The Swing

Dec 06, 2021 by Kyomi O'Connor


 

                                                             Photo by Rene BOES on Pixbay


Courage to stay facing the unknown

Resilience to remain your authentic self

Gratitude to map where you are

in the journey of finding your Self

 

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I used to love a swing as you did too…

 

When I was little, my father, who was talented with whatever he did, built an almost professionally-made swing. Wooden columns of four inches in thickness, a metal pole in between, twisted Manila ropes of one inch or thicker in diameter, and a wide wooden seat; he put them all together by himself.

 

The swing was built next to a huge fig tree in the backyard. I swung back and forth, and up and down, accelerating the swing in trying to reach the branches of the fig tree, then further, higher, and forever in a timeless place. I wanted to reach the sky, and further up into the universe, imagining one day warping out the entirety of my life.

 

It took longer than twenty years for me to fly high into the air.

 

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In February 1990, I left Japan with only two suitcases. By the time, I’d possessed much more than I needed, but I left all that I’d had behind.

 

That evening, I sat in the airplane alone, waiting for the moment of departure with no intention of returning. I had only a one-way ticket in my mind. My initial contract for working at the NIH in the US government was only for two years with possible extension up to five. I had no idea of what the departure might bring. I was heading a life in the States only with the unknown.

 

The airplane now began to tax and awaited its departure. I looked out through the window. The night was falling. The torching lights of a ramp marshal signaled to guide the aircraft into the departure position. Suddenly, my heartbeat became more rapid to force the breathing difficult. 

 

The plane began accelerating forward, then faster and faster. My body was pushed back against the seat, feeling up against gravity. In a hundredth of a second, I felt an air pocket, leasing the pressure. The lift. I was now ascending with an acute angle into the sky.

 

Tears streamed down on my cheek, releasing all that I’d held before. I cried aloud in my heart by knowing nobody was listening. I left Japan, my past, and the family behind. While ascending, I gazed at the darkness and the unknown future.

 

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Dream, Wish, Love, Hope, Truth, Independence, or Freedom, whatever we call it, the uplifting force has been my source of energy and drive. I was born to love, and still love the sense of ascending and the lift. It’s been in my flesh and blood.

 

But this uplifting, ascending force cannot stay just in philosophy. It has to be grounded. To make it part of our real lives, it would require cooperation and strengthen with as much grounding work as possible. Otherwise, all the beautiful things we wish and describe might become the mist and smoke, which might be blown away in a gentle breeze.

 

The head, the heart, and the feet in our body and mind would always work best when they are in a good balance and synergy. The more we wish, the more diligently and more practically we need to work in grounding. In this way, philosophical and practical endeavors synergize and bear fruits beautifully altogether.

 

I’ve come to love a swing even more in my late adult life because it requires more practical muscle and agency buildings.* We can swing further, and higher to reach wherever we want to reach; the branches, the sky, or even the universe. When our arm and leg muscles get stronger, our hearts become fierce and fearless, and our eyes can gaze at the unknown without a blink, we achieve what we’ve really wanted. Then in my humble wish, may we gather our uplifting forces and swing together to make this world a better place.

 

*As an extension of the grounding work, it also required me with more pains-taking excavations of my own life. These processes of excavations and grounding will have borne fruit, my debut memoir, “A Sky of Infinite Blue,” published on September 6th, 2022. You can also kindly find my brief bio in this reading.

 

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