Are we looking in the right places for that which we are most deeply craving?
Deep down, we all need connection.
We all want to feel as if we matter to someone in some way.
Whether to our family, friends, or community, we want to feel as if our presence and our work means something.
We want to feel that we are useful, that we are contributing something worthwhile to the culture and subcultures we are a part of, and that we would be missed if we were not around.
We also want to know that we are supported in who we are, in the work we are doing, and in who we are trying to be, that we are seen, heard, trusted, and accepted.
We want to feel as if the emotional, intellectual, and physical investment we make for the good of the group will be reciprocated in some way and that we are not merely wasting our time and energy on those who would not or will not do the same for us.
But, not every relationship will give us what we need or crave.
Not every connection is a healthy one.
If we want to find our place in the world, if we want to feel connected in a way that is deep, meaningful, and fulfilling, we must learn to give the best parts of ourselves to those relationships that matter most and that give us the same in return.
To the rest, we only owe that which is necessary.
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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