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17 February 2006

Dear Joe and Jonas,

I have a favor to ask of you both....

As you know, this has been one helluva year for me-- a crucible for my spirit. (I'm not alone in this, am I! (We never are!)) It has been painful, but necessary for my growth. For that is what has been happening, growth. I have been outgrowing my old self and my old relationships and my life that was, and now I am in the throes of rebirth. It hurts. I find I continue to resist letting go of much I cherished-- some days I almost convince myself that I won't have to move on, that I can reclaim what I loved best, make it work, force it into fitting again-- I am very strong, and very stubborn, as you know. Very. And so, when I don't like what's happening, I dig my heels in and-- and that only ever works to my detriment. And that is not only a taiji lesson, but a Life lesson, and one I must be constantly forced into relearning, it seems. * sigh * But this time I intend to "get" the lesson.

A favor, I said. Yes. I feel there are many changes coming. As I say, I have outgrown my life. I need to move on to new things. But I also have obligations and responsibilities that must be met before I can just "up stakes" and follow my heart, so I am a little "tied by the heels" to my old life. I chafe a little to be up and doing, to be searching out new horizons, to be shed of the hateful obligations. But they must be met and handled, and my new life must be properly begun.

Meanwhile, I want... companionship. In this "life that was" I am not meeting new people-- at least, not the kinds of people I want to meet. But, it occurred to me as I was listening to you guys talk before class last week, that your lives take you to where the people I want to meet are. Because you guys are exactly the kind of people I want to meet, the kind of people I want for friends. And so, it came to me that I should ask you both to act as my agents.

I'm looking for a practice partner for taiji and weapons. Ultimately I want a life partner, but one must begin at the beginning, and an interest in these things is a prime requisite. I have no prejudices as to looks or background, saving only that he be "presentable" and well-mannered-- at least as "presentable and well-mannered" as the two most disreputable looking characters to be found in Waterford Park on any given WTCD. (You know who you are!)

I am looking for someone who is competent in and who understands martial arts the way we understand them-- the way Jonas's essays explain so well. Someone who is-- a spiritual warrior, a gentleman scholar. Smart and learned. Literate, fun-loving-- an entertaining companion for traveling the Way. He must be someone who understands respect...

And someone who wants to spend time with me, who can spend whole days with me, because we are so different and yet share so much in common. Someone who can also understand-- and grant!-- my need for solitude and personal space because he has need of these things himself. (I am a very private person by nature. Did you guess?) As Rilke put it "... each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust."

When you look about you, I ask that you not consider age. I know you know how old I am, but physical age... the love of my mother's life turned out to be an "older man" I was dating. He was sixteen years her junior. She was my age now when they met. My cousin is 11 years older than her husband of 23 years. It is the spirit that speaks to love, not the physical body. When you look about you as my agents, think of the spirit Leslie that you have come to know, and...

And that's the favor. If, in going about your routine daily lives, you should stumble across a single man whom you feel you could make into a good taiji friend, let me know about him. Let him know about me. We'll take it from there.

Thank you both.

-- Leslie.


Jonas, best of good luck in the new job! (And don't forget to keep your eyes peeled.)


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