As we go out into the world each day, perhaps even before, we will undoubtedly be challenged and it is how we face these challenges that determines the quality of our character.
Within every step on the path lies a lesson, an opportunity to rise up and grow, to meet the day, to face the world, and to become our best selves. Within these same steps also lies the potential to back down, to shy away from others and from ourselves, and to be less than we are capable of. Within each step is a choice.
It is frightening to discover our power and our potential, to see who we truly are and who we know we want to be. If we change, we may not be accepted, we may not be supported, and we may not be loved. Within each step, we must choose whether it is better to be alone and unloved as our true selves or to be accepted and embraced for a lie.
Avoiding risk, hiding from uncertainty, and shrinking away from fear does not make them go away. It only makes us smaller. If we are brave enough to face ourselves, if we choose ourselves and our power consistently enough that it becomes clear to us and to others that we are serious, that we are not backing down, that we are not going back to who we once were, to our small selves, we may be surprised as the world adapts.
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, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.
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