It has been a long while since I have posted to this blog. My focus was diverted from the blog to concentrate on some other life challenges but I plan to go forward with posting here. Over the past two years I have struggled with my father’s cancer and eventual death from that disease. I took time to care for my father and comfort him in the face of death. I also managed to train for and achieve my Third Degree Black Belt while traveling through this life challenge. I also have begun another chapter in my professional career. I decided, after over nine years of service, to take a severance package from my employer. The department I worked with was reorganized and relocated and I took the opportunity to move on. I have just now begun a new chapter in my professional life with a new career in a new company.
I have been planning on writing a post for some time and a significant event prompted me to begin. Many Martial Artists across the country knew Steve Lavallee. On the morning of June 11th 2012 he committed suicide. It is a shocking event. We all may have skeletons in our closet. Some closets are much darker than others. Out of respect for Mr. Lavallee’s family I will not go over the turmoil surrounding this saddening outcome. Instead I would like to turn this sad event into a reflection on how to live life.
How we deal with challenges that can threaten our way of life will define our true character, regardless of the public facade we create. Walking through life is many times a very difficult adventure. Adventure is the word we should use for life’s journey. Adventures teach us lessons and life should be lived as one long lesson. On our adventure we should gather up the mementoes and cherish each event whether it is sad or joyous. We melt these things into our character. Many stories and myths have the hero leave on an adventure full of challenges and obstacles. The hero returns from the adventure reborn and enlightened. We should all strive to be that hero.
If our choice is to focus on negativity then the adventure becomes negative. While sadness is often times viewed as negative let us challenge that perspective. Sadness should be embraced and experienced. Let the tears fall but do not dwell there. Fighting sadness multiplies inside and prevents us from moving on. Sadness is like a boiling pot. Cover the pot and eventually the top will no longer hold the pressure. The water will over boil and can extinguish our flame. If we uncover the pot and allow the steam to rise, the waters of sadness disappear into the steam. What we have left is the memory of the boiling, a memory of the sadness. We can look back at it without being consumed by it. The energy of our sadness in the passing of a loved one can be turned towards a celebration of their life and lessons they gave us. The sadness of betrayal can be turned to a lesson of how we ourselves should live to be trustworthy and never inflict that pain on others. Sadness in the face of evil deeds and people should be turned to lessons on how to protect ourselves and others from evil and those who would do us harm. The examples can come forth endlessly. Every negative encounter and experience can hold a positive energy. It is our perspective and reaction that rescue us and find the positive.
Forgiveness is another lesson we should take and embrace in life. Forgiveness does not mean we condone evil behavior. Forgiveness is about our ability to not be held captive by evil. If we look to always embrace the hurt and pain we carry that on our shoulders it infects everything we do. When we look for revenge or an apology that will never come, it darkens the mind with images of events that will never erase the reality of what has happened. With forgiving we release the pain and let go of the control the evil and the evil doer have on us. Without forgiveness in our hearts evil and the evil people in our lives influence our everyday thoughts and actions. Forgiving does not condone the evil acts. Forgiving does not mean we allow evil ones to stay or come back into our lives. Forgiving means we jettison the control evil’s influence has on us. Malice in the heart towards any person evil or good only diminishes our character. Do not allow yourself to be a victim of malice. Become a survivor of evil.
Many times evil will hide behind the veil of trust. Evil doers will present to the world greatness of character. Whether this is an intention or not evil will use the good that they do to mask and conceal their evil deeds. This takes many forms. A business man or woman that speaks with motivational platitudes may very well be insidiously cheating and harming business associates for his or her own selfish gain. People thought to be great leaders can easily hide their immoral and illegal doings. We are all loath to believe that people we looked up to, counted on and may have even called a friend would betray our trust or the trust of many. We, by placing people on pedestals make it difficult for victims of this darkness to come forward. Often times a victim is looked at as a jealous rival or someone just looking to topple the royalty. Victims that do come forward to challenge this false royalty are courageous warriors. These victims are willing to stand up to the masses and the regime and know they face an army of ridicule and doubt. We should never dismiss a cry for help. Yes it could be false. However if we see a drowning person we assume they should be rescued. We should assume people crying for help deserved to be rescued even if it means rescuing them from a person we hold in high regard. We may love the water but we know it can kill. We cannot allow the waters of friendship, respect, and love cloud our vision of victims that need to be rescued from the water.
On our adventure and our journey we should remain the hero. Be a hero to those that need our help. Heroic acts will take courage and we may face fires, obstacles and monsters. We need to walk through the fires, go over the obstacles and slay the monsters. There are obstacles of sadness. There are fires of forgiveness. There are monsters of evil. All these things take many forms. They hide in places we never expect and will pounce on us in an instant. We as Martial Artists train to protect ourselves our families and should be ready in an instant. Protect yourself from all things in this world physical or otherwise. Be prepared to always be the hero. During your life adventure embrace, overcome, protect, rescue, and forgive.