We often find ourselves responding to others based on a story from our past instead of being with them in the moment.
Our perception stems largely from a narrative created in our minds about who we are in the world. This narrative is amalgamated from our personal experiences, our family histories, and our moral and cultural values. As we age, instead of experiencing the people around us and their actions as new and unique, we tend fit them into this story we have made up about ourselves.
When people behave toward us or around us in a way that reminds us of some past experience, we react to that memory, instead of to the person in front of us. This causes us to relive the same patterns of experience and behavior over and over again, even with new people or in new places. We become trapped in our own story.
If we want to change our lives, we must begin by changing our perspective, changing the story we tell ourselves about who we are and how we relate to those around us. We cannot erase the past. What we can do is reflect on it, take stock of what storylines we are stuck in, and slowly begin to rewrite our future by not reacting to a memory, but by being present and open with those who we are with now.
They are not who we remember and neither are we.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu