Relationships are very rarely equal, but they can still be balanced.
It is very difficult to maintain pure and true equality in any kind of relationship.
In fact, it may be impossible.
There are simply too many variables to consider, track, and measure.
Someone is always going to give or take more of something than someone else.
If we try to chase or demand equality of input and outcome in our relationships, we will not only find ourselves disappointed, but also in a constant state of conflict.
Balance, on the other hand, is not only achievable, but is actually more desirable.
Balance means that we make it work.
It means that we cover for each other.
It means that our strength makes up for the weakness of others.
It also means that we allow the strength of others to support us where we have weakness.
Balance is not easy, however.
It requires honesty, humility, and vulnerability.
It requires that we do not keep score, that we trust others, and that we give freely of ourselves because we want to, not because we have an expectation of reciprocity.
Balance demands that we give our all, even when our all is not enough, and that we have faith that the remainder will be there for us when we need it.
When we show up like this and others do too, something magical happens and we realize that we can get through anything together.
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 Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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