So... I was in the shower last night and as often happens in the shower, my brain began sorting through my life and pushing ideas at me. Suddenly, I found myself downstairs on my computer furiously writing ideas that seemed to have taken over my mind and body. I couldn't stop until it was done. This happens to me on occasion and I find that when I later read what I have written, I am in disbelief that I actually wrote the words on the page. This was my experience this morning when I reread my strange little essay that kept me up until 3:00am!
It seems to come as a surprise when people learn about me that I like to write. The surprise is probably because I generally do not show people my ramblings! I write for me. I find the experience cathartic and I generally feel quite shy to share my inner self with others. That said, I want to set an example for others on living my truth with no apologies. Against the gnawing fear in my gut, I have decided to share my late night rantings on this blog. The following is an essay that some inner thought demon who possessed me wrote last night. If even one person finds that it strikes a cord with them I will happily own the embarrassment of being so self disclosing as I am being in posting this...
Essay on Self-Expression Without Apology
I’ll admit that my ideas are not new ones. They are already written somewhere in a myriad of other places in other people’s words. With that said, the nature of being an individual is that our experiences are necessarily unique as is the audience that witnesses those experiences through our portrayal of them. To express our experiences to whoever may be listening is to always be saying something fresh and new so I have decided to stop worrying about sounding like the people who have written or otherwise portrayed the things that move me and to feel free to portray those things in turn as a form of my own expression.
To that end I have three ideas I wish to express in an effort to stir some desire for more happiness in the people that read this. I hope it leads to taking the actions that will bring that happiness to fruition. These ideas are about how we might direct the activities of our lives from a place of personal reflection rather than on the expectations of others. Only we can know our own natures and what makes us happy. To live our truth fully and without apology is to live contrary to some other person’s truth. My hope is that the pressure to conform does not hinder you from enjoying your one opportunity to live and experience “is-ness”.
The first idea is that there are ways for every person to feel as though they are expressing their truth that, in so doing, will bring them contentment, fulfillment and joy. Those ways may differ from other people’s ways and your experience of those ways will be unique and personal to you. While your experience of whatever expression brings you joy will be personal, you have the ability to share that joy with others who find happiness in similar forms of expression. Finding these expressions and then finding the people who share them is a key component to making the following idea possible.
The second idea is that with effort and time, one can find a way to secure their livelihood doing the things that bring them joy. It may be arduous and take a long time to finally figure out how to do this but it is worth the effort. To toil in some activity that does not bring you joy day after day simply to subsist is to waste the gift of life. Even if one were to accumulate massive wealth, it would mean nothing if they were to take all their dreams and true ambitions to the grave with them. Of all the successful people I have studied, they all seem to agree on one thing. If one wishes to live a life of abundance, they are most likely to achieve that by working in whatever activities fulfill their need for personal expression. It is commonly noted that material wealth follows hard work in the arena that brings a person joy. The joy they feel in that expression fills them with the energy to plow through the adversity it requires to find success. Those who toil in joyless activities grow tired and find ways to anesthetize their broken spirits with distractions so they don’t feel the pain they are causing themselves.
The third idea is that the things that bring us joy can shift or change and we should remain adaptable and always seek to express our truth rather than become stuck in a routine that no longer fulfills us. We all long for some level of progress. People often necessitate material gain as progress but that isn’t always the case. Progress is the evolution of our expression of the things that bring us happiness and contentment. When we were early toddlers we felt great contentment at being able to simply take a few steps without falling over. As we grew, our needs to physically express ourselves grew to include running, climbing and increasingly more complex activities. Mastering these activities ignited us to see how much further we could take ourselves.
Regardless of whether we find our greatest contentment expressing ourselves physically, intellectually, artistically, or some combination of a variety of different means of expression, the fact remains that we generally long to see growth or progress in it over time. Achievement unlocks something within us that requires some other achievement. It is important to not become fixated on some ideal that in expressing we no longer feel a personal connection to. Changing our minds and shifting the set of our sail is not a thing to be embarrassed about. To do so is to show humility and courage. Anyone who would judge you for not remaining the same are almost certainly only jealous of your bravery in doing so in spite of the pressure to conform.
These three ideas are not something I witness many people embracing. They work where they do to live up to the expectations of other people or because they simply do not believe it is possible to change and find something that really ignites passion in them. The transition from a known means of survival to the unknown is simply too frightening for them and the thought alone is enough to overwhelm them into remaining complacent with what they know or to what others have told them is good for them. The only person who can feel your happiness is you. Others can witness it and perhaps feel their own happiness as a result of seeing you find joy in some expression but they cannot feel your happiness for you. It is worth it to look in the mirror for your truth rather than out the window. Whatever needs you have can only be located within. Seek the expression that gives you joy, find your livelihood there and apologize to nobody for the choice to experience life in a way that suits your own personal needs.
The purpose of this blog
This blog is intended as a place to discuss ideas relevant to both both martial arts and life in general. Our school doesn't exist with the sole purpose of making great fighters but also of helping its members develop themselves into great people. The entries are about sharing ideas. I will not spend much time editing grammatical errors so please try not to let it drive you crazy when you come across them!