One question that has no season, that is appropriate in any situation, and that it is never too early or late to ask is: How can I be helpful?
We may perceive ourselves as independent, but the reality is that, whether times are good, bad, or indifferent, we are really all in this together. At some point in our lives, whether we like it or not, we will need help from others and others will need help from us.
Those of us who recognize, accept, and embrace this truth sooner than later have a better chance to create, contribute to, and benefit from what will actually keep us going in times of difficulty, and that is community.
Community is more than simply a group of people gathering together in close proximity. True community is a group of people who, no matter how close or far apart, share a common bond, common interests, and a common goal of helping one another.
When we are part of a community, we owe it to ourselves and to each other within that community to stay active, to stay in touch, and to remain available for when we are needed or when we are in need.
In times of perceived or real separation from our community, whether that means our family, our friends, or our compatriots, when we feel alone, frightened, and lost, we must ask ourselves what we can do to make the situation better, not for ourselves, but for others who are likely feeling the same way as us.
We must ask ourselves how we can be helpful to those who are also estranged and isolated, regardless of how brief the time or short the distance of our separation. We must step up and reach out, ensuring our community that we are still together even when apart.
We must connect with each other by whatever means are available so that, when circumstances reunite us, we are not strangers, but are more firmly bonded than ever before.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh (artist unknown, unless otherwise noted).
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