Accountability and Priorities

I stopped using this format, working on a new poetry project and novel, but visited yesterday for work. And as I look back, I discover what’s been missing in my training lately. Accountability and priorities. I return to my Why – the study and practice of martial arts is a life long journey. It helps to keep track of where you have been and where you are going.

There’s a new little window that pops up with a blue flag now as I write a post:

Distraction-Free Writing

The explanation promises that everything surrounding the editor will fade away when you start to typing.

I need everything surrounding this author to fade away as I write.

Home for the Holidays

My children mock me because it’s October and I already have the holiday music station already playing. But I say the season is too short. I’ve been reflecting on the why. I think it’s about that sense of home.

And then I was cleaning out my phone and came across this note (written as part of the Writing 101 challenge which included a profusion of poems that never made it here but are scattered across random mediums):

I know a place where “can’t” is profane,
Where small steps become journeys,
And possibilities are endless.

That’s what keeps me training and what brings me back here, time and again, even after long absences.

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Lackluster

Lackluster defined 1

Thus was my performance in a recent class described. And although affronted, I couldn’t argue as it was accurate for the portion witnessed. When working on my own stuff, my attitude is poor. It’s not limited to class. My writing time is put off (my first entry in a month). My morning meditation skipped. Poetry abandoned. Practice minimal.

The second half of that same class, I taught someone the next 12 movements of their new form.  When assisting others, I focus on the present task.  I am happy to help, necessary and validated. I am positive and encouraging even when they make a mistake.

So the trick will be to become a teacher to myself.  Stop letting perceived inadequacies limit growth.  Reclaim time for what’s important to my own success.

This weekend, I renewed my commitment to meditation. Poetry is a still surprising and welcome by-product.

It’s hard to be sad in the morning,
when all around nature wakes to
uncompromising joy,
knowing only today.

A Mental Exercise

ImageI count out loud but say the moves in my head.

18 Low X block
19 Knee strike
20 …
20 …
20 …
It’s gone. So I start over. Again, stall at 19. Take it once more from the beginning but the remaining 32 moves at are inaccessible, lost somewhere in the recesses of my brain. The more frustrated I become, the less I can remember, despite patient reminders from the instructors. I head home from class disappointed, finding little consolation that I made it through the 486 combined moves of all my previous forms.

It would be easy to take the night off.  Go to bed.  Try again some other time. But that’s not what a black belt does. It’s not the example I wish to set for my students. Practice and perseverance set us apart.

So once everyone else is sleeping.  I take out my cards.  Breathe. Read and walk through it over and over until the light bulb blazes into being over my head. That joyful a-ha moment endorphin rush encourages a dozen more repetitions. And I wake up early, so I can do it again.

I love Martial Arts because it provides both physical and mental challenges.  We need both to be our best selves.

The Silent Storm

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It’s beautiful this winter, but also isolating. Sometimes our silence is the same. Be sure to find your Poetry or Martial Art (your outlet). Written in response to the DP Challenge.    

The Silent Storm
A season’s shunning
Colder than I’ve ever been
Bereft of presence

Running in Circles

My great-uncle Joe, teasing my mother and aunt who were staying at the farm for a few weeks in the summer, cut the head off a chicken which ran around blind, until it realized it was dead.

I’ve been contemplating goals since the new year.  And feeling a little like that chicken.  There are so many obstacles.  At school, work and home nothing seems to get accomplished.  The weather shuts us all in, something new breaks, or someone gets sick.  And it’s easy to use all those things as an excuse.

So, I made myself a playlist. Titled it unoriginally: RUN.  I come to work early, plug my tablet into the main dojang speakers, crank the volume until I can feel the music, and then I start my laps.  And that one accomplishment helps me focus.

Uncle Joe was fortunate that my Great Grandmother let him keep his head, when she was told what he had done.  But I’m thankful for the proverbial connection.

And even though I’m running in circles, I’m feeling a little less blind.