Figure out what the one thing is that, if you do not do it, you will forever regret it, start moving in the direction of that thing, and never stop.
Regret tells us more about who we want to be than passion does. Passion comes and goes, it changes focus, and, ideally, it evolves as we mature. Regret, on the other hand, stays with us until we do something about it, until we face it and until we overcome it with action.
Our passions can change from day to day, moment to moment, based on input, on environment, and on circumstances. We become passionate about different things at different times in our lives depending on what we are personally going through, the influence of our peers, and even the cultural climate. Our passions wax and wane as we age, changing with the seasons, leading us in whatever direction we are willing to follow, but regret, real, deep regret remains inside us, regardless of whatever else is going on.
Unlike passion, which can be influenced by external forces and can therefore deceive us, regret is tied directly to our essence, to who we are at our core, at a soul level, if you will. Regret is linked directly to our conscience, beyond what we perceive as right and wrong, beyond who we think we want to be, demanding that we be who we truly are or suffer its gnawing, nagging, malignant voice for the remainder of our days. By understanding and amending our regrets, and working tirelessly to not experience new ones, we are much more likely to live meaningful, fulfilling lives than our fleeting and fickle passions will ever lead us to.
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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