If you relax your eyes, you’ll see three words in the header artwork to this blog. Its a phrase I commissioned from Gary Musselman, an artist in LA. He’s a reclusive fellow and difficult to find. I first found out about Gary via syndicated columnist Amy Alkon, who described his work as “jazz on paper.” And indeed it is. The greatly reduced digitized version doesn’t do it justice.
If you still can’t see the words, it might be because it’s a Japanese phrase. “Hobo Kore Dojo.” The phrase embodies a central element in my approach to life.
“Hobo Kore” is a little difficult to translate. Roughly, it means “this place where you are at” or “wherever you are.” “Dojo” is a place of learning, community and personal commitment. While it is often thought of as a physical place, such as a school or a monastery, the deeper meaning is that of a space without walls and alive. So the entire phrase comes to mean “each moment in life is your school” or “each step you take in life has a lesson.”
I first encountered this phrase when I began studying Aikido (a martial art) at Nippon Kan. The school’s founder and chief instructor, Gaku Homma, is a Japanese immigrant and had carved this phrase in Japanese calligraphy on a large piece of wood and hung it over the dojo entrance. The phrase has helped me keep a healthy perspective on life ever since. Over the years I’ve learned one can be forced to take a step or one can choose to take a step. How that step happens has a great influence on the lessons learned. I prefer choosing the steps.
Occasionally, I update posts either to add follow-up information, comments that have been emailed, or to clarify points. When this happens, I endeavor to make a note at the end of the post that such updates have occurred. I do not do this, however, in the case of fixing spelling errors or minor syntax and grammar changes that do not substantively change the meaning of the sentence.