On June 23rd, 2018, friends and family gathered for the graduation of the Shaolin/Taiji students.
For a while, I was indifferent. What does it even mean to graduate? Training is a continuous process of many failures and few short-lived successes before failing again at the next level. Some of us will keep training long after graduation day. Some of the graduates (including Jon and I) are returning to the center for the fall semester. It won’t really hit us until we start training and our old partners are no longer there. Also, there are too many ambiguities and inconsistencies to define what it means to graduate from the center. It was an experiment for everyone involved. Therefore, a loose definition of “to graduate” could be: we survived. I wanted to do more than “survive” the Retreat Center. I wanted to thrive, but it didn’t end up that way.