Our capacity for love and joy is the same as our capacity for heartache and pain.
It is impossible to open our hearts to the possibility of loving and being loved by others without also opening our hearts to the possibility of being hurt as well. We cannot experience the fullness of the former without making ourselves vulnerable to the latter. In order to open our hearts to love and joy, we must also open our hearts to pain and loss.
If we are to experience everything life has to offer in terms of happiness, passion, and joy, we will also, eventually, experience everything life has to offer in terms of sorrow, heartbreak, and grief. It is a package deal and there is no way around it, but there is a way through it. The way to navigate through the peaks and the valleys of love and loss, joy and grief, of passion and pain, is with hope.
Hope may not be a strategy, but it is a tool. Even when all seems lost and there appears to be no way out of the pain, the hurt, and the heartbreak that we will inevitably experience if we live with our hearts open, as long as we can find some glimmer of hope, some flicker of optimism, or some spark of belief that things can improve, that this may eventually pass, and that there is even the possibility of a reason to go on, we will come out on the other side. The secret is that hope does not need to come from us in order for it to carry us through even our worst moments because hope is so powerful a tool that it can actually be borrowed from others and still be effective.
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 unless otherwise noted.
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