We must work through the bad, but we must not forget to also tend to the good.
It is often said that the good aspects of a relationship simply work themselves out. This is not always true. If we do not acknowledge them, tend to them, and encourage them, even the strongest parts of a relationship will struggle to thrive and grow.
Imagine for a moment that a relationship is like a flower garden. Obviously, if we allow weeds to grow up in the garden, the flowers cannot get the nourishment, space, and sunlight they need in order to bloom. It is not enough, however, to merely tend to the weeds.
Removing weeds from a garden is necessary for the life of the flowers, but the absence of weeds alone does not a flower garden make. In order to grow beautiful, healthy flowers, a lot of effort and care must be taken, from well before the flower even exists until long after it has bloomed into its full glory.
First, the soil must be prepared and the seeds of the flowers must sewn. The seeds must be given the right amount of food, water, and sun for nourishment, so that they can grow up out of the soil. As the plants grow, they must be kept safe from pests, disease, and weeds.
If we have done all that we can and if nature has cooperated, we will have a beautiful flower garden to behold and cherish. Still, we cannot simply rest and assume that the flowers will be fine, if only we keep them away from that which would destroy them. We must continue to nurture them, to care for them, and to ensure that they have what they need to grow, and so it is with the better parts of our relationships.
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 and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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