I got home about an hour ago from my second real night of my martial arts class. I didn’t think I could be any more tired than I was on Tuesday night. But I was wrong. Although the instructors weren’t necessarily trying to exhaust us like last class, exhaustion happened to be an added effect. On Tuesday, we practiced the little pieces of technique, and today we put them together. Or in my case I started to learn how to put them all together. All the other students have been doing this for a while, but I was able to watch some of them as they sparred with the instructor giving me commentary and telling me what to look for. Then I was able to do my first sparring, although because I don’t have the hand protectors I was not able to actually strike my opponent. That wasn’t an issue anyway, as I spent most of the time just trying to keep the proper distance between myself and my partner.
I really noticed during the sparring that no matter how good my technique, how fast my movement, or how strong my body is, without the necessary mental focus, all the other stuff means nothing. The instructor took me aside as the other groups began sparring and explained to me the martial arts concept of “state”. In martial arts, your state is a combination of your total “physical and mental wellbeing.” He explained that to truly practice martial arts, you must always be aware of your state, and how it is affecting your ability to focus and function.
Here is his example of how your state affects you in martial arts, in as close as possible to his own words:
You won’t always be feeling happy and rested. Sometimes you may come into class in a bad mood, maybe after a fight with a family member or a bad day at work. That will affect your focus just like coming into class exhausted will affect your body’s performance. You don’t need to change your state so much as you need to be aware of where it is at so that you can adjust the way you use your body and your mind, whether in class or in a ‘real’ fight.”
I thought this was a really great description of what it means to have a focused, adaptive, non-judgmental awareness.
When I meditate, I turn on Pandora, tuned to a channel based of an album of meditation tracks by Depak Chopra called “Heart Meditations”. They have lovely calm music in the background while Depak Chopra quietly takes you through a brief guided meditation. These tracks only come on every so often as Pandora is randomized, but I usually get at least one during my meditation and Tai Chi combined. Today, one track came on right in the middle of my meditation, called “J is for Judgment.”
In the track, Depak Chopra emphasized this phrase: “Today I will not judge what occurs”.
So all day long I have been trying to live that phrase. I will not judge what occurs. I will not make events, thoughts, or feelings right or wrong, good or bad. I will notice. I will be aware. But I will not judge what occurs.
I think that if I could really apply this non-judgment to my life on a daily basis, I would experience life as a much different place. It was amazing to have this idea of state come up in class after I’d spent the whole day focused on a similar concept. It seems like a sign to me from the universe, telling me that I am doing the right thing.
Speaking of which – I had another serendipitous occurrence this evening in my class. My sparring partner, Privad (not sure of the spelling), and I were talking after class. I had been coughing a bit toward the end, and he asked me if I had asthma or something. I told him I had a genetic illness that causes a drop in lung function. His face brightened and he said, oh, do you have Cystic Fibrosis then? I said, yes, I do, and asked him how he knew. He said he was a pharmacist and he worked for Coram.
Coram is a home health pharmacy that provides equipment and nursing care for home health. I have used them before when I had to do IV infusions at home through my PICC line. They delivered all the materials, and had me come into their office in Tigard once every week or so to check on the line and draw labs and so on.
I knew Privad looked familiar, but couldn’t place him until he told me he worked for Coram. Once he told me I immediately knew who he was because he had answered the phone several times when I called in the last two times I used Coram, and he was in the office there when I came in to have my line flushed after it clogged when I was drawing blood from it at home.
Once I told him my last name, he remembered me as well, and said it was obvious that I was a lot healthier than I used to be, because he remembered how sick I was before.
Another message from the universe telling me I am moving in the right direction.
This post is directed toward that universal energy source that guides us all and sends us light and love. It is a thank you to that source. Thank you for my improving health, the progress I am making. Thank you for my martial arts instructors Mike, Chris and Matt. Thank you for Privad and my other classmates. Thank you for my friends Noah, Cheyne, Jordan, and Dusty. Thank you for my family: for my mother and father, for Richard and Kate, for my sister Rachael and her fiancée Luke, for my aunt Laura, for my aunt Sharon and uncle Chris, and for all my other family members not named here. Thank you for the lack of serious withdrawal symptoms during this taper off of my subutex. Thank you, universal energy, for sending me the strength to change my life and for giving me the desire to someday change the lives of others. And thank you for every person reading my blog, and for making my writing mean something for each of them.
I am so grateful for all that is happening. I am grateful to all of you who are reading this, for your support, comments, and just for receiving my words every day, as they come from my heart.
Goodnight, and peace to you,