Monday, February 18, 2013 only took 41 years :)

The most important thing I have learned over the past 41 years...well...really the past 35 years...because quite frankly I don't remember the first 6 very well...and in those years the learning to walk, talk, feed myself, wipe myself and all are probably THE most important life lessons...but after that...the most important thing I have learned is that the idea of something is so very different than the actual doing of something. The concept runs the gamut from our idea of another person and their life, to the idea of a specific activity and what will happen if you partake in it. Before going to college, the idea of going to and getting through college was daunting, but once you hit the ground running, you just do it. Even while going through college, during the semester, the idea of going home for the summer was devastating. Then you get home and realize it's wonderful. But then when it's time to go back to school, devastation can set in again. This is apply, rinse, repeat. You would think one would learn :) Finding your first "real" job. Talk about daunting right?! But you do it and it's not at all what you thought it would be like. Before having kids. "HA! No way! I'm never having kids! I'm too selfish to have kids. I can't even take care of myself never mind a child." After having kids, you can't even remember what life was before them. (well...maybe you remember, and it was F-U-N fun...but no way near as rewarding...right?! ;) Or as you're planning your family: "I'll never let my kid eat that...or do this...or talk like that..." We all know once the kids arrive, it's best to pick your battles and you find yourself less judgmental of the mom in the grocery store giving their kid a lollipop at 8am! ;) I don't know how many times I've said: "Ha! There's no way I'd do THAT!" And maybe it's a day, a week, a month or even a year later I find myself doing just "THAT!" And not just doing "THAT!" but absolutely loving "THAT!" So the most important lesson I've learned over my lifetime, is quite frankly my favorite...and it's one that I just realized during the last few weeks of my 41st year: stop say "No" and in it's place, start saying "We'll see".

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Define: Cult

My family belongs to and trains at a martial arts dojo. For some reason this makes some people who do not participate in the martial arts uncomfortable.

It's often said that how we train and what we do is akin to being in a "cult". Even fellow members of our martial arts dojo sometimes refer to our group as a cult. Normally I laugh this off...but it usually sticks in the back of my mind for days after hearing the comment. Recently however, it has started to stick in the forefront of my mind.

Yesterday, while putting an inordinate amount of time into thinking about this concept, I started to get somewhat annoyed that people label what we do at our dojo in such a negative sense:

Define: Cult - The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. [American Journal of Sociology 85 (1980), p. 1377]: "Cults[...], like other deviant social movements, tend to recruit people with a grievance, people who suffer from a some variety of deprivation."
If you think of any sort of group/organization that people commit themselves to, you could label them all cults...especially religious organizations, since the definition of a cult is usually specific to religion. But seriously...think about it for a minute. People who "religiously" follow any sort of group or ideas could be labeled as being part of a cult.
Those who follow specific music groups - ie: Phish-heads, Deadheads, The Dave Matthews Band followers, etc.

People of socially acceptable faiths - ie: Catholics, Jews, Episcopalians, Baptists, etc.

Participants or Supporters of specific Sports - ie: Soccer Moms, Hockey Moms, NASCAR Dads, etc.

Social Servants - ie: Police Officers, Fireman, EMTs, etc.

...really this list could go on and on...

These examples are socially acceptable though...right?! So no one really refers to them as "cults" ... even in jest...well...maybe the religious examples, but not really because those listed are socially acceptable religions...right?!

So now why is my dojo and martial arts affiliation looked upon as "cultish"? Do we join and try to recruit others? Sure...but does that make it a cult? Followers of DMB are constantly trying to win me over. Christians regularly preach their beliefs in my general direction. All athletic groups recruit regularly. Why don't I call them "cults" or "cult-members"?

In our dojo we are "preached to" about:

Modesty: the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities

Courtesy: the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others

Integrity: being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness

Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

Self-Control: controlling of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will

Indomitable Spirit: having the spirit, courage and determination when meeting challenges head on

...hmmmm...none of that sounds "deviant", "negative", "abnormal" or "bizarre" (well...maybe "abnormal ;)

What it does sound like to me is positive and progressive groupthink as define by Paul 't Hart: "collective optimism and collective avoidance". Sounds good to me. I'll take it! :o)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Everyone got DESSERT !!!

Tonight was a pivotal moment in my parenting-life. My husband and I brought our littles out to dinner...ages 9 & 6...and if you can believe it: no one had to be dragged out of the restaurant kicking & screaming; no one had to be "warned" 856 times that if they didn't stop "that" there would be no dessert; no one needed to be threatened that "when we get home your night is OVER young lady (or man depending).

In fact...we laughed, we giggled, we smiled and best of all EVERYONE GOT DESSERT !!!



Monday, April 25, 2011

Embrace your Framily...we've all got'em...

It's funny, this was going to be a long & convoluted description of what my favorite term "Framily" is. But after typing, deleting, revising, re-typing & deleting...I decided to go with the whole K.I.S.S technique...(Keep It Simple Stupid ;)

Framily is nothing more/nothing less than "Friends" who are like Family. These "friends" can be biologically related, non-biologically related, 6th cousins twice removed...quoting the old movie Meatballs: "It.Just.Doesn't.Matter."

The people you can call on day or night; rain or shine; after 10 mins or 10 years of seeing each other last and you can just pick right up where you last left off...THESE are the people who make up your Framily.

Think about it for a few seconds or too, most likely, have a number of Immediate and/or Extended Framily members dating back to your childhood, teen years, post-college years and/or pre-"responsible adult" years. Whoever they them mothers, fathers, sisters, brother, cousins, best friends, college roommates, old co-workers, step-siblings, half-siblings, teammates from yester-year or yesterday..."it just doesn't matter".

Embrace Framily :o}

Monday, March 21, 2011

to be or not be...a Martial Artist ;)

Japanese Martial Arts, Korean Martial Arts, Indian Martial Arts, Chinese Martial Arts and Brazilian Martial Arts. Within those cultural arts, there are hundreds of specific art-forms. To name a few, we have: Karate, Aikido, Juijutsu, Judo, Taekwondo, Hapkido, Kuttu Varisai, Varma Kalai, Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Capoeira & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...

From my recent perusing and reading on the topic of being a Martial Artist, all art-forms appear to teach the same basic principles: Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Self Control, Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit.

Modesty: possessing and exhibiting humility; behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency and expressing these traits through work ethic & motivation for self improvement

Courtesy: gentle politeness and courtly manners; kindness and consideration expressed in a sophisticated and elegant way

Integrity: a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes; honesty and truthfulness of one's actions

Self Control: the ability to control one's emotions, behavior and desires

Perseverance: continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure; persistent determination to adhere to a plan of direction; insistence

Indomitable Spirit: a refusal to be beaten, no matter how tough, talented or big the obstacle

Lately, I've been faced with a few situations recently, both personally and socially, that has lead me to the point of researching the true meaning of being a Martial Artist. As I sit here and type out the definitions, I'm comfortable enough in my own skin and character that I can consider myself a Martial Artist. I post this out here for others to read, then ask themselves as straight-forward as possible: Do you walk the walk or simply talk the talk?

Only the deep, down inside 'You' can answer this...

* ya with Integrity and all ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Naïve or just plain Ignorant?

...either/or is not good...but in my opinion ignorance is intolerable, since it is also

As always, I will first go to the definitions and then ramble on from as to not be ignorant myself ;)

Naïve : "a French loanword (adjective, form of naïf) indicating having or showing a lack of experience, understanding or sophistication; in early use, it meant natural or innocent, and did not connote ineptitude."

Ignorance: "a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge). The word "ignorant" is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware and is often used as an insult."

By definition, one who is Naïve is simply inexperienced & does not understand that they are unaware. To me the implication is that as you gain experience you would naturally lose a level of naïveté.

Unfortunately, if you are deemed Ignorant, your uninformed state is caused by lack of knowledge, which I see as a willful condition. A condition that one can quickly alter by seeking out the knowledge that he/she lacks. Once confronted with said knowledge, you can no longer plead ignorance. At this point your denial of information that is at your fingertips results in what I call "Intentional Ignorance" --> a completely unacceptable state of mind.

Intentional Ignorance has been a pet peeve of mine since my earliest memory. I've found that most people who appear to be ignorant, choose to be as it is less complicated than to acknowledge the information that has been demonstrated or explained to them. Those who willfully choose not to see what is right in front of their very own noses are in fact denying knowledge.

The denial of knowledge leads to the use of my #2 pet peeve: the belief in the phrase "it's just the way it is."

"It's just the way it is"...another completely unacceptable way to look at the world around you. If the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr held fast to the thought of the masses during their times, Black people would still be sitting in the backs of buses & Women would still be unable to vote.

...and while the examples I reflect on are extreme situations...they stemmed from what was commonplace and acceptable. If you personally contribute to the mindset that "it is just the way it is" for personally contribute to suppression and oppression of others.

If you are faced with factual information and you choose to deny are being part of the cause and in no way, shape or form, being part of the solution.

...just think about that for a moment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

People "think" in terms of their individual "creative" abilities...

Recently I've started to think that people "think" in terms of their individual "creative" abilities.

Take our musicians...and I mean TRUE musicians. Not folks who enjoy music or those who can simply play music...I mean the ones who live, breath and create music. I'm starting to believe that they actually think, perceive and see musically. My husband doesn't just 'hear' a song...he hears every single component of the song...including the artist's intent. He doesn't just take a walk on a wooded path...he absorbs the sounds and sights around him and appears to translate them in to music.

My father does the same thing using Math. Every thing he sees, hears or deals with, he seems to perceive as or in a mathematical equation.

I believe every "style" of person (musician, artist, teacher, engineer, chemist) has a very specific creative ability that they perceive, feel and experience life through. If we can get educators from the top down to see and feel this...then we can tap in to each child's creative ability resulting in their success.

...and this is where I will start the next phase of my life coming from...stay tuned... :o)