Closed out the last workshop today of my summer teaching, a lovely end to a fabulous five days in Toronto and a fabulous eight weeks of teaching a few hundred teachers from around the globe. We closed with the game Johnny Brown, the perfect vehicle to show the balance between blending in, feeling part of something larger than oneself by giving oneself up to join the group voice and beat and feeling significant by becoming an insignificant small part of a greater world, one joyful speck in the grand Creation, and standing out, taking the responsibility to gift the world with your absolutely unique way of being in the world with a body, voice, mind and soul that not a single one of the 7 billion co-inhabitants has in quite the same way as you go into the center and show us your motion. It was a spirited conclusion, but unlike most of my closures, there were no tears. Partly because I was ten minutes past the closing time, partly because such emotion generally takes a slightly greater effort in Canada (no insult, but it’s true) and partly because I didn’t feel the need in that moment, uncharacteristically so. It was fine, but truth be told, a bit later, it didn’t feel quite as satisfying as usual. Perhaps the crying fest of the last course in the Levels made up for it.
But I was done, had a brief visit with one friend on her way to a new life in Spain and then went to the movies with another. Crazy Rich Asians, which seemed like the kind of promising fluff just right for the occasion. It was okay, but truth be told, not wonderful to feel the land of Buddha’s deep revelations reduced to opulence and excessive wealth and all the twisted relations and damage such culture brings to the table. Capped it off with a ritual gelato walking down Bloor Street on a cool summer night and gratitude to again be in this town where I have taught most every summer for the last 18 years. A place that was my first taste of a “foreign” city when I came with my family in 1963. Who would have imagined this life that I grew into back then?
Now 4:30 in the morning, the full moon out my window, a plane back home awaiting me in a few hours and this opportunity to pause and marvel at this most wondrous summer, truly one of the finest I can remember in a lifetime of fine summers. Strange not to be putting my shoulder to the wheel of the school year the way I have the last 43 years and both freeing and terrifying to meet September with the full measure of an ambition to gather the work of the last 8 years or so since publishing my last book and strap myself down to write one, two or five more. Plus begin a new venture of Podcasts. 4 months before I do return to school in January, some travel, but not much and all within the U.S.
So one last turn back to the last 10 weeks with a full heart, deep gratitude and hope that children worldwide will find their coming school lives just a bit happier from the work I’ve shared with teachers this summer. How it goes on.