On Pain, Along the WayDec 19, 2023
The path taken within the Dojo and throughout the life of someone studying Kobudo.
Darkness is not a safe place for the untrained. It just isn't.
The path involves you facing yourself, be it through humiliation, self doubt, harsh criticism or physical discomfort.
All of these are painful especially when fueled by the past.
A path in the dark is filled with corners at every turn, obstacles with each step and eyes peering at you that you cannot see .. but you somehow know they're watching.
Expect to bump into things in the dark. Expect it to hurt. Expect to be afraid. Expect those eyes to come closer. Expect to be attacked.
Pain is part of the path, nobody likes it except for a sadistic few; and they never last.
You will smash into walls, you will fall to the ground, you will get bit. Each time will hurt as much as you can feel, it's natural.
You will want to quit, because the pain sucks. Literally, it suck the life force from you. If you let it.
Old stories are supported by this pain. You are a failure, you deserve it, you can't get up or go forward. Turn back. Go home. Why do you do this. You are weak. See, I told you!
The eyes in the dark smell old wounds.
And this is precisely where you chose to endure or to submit.
Even if you push forward in the dark in pain, you will be met with push-back; jealousy attempting to call you out, imposter syndrome trying to call you forward, insecurity trying to shut you up. Voices in the night, in the past and in your head try to overcome the sound and fury of your living kiai.
And so you scream.
Loud, like a child in the dark, calling out for her mommy. There are no arms to embrace you on the path, just snickering voices from all around you.
You swear at nobody, f**k off I won't quit. And you push forward in pain, feeling the wall, finding your feet, wiping the dirt. Forward.
The path to any summit only reveals new horizons, nothing more. You see further, gained some wisdom and stayed true. The summit is safe and clear, but reveals darker and deeper valleys ahead.
Echos of distant voices struggling in the darkness behind you and ahead, you enjoy a brief moment of gentle satori.
It is deeply worth it.
Then descend to the next valley, to next summit. Alone.
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