Who leaves and who stays. And who tends to holiness.

Let’s state this from the beginning, so that perhaps this will help those who have a little allergy to “church things”: this wants to be a “secular post”, brutally secular.

These days are traditionally dedicated to the memory of those who are no longer here. Maybe because it is an extremely private and sensitive subject. Maybe because it falls in the first days when the reduction of light becomes sensitive. The fact is that I didn’t have all this desire to write something this week. A little as if the very fact of breaking the silence was not respectful of the moment.

Then the news of Maurizio’s death arrived a little while ago. News for which Maurizio prepared his contacts in recent days. With that simple way and without self-pity which is common in those who lived in concreteness. A concreteness that he, in a life of work dedicated to plants, had learned to recognize in the beauty of nature.

We met Maurizio, and his friends, on a beach, at the end of August 2015. They welcomed us and opened up to us -who were in swimsuit, while they dressed gi and hakama, regardless of the heat, the sun, of the sand and the looks of passers-by.

Maurizio and his friends: few words, a lot of substance. A warm heart in a granite temper, exactly like their land, excessively generous with those who know how to understand and respect it.

Life is made up of encounters -and many other things. Some people walk with you for a long time. Others are close for years but you don’t even realize it. Still others cross our life for a moment and somehow affect our trajectory.

Maurizio belongs to the latter group.

What does Maurizio leave me? The memory of his iriminage on the beach? His warm smile? Any advice on how to treat our plants?

I firmly believe that those who leave before us basically leave us a message. That our life, that anyone’s life, is important.

Yet, often, we do not fully get the seriousness of the thing.

Sometimes, or often, we just survive. To do everything to simply “stay”. The longer we can.

Days like this, news like these, which cyclically cross our days, stripping away our affections, known faces, bonds, require us to ask ourselves what is the purpose of staying.

Seen from the outside, like anyone who follows a discipline with dedication, we look like hysterical puppets dressed in white. And maybe sometimes we are, when our reasons get weak. When we don’t notice who we are in front of, even if we practice together every night. When we prefer to give a socially acceptable version of ourselves and not our best.

A place where a martial discipline is practiced is not a place of worship, even if it looks like. However, if the group that animates it is intellectually honest, it becomes a place of personal and collective transformation. We progress under a technical point of view and often we find ourselves (more) capable of understanding, sharing, generosity, forgiveness, sincerity and many other things.

Staying here and remaining faithful to a shared path of growth is useful to evolve. Maurizio has dedicated his life to learning about and taking care of nature and he certainly knew that there is always an “after”, even after the sharpest pruning.

What kind of “after” are we destined for? And if all this hurry to practice a discipline, to try to have an ethical vision, is not aimed at this “after”, which we could dare to call “holiness” what good is it?

Thanks Maurizio for reminding us of all this.

Disclaimer: Photo by Jason Pischke on Unsplash

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