Being with Erika: #03, Melbourne 1991 – “Come for lunch!”

Misha Magidov was invited by some Australian teachers to visit Sydney and run a refresher course for them. Afterwards they wanted him to go again soon, but he had other commitments so asked me – one of the assistant trainers in his school at that time – if I would like to go instead. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to travel and meet new people. If I included a trip to Melbourne I would, I hoped, be able to reconnected with Erika.

Shortly after initial plans were discussed I had a visit from a woman called Jacqui Baker (now Hindley), a teacher-trainee from a school in Melbourne. She wanted to discuss some concerns with me as I was then the Chair of STAT. I said I was planning on visiting Melbourne the following year and she invited me to stay with her in the house she shared with Diana Johnston (now Devitt-Dawson). I knew Diana from when she was a student in London. So it was all set up for September 1991.

After a stopover in Bangkok and a visit to a contact in Canberra. I arrived late one evening in Melbourne. Diana and Jacqui being away, I had to let myself in with a key left under a dustbin.

The next morning I was wondering how to get in touch with Erika when the phone rang. I answered and strangely enough there she was. She gave me some helpful hints about places to go and things to do in Melbourne on a Sunday and invited me to lunch the following day. Later that evening Jacqui arrived and the next morning we went round to Erika’s apartment in Armadale, the first of many visits.

About a year before my first visit Erika had had a serious accident. She was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing and had fractured her leg in the knee joint. Her mobility was affected by this and her regular trips to the UK to visit her daughter and grandchildren in Edinburgh had been suspended.

Lunch – helped down with one or two gin and tonics – seemed to last most of the day, and a wonderful day it was! The time flew by with endless conversation about FM, AR and Erika’s fellow first generation teachers; also Chinese medicine, comparative religion – just about everything. I had a strong sense of how integrated she was. Just being with her was to learn; no trying, no doing, no stiffness, just natural. Although we were discussing themes of some import, the tone was light.

Then she went out of the room to attend to something. When she came back she looked at me very intensely. “That key-note address I gave in Brighton – I meant every word I said.”1

I almost fell off my seat!

Seconds later the conversation was light again. I asked if I could have a lesson with her and a time was set for later that week.

1. Erika’s Keynote Address

© 2013 John S Hunter

Other Posts on Being with Erika:

#01, London 1985 – Annual Memorial Lecture
#02, Brighton 1988 – Key Note Address
#04, Melbourne 1991 – Tea Ceremony
#05, Melbourne 1991 – Jean Jacques by the Sea
#06, Back in Melbourne, 1992
#07, “Where did you train?”, London, 1993
#08, “It’s all the same”, London, 1993
#09, “Making the Link”, London, 1993
#10,  A Lesson in Stopping, London, 1993
#11, Hands, London 1994
#12, “Yes, but you’re worrying!”, London, 1993
#13, “Nothing special”, London, 1994

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