The late NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant said, “Failure excites me.” Kobe distinguished what he had to work on next in failure. Then he ground it out, inventing his next greater-than version. He said, “I have a problem with people who expect to be great, but don’t put in the work.”
In my own trials and tribulations, I suffered. I fell down. I got up. Maybe, I arose greater than I was.
Several years ago, I precipitously fell into the abyss of my clinical depression when I had to change careers. That experience resurrected my unresolved childhood fear of Dad, and my life sentence: “I’ll never be good enough.” I reinvented my greater-than version from failure when I fall down. I ground it out with my therapist Lance to heal my childhood trauma and depression. The late Mizukami Sensei had instilled in me, “Just train. It’s not like you have to get somewhere.” Put in the work. Make it work.
The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are:
- The truth of suffering,
- the truth of the cause of suffering,
- the truth of the end of suffering,
- the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
Cheryl Hunter taught me the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi: The beauty in our imperfection. Cheryl said, “Life is imperfectly perfect.” Wabi-sabi is self-acceptance. I stopped hating on myself, so much. Gradually, I learned to love myself for who I am and forgive myself for who I’m not.
Rising from my fall, I reinvented my love and dedication to Aikido. My life sourced in training with Ishibashi Sensei, my Aikido brother for over 30 years. I guided Lieutenant Jon through the world of Government Satellite Systems Engineering, helping him get into medical school. I self-published my book about emerging from the darkness of my depression and coming into the light. No, the book wasn’t the unforeseen bestseller. That opened the opportunity to work with my Editor Lisa Blacker on The Good Men Project. Lisa and I work on publishing my books with her publishing company. I could still make a difference for others. Life is meaningful.
So, was the great fall necessary to rise? Just asking.
Aikido Founder O-Sensei said, “True victory is victory over oneself.” I overcome myself, not others. I work on me. I heal myself. I get up when I fall.
In Aikido, there is nage, the one who receives the attack; there is uke, the one who attacks. The nage throws the uke. The uke takes the fall. The uke gets back up as quickly as they can and attacks again. The training repeats, accordingly.
Regardless of how hard or strong that I’m thrown as the uke, I get up. I keep getting up. O-Sensei’s profound lesson of resilience: When I get thrown, when I fall, I get up as quickly as I can.
Many years ago, the late Mizukami Sensei said, “Your Aikido gets better when you get better at taking falls.” His lesson extended beyond the Dojo. Learning to take falls and getting back up, helped me through many of my own trials and tribulations in life. Mad love and respect to Sensei.
When I fall, I get back up. I learn from my failure, from my fall. I put in the work. Then I move on to what’s next. O-Sensei’s true victory is the journey, not the destination. No, I’ll never achieve that victory over myself in my lifetime. Just saying. I just train.
Were I to do this all over again, I wouldn’t have waited for my great fall, to get back up. In Noble Truths, there will always be suffering, there will always be, falls to take. I would have looked for the truth to end suffering sooner rather than later. I would not have waited for my crash and burn. I got it. Now, I get up whenever I fall, whenever I fail, regardless of scale, big or small.
There will always be suffering in life. That’s just the human design. We get that in our own trials and tribulations. Don’t wait for the great fall, until you choose to get up. Get up, whenever you fall. You’re greater than you know yourself to be. That, too, is the human design. Just saying.
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