We all want to know that we are worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
We want to know that our life, our very existence, has value.
We want to know that this value is inherent to our very being, that we are deserving of affection, appreciation, and compassion simply because we are, not because of something we do or do not do, say, or have to offer.
Deep down, we want to know know that to be loved, cared for, and cared about is our birthright.
As children, we cry, gesture, and even beg for acknowledgement, attention, and validation.
We were not born able to feed, clothe, or shelter ourselves.
Nor were we born able to comfort ourselves.
This need for loving connection is as real as our need for breath itself.
If not received, even if ignored, denied, or punished, the need itself does not go away.
In fact, it is quite likely that the less love we receive, the more we actually need.
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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