This year I celebrated 18 official years with the woman I love with my heart and soul. Marriage is hard work; a happy marriage built on trust, understanding, and compassion is an even harder challenge. I am grateful that I have two ears and one mouth, and know when two is greater than one. It has been wonderful and magical to watch year 18 come and go and I am looking forward to our “official” 19th year in 2013.I am extremely proud of taking some “Mike time” this year to apply, interview, and acquire a promotion and subsequent move to Baltimore, Maryland as the Baltimore District, US Army Corps of Engineers Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist. I have poured myself into this field for the last five years and extremely proud to see the immersion pay off, not just for me, but for my family. We have officially put the south behind. I got to explore some variations of my martial path before realizing that my karma had brought me within blocks of the Jinenkan dojo in the city. In November, I began training there and have begun a new path of exploring what has always been my calling, the traditional aspects of the Takamatsuden arts. It has been fulfilling to say the least. No truer words exists than Manaka Sensei’s “Practice proper basics repeatedly and you will be able to always have natural movement.” Of course, it will also be an absolute thrill to attend Manaka Sensei’s return to the United States for a seminar in October.
If I had to name one thing I would have done differently this year it would be paying particular attention to my physical health. I think I spent a lot of the year rebelling, against diet, exercise, and training. Restarting training has been challenging. Refocusing my mind and spirit over the last month or so has helped.So that leads me to thinking about what I want to let go of in the coming year. For me, personally, it is fear and apprehension. 2013 will be a big year for change at my work, as my manager is retiring and the organization will make a decision as to whether I can be placed in that position or whether they will hire someone new. I know that no matter what occurs it will be what it will be. I have to let go of old beliefs and behaviors instilled by past managers and supervisors, both military and civilian, who were only looking out for themselves and their careers, without developing and growing their future replacements. My current manager has greatly assisted me in that inner development and it will be hard to see her leave; yet, joyful in knowing she will be moving into her next stage of existence.
So, where does that leave me for my vision and intention for 2013? Of course, continuing to strengthen my marriage and put aside quality time with the one I love. I also commit myself to training both in the dojo and at home.I have come to realize that I am also within blocks of the Ja Ling Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Center and will be making this a focus for the Year of the Snake. They have a master singer and former chant master of the Sera Je Monastery which interests me greatly. I will also continue my Shinto beliefs and explore opportunities as they present themselves.
Lots of things on the horizon; will be test driving my new 13 week training cycles that I feel I have spent a lifetime designing. I will be focusing on “self” this year in recognition of the Year of the Water Snake. I found some interesting advice when it comes to the Year of the Snake that really rang true to my soul. “It is a year of risk, a time to observe, analyze and then strike quickly. It is a great time to make sense of your life, open yourself to the universal powers that be to receive answers to longstanding problems. Do not be put off from moving forward in a purposeful way; the Snake is both the wise Sage and the sneaky assassin; there is knowledge to be gained from both sides of its nature. Lending all its daring, boldness and outrageous nerve, the Snake likes to see people make use of these qualities and will put obstacles in your way to test them. If adversity does hit, be like the Snake, wait it out until the time is right to make your move, because the time will definitely come, but you must be focused, prepared and have your eye on the goal so that you can attack in a second.”I look forward to a great year of training – in body, mind, and soul.
- Mike (鬼梟)