A Garden Of Words And Deeds

“Never let the weeds get higher than the garden. Always keep a sapphire in your mind. Always keep a diamond in your mind.”
—Tom Waits

All of the little things we do and say each day add up, but so do all of the little things we do not do and do not say. The goal is to do and say only those things that add positivity and value to our lives and the lives of others and to not do and not say the things that increase negativity and detract value from our lives and the lives of others. In other words, if we want a life that is fruitful and filled with beauty, we must behave and speak in a way that is most conducive with that result.

Of course, as we move toward better behavior, a better outlook, and a better life, old ideas, attitudes, and habits will crop up. When they do, the sooner we recognize them, root out their cause, and work to resolve them, the easier it will be to overcome them in the future. This requires honesty, both with ourselves and with those around us, and it also requires diligence.

Much like a garden, a healthy, positive, and productive life does not grow itself. It requires effort, attention, nourishment, and protection. Also like a garden, we are not solely responsible for all that goes right or all that goes wrong in our lives, but we are responsible for the way that we prepare for and respond to these things.


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.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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