Samurai Song

Right now I’m in a loose place.  For the last two months I have had a direct purpose when I sat down to write.  I had something to promote and a definite direction where I wanted to direct your attention.

Now I’m in a kind of limbo.  There are still things I care about and think are important but the urgency and direction are missing.  At first this is disconcerting, there’s a real sense of, “Okay, what do I do now?”  But after sitting with it a minute I realize it’s actually quite liberating.  For the time being, I can use this time to consider and define what’s important to me.

I can also follow the flow of the universe and take advantage of what’s delivered to me.  In this light, I offer two pieces that have fallen into my lap over the last few days.

The first actually came second and came in the form of Seth Godin’s post this morning.  If you don’t know who Seth Godin is, he’s worth checking out.  Seth is a marketing guru, of sorts.  He’s written several books, most notably Tribes and Purple Cow, and his general message is the importance of first having something worth marketing before trying to market it.  He preaches remarkability over perfection and authenticity over glam.

This was his post this morning,

Don’t follow, lead.
Don’t copy, create.
Don’t start, finish.

or even,

Don’t sit still, move.
Don’t fit in, stand out.
Don’t sit quietly, speak up.

Not all the time, sure, but more often.

This could be a kun for our gym all it’s own.  I’d use it, too, except that violates line 2.

The cool thing about this is that it speaks to so much more than just marketing.  Just as it applies to marketing it can apply to our gym or your life.  That’s why I subscribe to Seth’s blog.

Lead.  The world is full of far too many followers.  It’s easier to take a path someone has already cut out for you.  The problem is that path was cut for someone else’s purposes not yours, in the end it may not fit you well at all.

Create.  Your brain and your imagination are your gifts both to yourself and the world.  It is your obligation to use them.

Finish.  This one’s not always easy, but it’s always gratifying, if only for the sake of accomplishment.

Move.  We were not meant to stand still long.  In most things you are far better off to get moving and correct your aim along the way than to stand still planning and waiting for that perfect moment.  If I had waited for the right circumstances to have children or start my business, I’d still be childless and working for someone else.

Stand out.  You are awesome.  You are God’s unique little snowflake and there’s no one else like you.  That’s a beautiful thing.  Don’t throw it away.

Speak up.  Your ideas, even if they’re mistaken have merit.  They refine the conversation and help us find Truth.  I used to let Fear still my tongue–fear of being wrong was probably the biggest one.  The truth is sometimes I will be wrong.  Being wrong is not a crime, refusing to acknowledge it when you are is.  And you know what?  In order to do that you have to speak up.  Get over yourself.  Speak up.

The second piece came from my good friend and writing mentor, Glenny Brock.  Glenny sent me this poem in response to my request about feedback on our kun.

Samurai Song
by Robert Pinsky

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

Again, another great piece to rob for our kun.  All too often we equate the warrior ethos with it’s most visible aspect–violence.  Rarely do we look any further.

The warrior has much to teach us.  His approach to self development can be yours, regardless of whether you’re ever called to take up arms.

Samurai Song gives a glimpse into the inner life of the warrior.  To me the most important aspect of this poem is the self reliance of the samurai, but more importantly a self reliance that does not deny the outside world.  Repeatedly, he speaks of what he does in the absence of the outside influence.  He never denies it.  He never says, “I take no lover, ’cause I’m cold like that.”  He says, “When I had no lover I courted my sleep.”

In our gym we are warriors.  In this life we are warriors.  For most of us, we have evolved beyond the need for actual combat and can learn and evolve inside the metaphorical battles of life.

In the gym we battle gravity.  We battle our baser natures.  We battle lethargy, sloth, lack of motivation, depression, self loathing, the list goes on.  In every battle we face, we emerge, win or lose, the better for it.

So maybe here’s my new purpose, my new promotion–we need a kun.  We need a statement that reflects who we are as a gym and what we value.  Obviously I have my ideas.  I hope to stimulate yours.

The kun I offered on Monday is nowhere near finished.  It’s merely a way to open the conversation and like Seth Godin prods, I invite you to speak up.  This is your gym as much as it is mine, take ownership, speak up and tell us what you think.  We’ll all be better for it.

Stay strong,

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Filed under Fitness, Martial Arts, Motivation, Movement, Personal Development, Personal Training, Recovery, Strength, Strength Training

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