Our footsteps should be such that, were others to follow them, we would be proud of where they led.
A lot of what we do from day to day ends up simply being a matter of routine or habit, as if we are on auto-pilot with external forces driving our decisions from one moment to the next. Necessity and obligation often dictate that we take directions in our lives that, if it were up to us alone, we may not actually choose. This does not make us any less responsible for our lives or our choices, however.
Ultimately, every choice we make, whether it was our idea or not, whether it was the obvious, practical, popular, or even necessary choice, is ours to live with. It does not end there, though. Every decision we make or do not make, every action we take or do not take, and every thought, word, or sentiment we express or do not express has a long-lasting and far-reaching unforeseen effect.
Every step we take leaves an impression on the world. These impressions are not easily swept away or forgotten either by time or by those who are affected by them. We should, therefore, choose consciously, wisely, and intentionally how, where, and with whom we walk through this life because others are always affected, watching, and even following.
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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