Today at taekwondo I was training with Gen, who is a lovely woman, very sensitive to others' needs, very caring. She is one of those martial arts students who is always encouraging others during drills and even when sparring. In spite of the fact, by the way, that she is an imposing, if not frightening, sparring partner.
Anyway, I am not any of those things. I am not an imposing, forget about a frightening, sparring partner. I'm also not the kind of martial arts student who encourages others with comments about how well they're doing. I'll offer to stop if I think someone is going to pass out or ask if people are okay if I think they're injured. I'm not a monster. But I'm not the kind of training partner who goes, "Good! Good! You're doing great! Don't forget to breath! Only another half minute! You can do it!" My attitude tends to be, "Breath or not. I don't care. When do we get to do poomse?"
While training with kind and generous Gen this morning, I started worrying that my sucky attitude in the dojang might be representative of how I behave in other parts of my life--say, during group writing critiques. This is significant because this Saturday I'm attending the day program of the Whispering Pines Writers' Retreat, which includes informal group critiques in the afternoon. It's been years since I've been in a group critique. In fact, I haven't done it since I was one of the speakers at Whispering Pines four years ago. I'm very fearful I'll sit there with a mindset that will be the group critique equivalent of "Breath or not. I don't care," and everyone will be able to tell.
I may have to leave early to pick someone up at a train station. That might not be a bad thing.