soul while 14,000 miles away. It seems silly I know, but that's the way it is. sigh. cram cram cram. Last minute emails, gathering stuff, and still trying to see X2 and visit some friends. whew! This will pass I know. The anxiety will come to a peak and I can become my calm cool collected self. It's the tension in a spring before its sprung.

Today I'm to take a test for some computer certification. Being such an overachiever in school, this is the first time I've ever really been nervous and feeling unprepared for a test. Tests most of my life have been pretty easy (though I barely passed my driver's test by a few points, I at least passed). But it's been what at least 4 years since I've taken a test and well, now I know why I don't go back to school. Just breathe and twirl the hands, breathe and twirl the hands, this will pass.

Some exciting news however. Got an email from a woman in the Philippines (a friend of a friend) and we had been going back and forth about me teaching Kali while I'm there. And apparently, the people she's talked to are quite excited. There is some irony of how I'm going home to teach Filipino martial arts. Yet, there's a sense of coming full circle. I'm really excited, it may end up becoming a larger event of arts and culture that includes Filipino martial arts.

Another exciting news bit. I get to teach at Pacific Association of Women Martial Arts (PAWMA) training camp to be held at Sonoma State August 1-4. Kali is very new to most PAWMA members who mostly come from Japanese and Chinese styles. There will be a demo Saturday night that I'll also participate in. I'm hoping to collaborate with a local artist. I like incorporating new things to new audiences. Like the way I do Kali with a kulintang performance, to show the grace of a martial art, to most people who've never seen or done martial arts. Or bring story and live music to a Kali demo, to let the art speak differently. So, I'm really excited about this possible collaboration and you'll hear more about it the closer we get.

Was chatting with Tuhan, my martial arts master. Tuhan is his title of master and not his actual name name. We were discussing how even within the style, there is a constant process of relearning. The style is fairly different from the way I first learned 8 years ago. So, it's become difficult for the Guros to adjust. They became highly proficient with the other stuff, and now it feels as though they must learn it again. It's frustrating. You get this nice nifty title which says you're proficient and then you just can't do this new thing. Oh, it all seemed so easy before and now this!

Part of the frustration has to do with ego. Once you've achieved an acknowledged level then well everything should be easy. But in truth it's where it gets more complicated. Because now the path ahead of you in uncharted. But you say, but I have this title/certificate/etc. Yet, in some sense it means everything and nothing. It shows you have the tools to move on to bigger things, but it means nothing if you don't make the leap.

It's like learning the alphabet, then learning to spell, then learning grammar. Once you know how to complete a sentence, they say, now tell me something, anything. And you sit there and don't know what to say. We are often paralyzed by the vastness of possibility.

You get this title/certificate/etc and the people who have mentored you say, yes, I believe in you. Nice pat on the back. Now, the question is, do you believe in yourself? "yes, I have the certificate." no no, do you believe in yourself with or without the title/certificate. The certificate, the title, the degree is merely a door. You can keep standing at the door, or you can go through the door. Going through the door is scary, you don't know what's there, things are different, what you thought you knew is nothing.

So that's where we are in trying to chase Tuhan. Everyone wants to be like him, but even though we learn from him, we also have to through out some of the things that he taught us in order to find a new way of seeing things. Tuhan has done that, that's why he's Tuhan. But for us, it's a frightening thing. We keep looking back at the door behind us, think about running back and returning to the place we knew everything. And it's the leap of faith that we must take within ourselves if we are to continue to chase after him. Allow ourselves to know nothing.

There are people around us, who help us take those leaps, who promise to love us anyway when we don't jump far enough. They are daily leaps. I take the leap in Kali because I know that Tuhan is always there to lend me a hand when I fall. I believe in him. He believes in me. I take the daily leaps in life because of my boyfriend, who calls me every morning to tell me he believes. And my friends who send emails that tell me the same. With the same trust, I believe in them.

So on days when I have no faith, when I suck at everything, when I don't believe I'm a real writer or a real teacher or whatever it is I've lost faith on. These people are there to give me something to believe in. It's not about winning or losing or passing or failing, it's about living.

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