Please indulge my fleeting thoughts in the life before us. I’m just some dude looking at and talking about life. Specifically, what I’ve gotten so far from the life lived. Take what’s useful. Discard what’s not. Just saying.
Before my mom passed away, when I either visited her at her senior’s home in Hawaii or spoke with her over the phone, I’d wrap up our conversation by saying, “I love you, Mom.” She’d say, “I love you, too.” Then Mom would say, “Take care of yourself.” Now in retrospect, given my own personal trials and tribulations, that landed for me. What she said was meaningful to me.
You see: Mom took care of me from the time that I was born, until I could take care of myself. She always looked out for me. She made sure that I was as safe as could be. She made sure that I felt loved. Mom loved me unconditionally, as great mothers do. As I grew older and perhaps a little smarter, I loved her unconditionally, too.
Time is always undefeated, so eventually, I would have to take care of Mom: look out for her as she grew old, make sure that she was safe, make sure that she felt loved. That’s my karma, in a poignant way. That’s all of our karma, as children of aging parents.
In my life lived, I discovered on the journey from my fearful childhood—in my Aikido training, in my transformational education work, in therapy—I’m responsible for taking care of myself: me a whole and complete person.
In the bigger picture, taking care of me truly meant loving myself, forgiving myself, unconditionally. Really, no shit. As my spiritual, martial arts, engineering, therapy Twin Brother Dolph Lundgren said, “You have to love yourself.” Amen. Amen.
My greatest battle doesn’t reside outside myself, rather within me. O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba said, “True victory is victory over oneself.” I’m my GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) opponent. Overcoming myself acknowledges my strengths, accepts my weakness, and embraces my imperfection. That’s the on-going training, the on-going evolution.
My dear friend Cheryl taught me the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi: The beauty in our imperfection. “Life is imperfectly perfect.” We can either evolve our imperfection or let it be. Either way, our imperfection represents our unique humanity. We are all beautiful in our own humanity. Not just saying.
Take care of thine own self: Evolve the greater-than versions of ourselves. Ironically, the humorous paradox of O-Sensei’s “victory over oneself”, is that I’ll never attain that victory. Rather, it’s my continuing dedication and commitment to my own evolution. I’m the one who grinds it out. No one else. Like Sensei Dan said, “Just train. It’s not like you to have to get anywhere.” The journey matters. After all, our journeys shall all end the same. Just saying.
So why take care of myself? Well, when I can love and forgive myself, then I can begin making a difference for others in the world in either small or profound ways. Werner Erhard said that making a difference is our authentic self-expression when we get that we choose who we are going to be in any given moment. Werner said that the only meaning in life is the meaning that we grant our lives. We all want to live meaningful lives. Don’t you?
We create our art, our infinity in our lifetimes. There are all kinds of art. Some infinities are simply bigger than others. Yet, your infinity is still infinite. So get over it. Get over yourself.
Part of our art, part of our Infinity resides in creating thine own self, taking care of ourselves. So love who you are. Forgive yourself for what you’re not. Really, just saying.
Humanity was never about perfection. Rather, our humanity cares about others: who they are, who they can become. We must have compassion. We must look for and listen for others’ greater-than versions of themselves. Like Mom did for me.
The legacy of our life, of our art, leaves the world a little greater than when we came into it. At least that’s my hope. No, I won’t define my legacy, by definition. That shall reside with those who have been in my sphere of influence, those whom I’ve been honored to contribute.
My hope is that I’ve been able and willing to contribute to others in some meaningful way because I’ve been blessed in what I’ve received from others over a lifetime. For that, I’m forever grateful. I’ve got nothing but mad love and respect. I have the life that I’m proud of. Amen. Amen.
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