I learned a few days ago that one of my children’s childhood friends was recently killed in a boating accident. He was only 20 years old. I have been pondering his life and death these past few days as well as my own and my children’s. Death is imminent. There is no way around it. Nobody knows for certain what’s on the other side of our last breathe of this life. Instead of worrying and fearing death, let’s focus on life and living every moment of it. It is in Russell Mendez’ honor that I give to you a brief recap of how I have been living my life this year.
I started off the year by giving up my community garden plot. People asked “what are you going to do?” and said things like “but you’re a gardener” and “but where will you get your zen?” After the martial arts tournament in May, I did the same thing with my training; I put it aside. My goal was to give myself time, energy, and space to explore my other budding interests as well as to challenge myself to learn to survive and thrive without these things that I love dearly and have leaned on.
So what have I explored and learned this year?
1. That I have the creativity to explore and develop new foods and new art using various platforms.
2. That my zen comes from within, not external sources (granted, this needs more practice!).
3. My martial arts training has become a part of my life, both with regard to self-defense and my way of thinking and living as honorably and truthfully as I can.
4. I have learned to be brave enough to ask myself (and sometimes others) “why” on anything and facing the answers honestly, despite the discomfort and pain it often brings.
5. I have lived outside of my comfort zone most of this year by publishing my writing, thoughts, body, and other art forms in our community blog.
6. I have explored new adventures at work by creating writing opportunities for our internal and external blogs, applying for and being accepted for the role of brand ambassador, and consistently being a source/example of personal and professional development for my colleagues.
7. I have explored and practiced new business ideas for myself as a path toward my self-reliance and independence.
8. I have developed relationships that are based on truth, openness, and honesty. Those not fitting these criteria have been eliminated or reduced.
9. I have searched for snakes in Sufu’s gardens.
10. I have exposed my naked skin to the sun, the moon, and the stars.
11. I have explored the desert on my own.
12. I reeled in a catfish using my Tai Chi energy.
13. I have learned to jump which helped me to fly.
14. I have learned, failed, fallen, gotten up, and grown.
15. I have learned to be compassionate with discipline.
16. I have taught others.
17. I have learned about and used the power of my intent and energy.
18. Most importantly, I have loved deeply and frequently.
So go and explore your life like I have. Love. Get uncomfortable. Live it now. Because you don’t know when you won’t be able to.