No one is immune from experiencing hardship.
Young and old, rich and poor, we all experience pain, tragedy, and loss at one point or another in our lives.
As beautiful and joyful as life can be, it can also be difficult and cruel.
Knowing that we are not alone in our suffering may not provide much comfort or consolation.
However, it should give us some perspective.
While our struggles may feel like they are uniquely our own, it is important to understand that everyone else also feels this way about their struggles as well.
With this in mind, with the knowledge that, to some degree, we are all lonely in our suffering, maybe we can work a little bit harder to connect with the people around us in a way that alleviates some of these feelings instead of exacerbating them unnecessarily.
We may not be immune from experiencing hardship, but, at the very least, we can try to not add to it.
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.*
*Robert Van Valkenburgh’s black and white photography can be seen at My Darkness To Light
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