Courage means showing up, even if it breaks your heart.
They are often the things we avoid most fervidly that we need more than anything to do. These are the experiences that cause us the most fear, the experiences that we know will cause us pain and heartache. They are also the things that, if we avoid them, will cause us the most regret.
It is impossible to experience deep joy and happiness in this life without also opening ourselves up to that same degree of grief and sorrow. In order to feel deeply, we must feel everything deeply. This means that if we want to experience love in all of its facets, we must also be willing to experience loss.
If we want to live a full, meaningful life, we must let our guards down, remove the buffers, and step out from behind the walls we have built to protect us. There is no hiding. There is no safety. There is no reprieve. Nothing will save us from this choice.
To deny this is to deny ourselves the right to live. To ignore this is to turn our backs on our deepest needs and desires. To run away from this is to run toward regret. Pain heals, but regret is forever.
In order for us to be courageous, there must first be the risk of pain.
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