• Shihan Kendall


“Flexibility is the key to stability”. -John Wooden

Flexibility – and its importance to mental as well as physical health – has been on my mind a lot lately. Part of that is due to a family reunion I went to over the past week for my Dad’s 75th birthday (funny how family reunions can cause you to contemplate the best ways to stay sane). It doesn’t matter what YOUR vision of just the right event is, when you bring a whole bunch of people together with their own ideas – especially if those people aren’t bound by societal norms to be civil to each other. If you want your time together to be pleasurable (and it was, thanks), you have to stay flexible.

Funny enough, I had been asked to talk to one of your young Dojo warriors about this very subject a few days earlier. An absolutely outstanding young person and martial artist, he was all the same getting frustrated in his classroom when things didn’t fit to his own exacting vision. I can absolutely relate, and I’m sure you can, too. Rarely are we treated to the experience of everything going exactly the way we had imagined.

Where we get into trouble, is when we believe that the only two options are things going just the way we want them to, or things going to heck. Pretty limited, as far as outcomes go. And since we only have so much control to make things go are way, we are inevitably going to be stuck with a whole lot of heck.

Along our planet’s fault lines, where earthquakes are an ever-present if unpredictable threat, the safe buildings are the ones designed to flex. When the ground starts to shift underneath us, it’s the rigid buildings that are going to crack and crumble. The ones that move with the stress are still standing when the shaking is done.

The flexibility of our muscles and joints is important to reaching are optimum level of health, and sustaining it well into old age. So is our mental and emotional flexibility. When the world does not fall into the order we would like to impose upon it, frustration and despair are not are only other options. Like an experienced warrior can curl themselves into a ball and get themselves back up on their feet when they’re thrown to the ground, in our everyday we need to roll with whatever punches life throws at us. In this flexibility, we can find stability.


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