I’m heading this morning from Sydney to a karate tournament in Okinawa. It has been a dream of mine since I started studying Shorin-ryu karate with my Sensei to travel with him to Okinawa and I added it late last year, to the things I wanted to bring into my life for this year. And then it all came together!! I can’t even tell you how nervous and excited I have been. And then I got really sick in March, travelled to the USA in April, and then most of July I have been away. So I have not been in tip top training. On a good week, I will spend 12+ hours in the dojo. And I have been missing months at a time lately.
Last night, my first night back in the dojo, I had a private chat to my Sensei about my not competing. I am in truth terrified of doing a terrible job in the competition and bringing shame to him as an esteemed teacher (and then, let’s face it there’s the humiliation factor for myself of course hahaha!). I am simply not feeling physically or emotionally ready. He grabbed my face with his rough hands and ‘said Jacqui enough, bring your teaching mind to this! Not your student mind! Why are you nervous, why are you worrying? It doesn’t even matter if you compete or don’t compete. You are coming to Okinawa for an experience. Stop worrying about the outcomes, about how you will do in the competition and instead who you will be in Okinawa. Just do every small thing well. That is all we must do.”
And it was just the jolt I needed. A reminder to find the beauty in everything, the joy in everything, and to do every little thing well. To press pause on the Western desire on only outcome focussed, not process driven. To pour our whole soul and selves into every little act. I started to think about the energy I will put into walking into the dojo‘s in Okinawa, not how much I might blunder in front of other respectable Sensei’s. I wonder how these spaces will smell, how they will feel, what the light will be like there? How will I sleep at night exhausted after training in 38 degree heat? How will I nourish myself with the traditional food, and eat slowly three meals a day. I wonder what beautiful teas I will drink. What people I will meet. How I will engage my 4 sentences of Japanese repeatedly. Spending long days and evenings with my Sensei and my karate friends, learning absorbing. With my attention on each moment, I will be able to distill the nerves into empowerment and curiosity. With my attention on each step, each breath, each movement, I will be able to quieten my mind.
Whether we ‘compete’ or ‘accomplish’ or whatever we do, is irrelevant. It’s all about putting our hearts, minds and souls into every little act. This is success.
Sent with love,