Summer is often a time we look forward to enjoying. There is no school, the weather is great, everybody can be outside and you can go away on vacations!
Personally, this summer has been a time to recover health and well being. As adults, we constantly work to provide, protect and pursue things that will take care of our family. This goes well beyond simply working a job; we manage our children's activities, clean and cook, find time to be with our lovely family, and still attempt to pay attention to our own health.
That's a lot to do! Summers traditionally are a time to be able to cut loose, relax the dizzying set of demands we take on in the other three seasons.
So this summer, I promised to take care of myself.
One major goal was to improve my physical fitness. Now those of you who know me can attest to my multiple injuries from training and cumulative breakdown over time.
Torn Achilles, strained calf muscles, dislocated hip, fractured thyroid, and pain each morning. Enough! I have worked to recover health and have enjoyed the first summer of near full health since over a decade.
Training in martial arts, much like in surgery, has often been an exercise in discovering our failings. Not fast enough, not strong and missing breaks, losing matches and being defeated. In surgical training, not smart enough, not quick enough, losing patients and mourning the loss. If only I trained harder or was smarter I could have won my sparring matches and broke the boards or concrete better. If only I had studied harder, stayed up later memorizing anatomy I could have saved my patients, operated better. Defeated by my own insecurities, I redoubled my efforts to succeed only to end up frustrating myself over and over. Have you ever felt that way ? Constantly striving and just not getting there?
It is very common.
So what can we do?
The key is in what we have been working on in class over the past several years.
Number 1: There is no substitute for training. We need to learn how our body moves in space, and we need to be able to move with maximum efficiency. The body needs to be greater than the sum of its parts. Similarly in school and work, we need to constantly be learning anew and growing in our knowledge. There is no substitute to training to acquire and refine skills and school for getting more knowledge.
Number 2: Being clear in our goals and objectives. For example, the goal cannot simply becoming a black belt, or breaking 5 boards. It is too finite. Those can be objectives to our ultimate goals. It can be as simple as becoming more physically and mentally fit, two of my personal goals. What we do defines our APPROACH to those goals.
Number 3: Achieving those goals, whatever they are have a few common denominators. A foundation (the ground), motivation (the breath), and method (movement). These are the basic essentials of any goal we set.
Number 4: The way, do, we achieve it is the most powerful thing any of us can do. It is found in accepting that the moment, the fleeting time of the present, is all we ever get. We can use it to move, breath and change. We cannot change the past, we do not know the future. However, the way we are now, allows us to look at the past in a different way. The way we move now, opens up the future to an limitless set of possibilities.
Number 5: Be kind to your self in defeat as well as victory. You will have more failures than victories. Celebrate each victory and adjust with each defeat. When you are hit, make sure you hit back. When you receive an award celebrate the moment and then put the medal away.
Life moves very quickly and we Must become adept at understanding zanshin and mushin. Think on this and you will understand. Practice this and you will find flow, peace and harmony no matter what happens.