It is not that which we keep out, but that which we let in that changes us.
We do not come into this world close-minded.
We are open, aware, and receptive of everything going on around us.
We take everything in.
We want to know everything.
We want to ask every question, test every theory, and discover all that there is to be discovered.
We are curious, engaged, and fascinated by everything that is new, different, and foreign to our tiny little worlds.
It is all amazing and wondrous, but then, somewhere along the way, we start to develop opinions, beliefs, and, with these, fears.
We start to create walls around who we are and who we are not, what we like and what we do not, and what we hold true and what we do not.
This is a necessary stage in our development because boundaries are what give us identity.
With boundaries, however, come limitations.
As we get older and our personalities, tastes, and values develop, we begin to close ourselves off to that which does not align with the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
The stronger we hold onto this story and all of the ideas, beliefs, and opinions that form it, the more our curiosity fades.
As goes curiosity, so goes possibility.
Our lives become as small or as large as the story we tell ourselves about the world around us and our place within it.
If we want to live a life full of possibility, wonder, and experience, we must learn to hold onto the story of who we are more loosely.
We have to allow our boundaries to be come a little bit more porous, to let in that which is not us, so that we can become someone new.
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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