Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One letter for everyday of the week

Here.  Now.  Seven letters.  Seven days of the week. 
Been a while since my last blog.  Some of my family knows the reason for my absence, those who do not just need to be aware that life in general offered me a challenge to grow or wither.  I chose to take the offer, push through the mud and murk to bloom on the other side. 
There are lessons to be learned when life hands you adversity.  You can cling to the sorrow, the pain, the suffering. You can spiral into doubt, depression, the sadness and despair.  You can find reasons to quit, throwing in the towel.  You can say, “I can never _____.”  Or you can live.  I am a firm believer that any amount of adversity can be overcome.  It takes perseverance.  It takes staying in the here and now, right here and right now.  It takes placing your sword over your heart.  It takes realizing that, “Even though an enemy has a blade over my heart, I will succeed.  I will win.” 
The root of what I teach veterans (of both wars abroad and at home) is the mantra of “Here and Now.”  As I stated, the words Here Now are seven letters, which I have assigned the following seven words to contemplate one day at a time.  They are H-Honesty, E-Endurance, R-Reality, E-Effort, N-Notice, O-Onward, and W-Worthy.  Let’s explore.
HONESTY is the key to staying grounded.  Look at why you are straying off course.  And then LOOK at why you are straying off course.  And once you open that path, REALLY look at why you are straying off the path.  In other words, somewhere buried deep down below the initial obstacle is the true reason.  Embrace that reason with honesty and integrity.
Have the ENDURANCE to face the challenge.  Endurance doesn’t mean going full out 110 percent.  It means keeping your eyes and mind aware through the challenge to find the opening.  It means staying the course waiting for the moment when you can make that one move that will stop the conflict.  It means persevering. 
Stay focused on REALITY, this reality, right here, right now.  Relax in the moment and let the present play out.  Is the event that is causing you distress really happening in reality?  Stop and look again.  Is the event that is causing you distress really happening in REALITY?  Think about that for a moment.
Understand there is no easy path.  We can’t just give it up to a higher power and continue to hurt.  It takes EFFORT.  Strength gainers don’t just look at a book on exercise and become stronger.  Runners don’t buy a Wii Fitness and expect to finish a road race.  Likewise, mental strength doesn’t come from not pushing yourself beyond your limits.  Push.  Put the effort in.
A key component in Here Now thinking is to NOTICE everything around you at all times.  This helps you stay grounded in the moment.  Sometimes there is an advantage in letting your mind and spirit wander.  This is good.  But, liken it to your annual vacation from work.  You reward yourself for a good year by taking that time off to relax.  Your moments that you wander should be that vacation, not the hard work you put in day after day.  By noticing your surroundings you develop the capability that no amount of adversity can surprise you. That doesn't mean staying hypervigilant, just stay aware, where you are, when you are, why you are.
When you deal with the present, keep in mind that it will slip into the past and you will press ONWARD.  In the few minutes that you have been reading this blog, time has slipped by.  You have moved onward from where you were.  How simple was that?  Those moments that threaten to derail your life are the same.  Push onward.  They will be the past in just a few moments.
The last aspect is to recognize that you are WORTHY of this effort.  You affect someone.  You also affect yourself.  You have some worth to someone.  Somehow you got to this blog.  You have worth to me just for stopping by, whether you comment or not.  Adversity can try to derail your worth, make you think there is no reason to carry on, but this is so untrue. 
I close with these two phrases from the martial path I follow.  Banpen Fugyo – 10,000 changes, no surprise.  A complex phrase with a simple message – persevere, even when faced with a blade above your heart. 
The second phrase is the essence of budo – Ganbatte Kudasai! – keep going! 
Endure, survive, because this is the here and now!