Thanksgiving 2016

I have a great life! I begin with this thought because it is easy to forget.

A little while back I was watching a TV show which happened to have filmed part of the episode in a place I used to frequent when I was young (in my early twenties). I was homesick for this place as I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. This was also around the time when George Martin died. I found myself listening to all my old Beatles’ songs again. Ah... It all takes me back. I remember those easier times. I earned less, but I had more free money to dispose of. I could run myself ragged because my body would always bounce back. I could hop in a car and rush off to visit a friend two hours away on a lark. I was free, and it was because I was young. Today, I am married with two children, a mortgage, and a business. So much of that freedom and flexibility is lost. However, I am not lost. My family is wonderful, despite the responsibility and work and effort they require. My business is my dream - a place where people come to feel safe and find the best in themselves - and that dream also requires responsibility and work and effort. The rearview mirror already shows me crossing that line where if you wake in the morning and nothing hurts you must be dead. But as a good friend pointed out to me, I have everything I always wanted. Amazing wife/life partner. Two great children. Students and their loved ones who share themselves with me and with one another…

When I first started practicing Tae Kwon Do, my practice was carefree. I was the “child” and others, those more advanced, had the responsibility to care for me, to teach me. As I progressed, I inherited that responsibility for others. Upon earning a black belt, my teacher, Mike, told me that I will not be a true black belt until I make a black belt. Ah, but the responsibility does not end there; for every new black belt, I must help and guide them towards that goal of finding their new place, their new focus, their new reason to put on that uniform every day and continue to find and challenge the best in themselves… For black belt is not an end goal, but a glorious step in the lifelong process of finding and fulfilling who we are.

As I look back with glossy eyes on the joy of my youth, I also remember, through the nostalgia, that the Beatles spoke to me because I was looking for what they sang about. Now, I am living through that moment where I am lucky enough to have it all, and I am lucky beyond what I deserve to have a community who shares in this quest, both as a community and as individuals. I find myself looking for what I have, and fortunate enough to be able to see and recognize that I have it. Though I will always love the Beatles, I do not need them to shape the meaning in my life. I simply need to remember to open my eyes and look around me.

Looking back can be great. Looking forward is important, too. Remember to be where you are, and excel at that moment, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! May you find the happiness and joy in the fortunes that surround you.