When Pearl Harbor was bombed, my parents and their family were given days to gather up what they had and leave their home.
The things they could not carry or sell were given away or left behind.
They had no certainty of where they were going, and they knew they were in the hands of a suspicious-paranoid government.
Japanese-American Citizens lost everything to something called “internment”.
They were simply removed from their lives.
Everything was taken away.
My parents really know the pain of losing it all.
Not so long ago I was facing losing it all.
I lost my house, so my place to live.
I lost my income, and with it my security.
I lost my marriage, and that felt like the loss of my identity.
Yet, I couldn’t honestly say I had lost everything.
My dad has always been my example of perseverance.
His secret for maintaining such an awesome attitude was his sense of family, community, honor, his love of life, and his willingness to help others.
My dad was always obviously grateful for what he had.
I remember my dad telling me his stories about scarcity and lack during The Depression and the days of internment.
My experience during “the dot com bust” was kept in check by remembering his stories.
Possessions, money, material things can be replaced.
However, my recent sense of loss went much deeper, since my divorce effected my relationship with my daughters.
Not being able to share time with them daily was very painful.
My dad didn’t talk much about the emotional pain and trauma of internment. He was a pillar of strength, so you had to look closely to see how he dealt with painful emotion.
I remember my dad telling me that what they couldn’t take from him was internal.
My dad had many leadership styles depending on what setting he was in.
His example of weathering hard times was all about being grateful for what you have.
To honor my father that is exactly what I did when I was hurting most.
I counted my blessings!
My daughters were growing strong and healthy and I still had my health.
I could look forward to the rest of my journey.
My father’s life was not a rosy path, he had bouts of depression, grief, pain and setbacks but he could always tap into his passions.
After his family was released by the U.S. government from internment after the war, my father joined the U.S. army. He was on his way to Korea and was ordered off the ship by Uncle Sam to serve as a Japanese interpreter in postwar occupied Japan.
In Japan he learned to play the trumpet and performed in a military swing band. Dad had loved dancing in the internment camp where he learned “Jitterbug” or “Swing” dancing.
My dad had a lifelong appreciation of big band music and dance and turned to it through out his life for the good energy to carry him through the rough times.
After the Korean war Dad settled in Salt Lake City, Utah where he met my mother swing dancing!
With his GI bill he went on to college and became an aerospace engineer. During the space race of the 1960’s he helped build the first unmanned soft-lander that successfully navigated to the moon helping pave the way for the Apollo astronauts moon landing.
Later in his career he worked on communication satellites and the space shuttle.
He definitely took his expertise just as far as he could go!
His internal values fueled by his passions guided him through the turbulent times and helped him to soar creatively whenever he was inspired.
The things he loved made his life easier. Especially his love of music, dance, judo, and family!
His internal values made his leadership style so compassionate that everywhere he served in a leadership role he left people feeling loved and honored!
Growing up with such a strong roll model was a blessing I never took for granted. Now that my dad is gone his memory effects me as much as his living example did.
My leadership style intentionally mirrors my fathers.
I benefited from his lessons on leadership styles before my personal lessons of loss.
But it has taken my own broken-ness to really feel compassion for what another person is going through. “Never judge until you’ve walked a mile in your neighbor’s shoes” is a very good policy. You just can’t know the battles others are fighting.
As the Zen Dance Master, I teach a workshop on leadership that uses dance to explore your role as “the leader” AND “the follower” (as in someone who is being lead). It’s amazing how dance can help you look at your leadership roll from an entirely new perspective.
Whether you are Leading a team or a dance partner, your breathing is the key to your powerful Voice as well as your firm grip!
Transform your breathing and you will transform your life.
Your breathing IS the power behind your voice.
Breathing in Motion is the secret to making dance FUN!
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Life Is a Dance
Dance With Life,
The Zen Dance Master