On Monday, July 22nd, I walked into the Frank Ohman School of Ballet with every intention to take class with my teacher and mentor of 24 years, Frank Ohman. But he didn't show.
Words can't describe the pain that you feel when you lose someone close to you. But as the Chinese (and many other cultures) believe, those who pass are never truly gone. In Chinese medicine, we believe that three spirits reside in your body: the shen, the hun, and the po. The shen is your eternal spirit which is reincarnated into a new corporeal body. The po is your animal spirit, sort of like your instincts. This spirit moves back into the underworld when we pass. Lastly, the hun is unique to each life and is likened to a shadow of the shen. This spirit ascends to the big dipper with all the other huns that have moved on and contributes to the collective knowledge of the universe. So long as there is someone to remember your hun, it will live on forever.
In the last conversation I had with him, he told me that I needed to do more tendus. Anyone who knows him will laugh at this statement because he was always saying that. But for those who don't understand ballet, a tendu is your foundation. It's the first step in class where you extend your leg and stretch through your foot (tendu actually translates to, "to stretch"). That extension builds through the rest of class all the way to our biggest jumps, so practicing tendus strengthens your foundation (feet and legs) and thereby makes you a better dancer. But Mr. Ohman was more than a ballet teacher. He was a mentor and a father figure to many. He taught us self discipline, perseverance, and that hard work is how you "make your own luck." He was always giving us these little pearls of advice and every one of them was guiding us to be better.
So, I promise to practice my tendus every day. I will make myself a better dancer, a better teacher, a better acupuncturist, and a better person with what he taught me. I will pass on what he gave to me and ensure that his memory, his hun, will live on forever. I invite you all to do this with me, to pass on the goodness of your loved ones. Instill it into your children, so they will instill it in theirs, and create a legacy. We will make the world a better place and honor those who have moved beyond this realm with eternal life.