We must determine what is important to us and seek that out unwaveringly and unapologetically.
Some of us value freedom.
Others value money.
Others still value possessions or power or family or security or any of a number of things, feelings, or experiences.
Values are very personal and very difficult to change.
They are also very easy to fool ourselves over.
We may think we value one thing, but our actions or our deepest feelings tell us otherwise.
But, if we are able to be brutally and unashamedly honest with ourselves about what is absolutely and truly most important to us, we give ourselves a north star that can guide us on our journey through this life.
If we are able to look toward this guiding light, we will always know where to go.
When we get lost, sidetracked, or distracted, we simply need to come back to that which is most important to us and we will be able to get back on track.
Once we know what we value above all else, we have a truth, a mission, and a purpose that cannot be taken away from us, and with that comes a life worth living.
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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