BY MICHAEL ISHII | When I was younger, I was playing in the orchestra for a university commencement ceremony. I had arrived early and was sitting in the orchestra seats just below the stage doing my warmup exercises on my horn.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was receiving an honorary doctorate. She arrived early also. And as she sat alone onstage in her chair and I was sitting in my chair, I noticed that even as a person of great notoriety, she had a lovely humility about her.
She was alone on a stage in an auditorium and I could see and feel that she felt slightly exposed. I wanted to respect her personal space, so focused on my own work and only after several minutes, I shyly looked up and our eyes met.
We never spoke a word to one another — but I communicated to her with my smile that I recognized her and appreciated her, and she smiled back with graciousness, warmth and a depth of humanity that has remained with me. I felt her qi — and it had a depth of genuine caring.
She clearly loved, saw and respected people — and in that exchange we saw one another. I’ve never forgotten her.
In Chinese medicine, we say that the hun spirit that inhabits your body first at conception, dictates the potential for spiritual connection. And that at your death as the hun departs, a portion, the ren hun, remains — this is the resonance that defines how you will be remembered. Your legacy.
People with very strong hun are remembered for many generations. Justice Ginsburg was a powerful spirit of immense connection, integrity and upright qi. She manifested this and emanated her light in dark times.
I deeply appreciate that she remained to help fellow humans, even past the time her essence had been used up in service. She championed what is good and right about us.
Happy and joyous wishes for you as you travel onward to your next place. We are deeply grateful and will remember you always. We will continue the work you championed. Thank you for your example and love for all of us. These tears are not sadness, they are expressions of gratitude and resolve.
Ishii lives in Queens and is the clinical director at Stonewall Acupuncture. He studied at the Juilliard School.