What may be relevant to me, may not be relevant to you. What you may find relevant might be lost upon me. We all have different pursuits, different goals, and different experiences. We’re uniquely individual. Amen.
What if: The relevance in our Art distinguishes our values, shared or otherwise. Varying “tribes” or communities define their collective core values like honor, sense of humor, or love.
Perhaps, Art invents relevancy inside of those core values.
Over the years, I’ve recreated my Art in Aikido. The foundation of Aikido sources from honor, respect, perseverance, and service to others. O-Sensei said, “The Way of the Warrior is to give life to all things, to reconcile the world, and to foster the completion of everyone’s journey.” O-Sensei created relevancy on Planet Earth.
So even if you don’t train in Aikido or martial arts, you can appreciate the ideals, and the noble cause at stake: Peace. Art creates relevance for people representing a spectrum of communities. Just saying.
Years ago in a Sunday morning Aikido practice Sensei said to me, when I worked out with 14-year-old Lukas, “You’re a better teacher than me.” Almost instinctively, I nearly dismissed Sensei’s acknowledgment as hyperbole.
Here’s the deal: Sensei had taught me. He taught me Aikido. He taught me what it is to be a good man. To me, Sensei was the GOAT, Greatest of All-Time. Still, I got the message. I have nothing, but profound love and respect for the Man. Over the years, Sensei had created me as part of his Art, part of his life. I was so very grateful for his Art. His Art still inspires, long after he passed away.
Sensei was the Father to me, whom I needed to become the man I wanted to become. His Art was about honor, respect, and love. Sensei dedicated his life to teaching Aikido, so that you could summon your greater than self. When you thanked him, he’d say, “I didn’t do anything. You did it…” And I and you would know better than that.
Relevancy fosters legacy. Relevancy is being of service to others. That legacy of inspiring others to become greater than they know themselves to be, like Sensei did for me, is now my Art in Relevancy.
I’ve been honored to serve others, to be relevant. I taught 14-year-old Adam, who was me when I was 14. Adam possessed great anger hidden within. He feared that it might erupt. He had to get everything perfect. Yeah, he was me.
So I had to reinvent myself to teach. I had to lighten the fuck up. Adam was already his harshest critic. I became the one saying, “So you made a mistake. Now do it this way…” Adam earned his Black Belt, a month before his 17th Birthday. He was elated. I was so very proud.
When Adam graduated from high school, his single Mom Joyce asked me to write a letter to Adam as part of a collective gift for her son. I wrote that I would never be a Father and that “ship had sailed long ago”. But if I could have had a son, “He would be Adam.”
Jackson and I are both Yondan, 4th-degree black belts. Jackson is the far greater version of me. He’s smart, strong, and quick with impeccable technique. He’ll soon be 5th black belt. I will not. I along with Sensei taught Jackson when he came to the Dojo almost 20 years ago. I love training with Jackson on Sundays. I tell him, “Now, you teach me.”
I’m honored that I’ve been relevant, that I’ve serviced others over the years be it in Aikido or even in my career. I got that Sensei retained his youthful spirit when he trained young people, who were up to becoming greater than. He gave everything he had all away. That kept him young at heart. That kept him relevant.
So in the purposeful life, we can invent relevance in our Art in our service to others. I also hope to leave the world a little better off than when I came into it. Just saying.
This post was previously published on www.facebook.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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