One summer evening, walking in my favorite park, I looked up. The setting sunlight struck the towering tree just so, illuminating a golden layered silhouette. Sublime. I took a photo on my iPhone. I texted the photo to Cheryl, who came to mind.
Cheryl Hunter shines bright in the world. She serves others and makes a profound difference. She’s the bravest, kindest person I know on Planet Earth. Cheryl also likes hamachi sashimi and has seen all “Fast and Furious” movies, including “Hobbs and Shaw”. She’s so cool. Just saying, too.
I know what it’s like to reside in the shadows, in the dark. For years, I lived in the shadows of my depression, the unresolved aftermath of childhood trauma growing up at home. Grinding it out with my therapist Lance, I emerged into the light, healing myself, learning to love and forgive me. With therapy, Aikido, meditation, and writing, I started to shine brighter. I shine in my most authentic self, in just being me.
In the bigger picture, we all deserve to shine brightly. Our very human design. We shine as brightly as we can, expressing our most authentic selves with something meaningful to say. In shining bright we can make a difference. I discover my meaningful voice, my meaningful audience. Yet people will listen for only so long. The law of time and relevance. While I’m in others’ listening, I can make it count.
I can make a difference from different platforms. As Aikido Sensei, I train others in martial arts as they reinvent their greater-than versions. I write posts on The Good Men Project looking at life and learning to love and forgive thine own self. I can only make a difference when others grant me permission to do so. They shall determine my relevance, whether I can bestow something they can use.
Over time, I may no longer be relevant. I’m no longer in others’ listening. Someone else has something meaningful to say. Nothing personal. Time is undefeated. What’s next?
Maybe, others take what I had that was useful to create their own Art, their own lives. Others will define my legacy, not me. Perhaps, the world is a little greater than when I came into it. I hope that I shined as bright as I could, guiding others to invent their greater versions. Did that light perpetuate in some way? I will never know. Just saying.
In Aikido practice, Sensei Bobby instructed how to match up with the bokken (wooden sword) attack. Sensei said to wait out the bokken strike until it came within a few inches from my head. Then come over the top of the attack with my bokken strike.
I got it. I said, “Yeah, wait it out.” Sensei Bobby smiled, “Now, where have you heard that before?” I smiled, “All my life.” Our Sensei, Mizukami Sensei always said, “Wait it out.” I practiced with the bokken over and over and over and over again. I was tired. I had fun. Mizukami Sensei’s light had shined so bright on both Bobby and me. As we left to go home after practice, I told Sensei, “Thank you.” He smiled again, “Just trying to perpetuate Mizukami Sensei.” We smiled.
I shine as bright as I can in making a difference. Mizukami Sensei said, “Make it work.” Our light perpetuates in future generations when we dedicate ourselves to making a difference for others. I’m grateful to all those who shined their light upon me. I’ll continue to shine as bright as can be to perpetuate that light. What Mizukami Sensei had done all his life. Just saying.
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