Hi friends, I hope this finds you well, wherever you are. These are hard times for almost everyone, at least those of us not insulated from life by immense wealth and perfect health. I have been quiet here since the first lockdown, preferring just to keep you posted re classes, online resources and the like. That felt like the most helpful thing I could do. Meanwhile I have been studying, learning and practising in new ways. Something I came across very recently in a course I am taking I post below for your interest. It is from an excellent Indigenous-led collective called Gesturing Toward Decolonial Futures (GTDF). This is as good an introduction to the experience of advanced study of T'ai Chi in our tradition as I have ever found. Wish I'd had it 18 years ago, especially for when studying with John Kells... Anyway, here it is, full source at the end.
In our current consumption-driven societies, where time and knowledge are perceived as commodities and education is becoming a transactional process between clients and service providers, we would like to create a different form of relationship with those interested in learning about the work of the collective.
In our experience, we have found frequently that people look for approaches with a very strong desire for something that fits their expectations of immediate consumption, convenience and autonomy/choice (we call this “candy”): they want something practical, fulfilling and pleasurable, and very frequently they feel disappointed, frustrated and sometimes angry when they do not have their demands met and desires fulfilled. Thus, we say that, while we understand that people may want “candy”, we can only offer “broccoli seeds” that will require soil, planting, watering and attending to for a possible harvest.
We request that people engaging with our work consider the following “broccoli seed agreement” that confirms that they understand what may happen during this engagement, particularly the experiential sessions.
The broccoli seed agreement invites you to consider the following statement:
I understand that …
- the engagement with the work of the collective may not have any immediate practical application in my context and that is ok.
- I do not have to agree with anything presented, but I am happy to see what happens.
- I may feel uncomfortable, confused and frustrated through this process and I take responsibility for observing and learning from my conscious and unconscious responses/resistances/fragilities.
- It is up to me to decide when to push myself further and when to stop and reflect/observe.