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  • Shihan Kendall

After The Hit

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

Happy are they who learn to bear what they cannot change.

-Friedrich Schiller

I have taken my share of punches to the head and kicks to the gut. Some of them have really rung my bell, or left me fighting for breath.

I would be lying if I said that there haven't been times over the last several weeks that I've felt just as battered as any of those times. Listening last week as our Governor announced that kids would not be returning to school for the rest of the academic year was probably the worst. Thinking of precious Springtime moments -- particularly for those kids like high school Seniors who are at watershed periods in their lives-- my spirit was, let's just say, not so "indomitable."

Times like those, not to mention all the moments of sickness, loss and uncertainty that people have had to endure, it might seem almost obscene to talk about "silver linings". But they're there, just like the sun is there behind these nasty gray clouds I'm looking at outside the Dojo window as I write this. That's the knowledge that helps me get off the floor, shake my head clear, and take that breath.

I might miss the way this place feels when it's packed with people doing what they love and loving who they are with, so much that it hurts. But I still get to see a lot of ear-to-ear smiles over my computer screen, and hear a lot of wild and happy kiai's, and feel the joy that our warriors put into their art even when they have to do it in a strange and challenging way.

There is no bigger obstacle to Happiness in life than wanting more than we have at any moment. And man, there are so many things that we all want right now, things that we used to take for granted, that we can't have. Yet still I see that Happiness. And I realize that not only are these warriors finding a way to be happy now, they're learning that Happiness can be found even in very tough and trying circumstances.

If there's one thing I've learned from having my bell rung and the wind knocked out of me, it's that the bell stops ringing and the wind comes back. It's one of the most valuable things I know, given the certainty that I'm going to get hit again, both literally and figuratively. Today, I'm focusing on the knowledge that when this is all over, all you warriors I love so much will be better equipped than ever to take whatever blows life might give you, and that you won't just be able to endure the hard times, but find Happiness in them.

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