Posts Tagged ‘Perspective’

Can You Say Merry Christmas?

ktadmin Posted in Charity, Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , , , ,
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This post is a bit stream of consciousness and a bit reflection.  I was out Christmas shopping today, people were pleasant enough but not once did anyone say Merry Christmas, not once did anyone say Happy Holiday’s, it was kind of sad.  It didn’t make me sad, it just seemed sad.  Have we become so disconnected or are we so afraid of offending someone?  I wished everyone a Merry Christmas that I spoke with today and the majority reacted surprised but happy.  The only note of Christmas Spirit I have seen so far has been in two Salvation Army red bucket collectors.  One was so filled with the Spirit of Christmas that he still has me smiling more than a day later.  Why?  He was standing in the cold, singing Christmas/Religious songs, opening the door for people and wishing them a good day.  He had such an impact I almost wonder if he was an Angel to be able to impart such goodwill in such a casual way.  I hope everyone gets to experience that this season, but it will never happen if we don’t share a little cheer with each other.  Then while reflecting on these happenings I saw this video (see below) which has nothing to do with Christmas, it is actually an advertisement, it does give pause to the idea that even the smallest gesture can have an enormous impact.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU[/tube]

Remember that Merry Christmas is not reserved for the day or so around Dec. 25th, it the greeting we use during this season to say hello and goodbye, to help us remember the reason for the season and to spread good cheer.

May the Blessing of this season be upon you, Merry Christmas.

Meditation Point #132 – Crisis

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing,Tags: , , ,
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A friend of mine is going through a very difficult time.  It is hard watching someone deal with a crisis in their life when there isn’t a lot you can do for them but be there for them as a friend.  I’ve been thinking about this fact for the past week and wondering if there was something else I could do, sadly there doesn’t seem to be.  But maybe I can help them and others in a way by exploring my thoughts and feeling surrounding the word Crisis.

Our English word “crisis” comes from the Greek word krisis, which means “opportunity.”

No one wants to deal with a crisis in their life, it is never pleasant regardless of the cause.  Crisis’s come in many different forms, those we cause ourselves and those that are thrust upon us.  Some are the result of our own actions while others fault of our own.  The form and the cause mean little when you are dealing with a crisis.  When in crisis the only goal is to emerge from the crisis intact.  I think that is where the “opportunity” part comes in that the Greek root speaks to.  Many time we do not control any part of the crisis we are dealing with, what we do control is how we handle the crisis.  How we handle (or deal with) a crisis is the where the opportunity comes in, because in dealing with a big or small crisis we have a chance to grow.  A crisis can crush our self-worth and self-esteem, but it can equally impart a new belief in ourselves.

More to come…

 

Body, Mind & Soul

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Religion, State of Mind,Tags: , ,
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When a Wise man thought about the depth of the judgments of God, he asked, “Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and why are the just in need?”

He heard a voice answering him, “Keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.”
— From The Life Of St. Antony The Great (Anthony of Egypt is the Patriarch of all the Desert Fathers and of all Monks.)

How does this help us as a Martial Artist?  As a Christian it always amuses me how God gets blamed for everything yet credited for little.  We see things from our own perspective and assume omnipotence.  The funny thing is most of us don’t even know ourselves and what is in our own hearts, let alone to be in a position to judge the justness of a given situation.  Instead we should be focused on our actions and the state of our soul.  How often does a student look with envy at the abilities of another student thinking they are naturally better than themselves.  Unknown to them are the countless hours this student with “natural ability” practices.  What St. Anthony was driving at is, in focusing on things we can not control, we take away from time that could be spent in perfecting ourselves.  That is not to say we exclude thoughts of others, but that we do so without envy, we take lessons from the world around us without letting the events distract us from perfecting ourselves.  Instead, we to often use lessons from the world to justify our current selves.

This might sound a little high minded but it is the essence of Martial Arts training, perfection of ones self.  Unfortunately unlike the above passage, Martial Arts training deals with the perfection of your mind and physical self.  Many mistake Martial Arts training and this sense of perfection for religion.  The broadening of our senses through training can give us a feeling similar to that of a higher connection, it is a false connection.  Unfortunately many are willing to deceiving themselves as this false religious feeling elevates them to the station of God, even though they believe it a connection with some larger Universal force or power.  This is the trap of many pursuits, Martial Arts, Higher Education degrees, any practice which expands the powers of the mind and body, yet neglects the soul.

I will leave you with that to ponder, to comment upon, and hopefully, to stimulate awareness.

Life is Fragile

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Events & Holidays, History,Tags: , , , ,
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Given that this is the anniversary of the Sept. 11th attack, I thought this image would be appropriate.

This is a sticker I found from when I was a kid, a long time ago.  But it reminds me of what we any of us that were old enough probably though on 9/11, life is fragile.  As time recedes we tend to forget these lessons, we tend to forget that life can change in an instant.  Honestly we live in a very safe society, but that does not mean there is no danger or we do not need to be vigilant in our protect of the fragile life we hold so dear.  So remember to handle your life and the life of others with care, because life is fragile and none of us know how long we will have it.

Happy Thoughts

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Awareness, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , ,
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To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness.
To think good thoughts, however, requires effort.
This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.

James Clavell, in his novel “Shogun”

I read this book as a young man and have to say it is still one of my favorite novels.  At the time I was training very hard in Karate and this novel steeped me even further in the history and culture of old Japan, brutal, savage yet elegant.  Today I teach students in the art of Karate and hopefully Life.  I am an avid observer of the world and I see increasing negativity in general.  One of the aspects of how I train my students is control of themselves and their minds.  The above quote goes to the root of my teachings (though I never connected the two) in that we control nothing in the world without first controlling ourselves.  Negative thoughts are destructive to yourself, your world and those around you, it is like a disease.  Our thoughts are ours to do with as we please.  Yes our thoughts can be influenced by the things around us.  That is why it is a bad idea for an Alcoholic to hangout in a bar with his/her friends.  Ultimately though we have ourselves to deal with, the environment or situation we are in are only as influential as we let them be.  This all sounds so easy but it is a lifetime of work and practice and failure to become proficient at.  The world is dynamic but our inner world’s are infinitely more dynamic, to infinity and beyond!  But like any lesson it starts small, baby steps, with awareness.  We cannot change or control anything we are unaware of, become and observer of the world.  First we need to see the small things most people never see.  We can find perfection in the small things, the cut of sunlight through a cloud or the beat of a butterfly resting on a flower, or even the silence of being totally alone in a room.  Some of the things you will notice may make you uncomfortable in a strange way, that is your body fighting awareness the way you fight waking in the morning (if you are like me!).  What does this have to do with not being negative?  Everything.  You could start by focusing on not thinking negative thoughts, however your success would be short lived.  You have to have something to fill the void left by the negative thoughts you eventually will banish.  Why?   Because your brain never stops, it is always churning away, in the computer world we call that paging.  Paging is moving information into and out of usable memory, if you page to much you can’t do any useful computations or make any useful observations.  Observing the little things in the world require you to stop thinking so much, to quiet your mind or in computer terms to limit or stop paging so we can take in new information.  As you do this you are increasing your positive memories and thoughts and reducing your negative thoughts without trying to force it.  You will eventually get to a point where you will be able to control what your brain is processing positive or negative and more importantly know when you are paging negativity because you are more aware.  Awareness is one of the keys to good thoughts with its byproduct, happiness.  As an observer you often find yourself in a calm state of acceptance like someone watching a play…but that is a topic for another discussion.
‘Stop and smell the roses’ are words of supreme wisdom which few of us ever understand until it is to late.  Stay positive, train hard, train often.

The Debate is OVER!

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Fun Stuff,Tags: ,
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Are you an Over or Under?  I am an Over and a militant one at that!  Turns out I am in the majority, not that it mattered 😉

Here is the proof…

Can’t

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
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Words spoken by others are powerless unless we give them power.  “Sticks & Stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you”.  I’ve spoken and written on that in the past.  That is not the topic today but it is an important backdrop.  While we should be thick skinned when people speak hurtfully or hatefully towards us, this is only half of the equation.

Words do have power.  Words can define our being and our existence.  The words we use, think and in some sense feel can affect us both mentally, physically and spiritually.  Can’t or Can Not is just such a word.  One of my students reminded me of this last night.  We were working on a new block drill which he was having a hard time with.  In trying to correct him he got frustrated and said “I Can’t”…and that was the end of it.  You see, “I Can’t” turned into he couldn’t because he believed it and more importantly he quit with that proclamation.  It didn’t matter that I knew he could.  It didn’t matter that he knew how to do the block already.  Through his proclamation, “I Can’t” he made the possible, impossible.  He changed the state of his mind from positive effort to negative reservation of defeat.  I spoke to him about this and having no affect had him sit out the rest of that drill to reflect.

Later in the class we were doing bag work, a standing side kick to be specific, and I corrected something he was doing wrong.  After a couple of corrections he began to say ” I c…” I was ready for him and abruptly cut him off and admonished him to not finish that statement.  I then helped him focus, reminded him of the correct technique, distracted his mind and within three attempts he was doing it correctly!  Unlike the first drill, I had stopped his negative statement before it became his truth and in doing so helped him succeed.

Hopefully all of my students learned from that event.  I commented on it to drive the point home.  The power of “I can’t” or “I don’t know” or negative statements like them are underestimated by most.  Often people use them as an excuse, for it is easier to say “I can’t” then to try and fail.  Some are so afraid of failure that they would rather never try then to admit they are lacking, in that way they can always fantasize that hey could have, would have or can ‘when they are ready’.  This is perfectly normal among children, it is part of growing up, dealing with fear and personal limitation, however left unchecked it can handicap the adult they will become, leading them to a life of mediocrity filled with missed chances.  ‘Should of, Could of, Would of’ is what they will see when they look back on their life.

Words are powerful.  But the power resides in ourselves, what power we give them, how they affect what we believe about ourselves.

The following quote isn’t in perfect alignment with my above thoughts, but it does speak to staying positive and always giving everything your best effort, regardless of how things seem or the opinions of others.  It may take you more attempts then others to accomplish something but I guarantee if you stay positive and keep trying you will accomplish more then most.

If successful people have one common trait, it’s an utter lack of cynicism. The world owes them nothing. They go out and find what they need without asking for permission; they’re driven, talented, and work through negatives by focusing on the positives.
– Mike Zimmerman

Everyone Has a Story

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Fun Stuff, State of Mind,Tags: , ,
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Turns out it was true!

Like the title says, everyone has a story. I do. You do. Everyone does.  So what!

This isn’t meant to trivialize your story, but try to keep it in perspective.  We all have or will have health problems.  We all have our crosses to bear, if you don’t…you will.  What is important is how we deal with these crosses put upon us.  How do we deal with them… how do you deal with them?  Sometimes they turn into excuses.  The important thing is to stretch to your limits.  Like stretching a muscle you might just find that after a while you can stretch further then your could before.  Maybe that hill wasn’t as steep as you thought.  But most definitely you are not the only one who has climbed that hill or another just like it!

Life happens all of a sudden and not usually in the way we expect, the trick is accepting the blessings and curses as gifts.  Do this and you will find the value in the gift no matter how it changes the direction of your life.

Train hard, Stay Safe, Have Fun…but stop whining!! 😉

I’ll take the bed near the window

ktadmin Posted in Entertainment, Fun Stuff,Tags: , ,
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“During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director “How do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized”

“Well,” said the Director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use…

Before I finish this joke take a moment and answer the question…?  The answer is in the comments section.

The Real World is Outside…

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Fun Stuff, Products, Recipes and Health Facts,Tags: , , , ,
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Some times we need a reminder to be part of the real world…

To many of us are so connected (via technology) that we are disconnected from the real world and real world experiences.  While I love my computer and video games it disturbs me when I hear people replacing legitimate activities like going to the gym or a karate class for playing on the Wii, PS3 or xBox!  Yes they do increase activity though the way most people use them they are not a form of exercise.  And don’t even get me started on texting over having a real conversation!!  Don’t forget there is a real world out there, despite what your computer or video commercials may tell you.