The martial arts community that I’m part of is truly wonderful. I mean, there are a lot of us in the sword arts that have a different way of looking at the world. Perhaps it is because we practice a more spiritual art than one that is more focused on sport or hurting others. We know sharp swords can cause great harm and I think that makes us think more before we decide to take an action that may be irreversible.
We’re told to win without ever drawing the sword.
That’s not to say we’re all the same. Some of us are less reactive about the things we see in the news than others. Some are just as prone to reacting from an emotional place no matter how much training they undertake to stay calm in moments of distress. I don’t know why that is, but I find it interesting.
I’m one of the calm ones. Why? Because the same patterns have continued to repeat throughout my lifetime. I’ve seen it so many times that I’m not shocked when anything happens anymore. I see people get upset and in a couple of months they forget again until the next time. They share memes to that effect, yet they still do it anyway.
What do I do? How am I able to stay calm? I ask myself what I can personally do to effect positive change. If I can’t do anything to make a good change happen, I go do something where I can effect change and leave that other thing up to the people who are better suited than I am to bring about a solution.
I can’t stop other countries from waging war on each other or get the US to seriously consider a change to its gun laws without quashing any citizen’s right to protect itself against the threat of government tyranny. I can write stories that might empower someone else who is in a better position to develop a solution to those problems.
I can also clean up my home, so that I may live in a better environment that will help ensure I can pay attention to my studies and my loved ones in order to be my best self.
In October, I lost a friend to a fentanyl overdose. Instead of wasting my time on social media fighting with people who refuse to understand the issue, I wrote a short play that features a hockey mom who gets hurt and finds herself turning to street drugs after the medical system lets her down no matter how many times she asks for help. It’s going to be performed later this year and who knows where it may go after that. It may go nowhere or it may help someone. The point is that I’m using the skill I have spent a lot of time honing to try and make a difference.
What are you uniquely skilled at? Maybe you make jewelery? Why not come up with a special line that raises funds for a cause you’re passionate about? You’re pissed off about a government policy? Join a political party to try and change it. You’re concerned about the environment? Be like that kid who developed a system to take trash out of the ocean.
As martial artists, we aren’t supposed to react. We’re supposed to see multiple possibilities and choose the best option for the situation that we already saw coming.
Get off Facebook and take action where you can. You’ll feel better and may actually help someone. Otherwise, you’re just annoying your friends who probably already agree there’s a problem that needs solving.
And that’s how life’s river flows today.