The Responsibility To Try

Healing occurs in the effort.

It is okay to fail. Not all things will work out the way we want or hope. As much as our efforts and our intentions matter, they play only a small part in determining the final outcome of our circumstances and our relationships.

In spite of our perceptions or desires, we actually have influence over a finite number of variables in our lives. In fact, the variables over which we have some semblance of control are quite often outnumbered and outweighed by those things over which we have no control or influence whatsoever.

Regardless of how well prepared we are, regardless of how we show up, behave, or perform, life happens, circumstances change, our environment changes, and people change or are not who we imagined them to be.

All we can do is to do our best with what resources we have available to us. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, our best is not good enough to make things work out the way we desire or imagine they should.

But, it is in doing our best through perceived failure that we learn who we are and who we are not. It is in coming up short with our best effort that we discover where we are strong, where we are weak, and where we must improve.

More importantly, however, it is by showing up, by committing, and by giving our all that we give ourselves the means by which to heal from our past mistakes or misperceptions, especially once we realize that not every failure in our life was or is our fault.

Some things simply can not and perhaps should not work out the way we want. The burden we bear is the responsibility to try, but we must free ourselves from and forgive ourselves for that which does not work out beyond our control.


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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