Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life in Every Breath

I'm back. I know, it was only two days, but it felt a lot longer to me. I intentionally took Sunday "off" because I was working on two card orders, and yesterday was sort of a sick day. Well, it was more of a sick and tired day, since I was mostly just tired (having only slept less than 3 hours the night before). It gave me lots of time to accomplish very little and to do a lot of thinking.

I took some sofa time too, and watched "The Last Samurai" (again). I'm not a big Tom Cruise fan, but it's one of my favorite movies - mostly because of the story and because of Ken Watanabe's incredible acting. Plus, every time I watch it I'm struck by some new Bushido (loosely translated: The Way of the Warrior) principle. This time around was no different.

Algren: What do you want from me?!
Katsumoto: What do you want from your self?

I've spent most of my life trying to figure out what others want from me - thinking that's what was most important, and how to make others happy and comfortable. Most of the time it worked, but in the process, I lost what I needed to make me happy, to make me comfortable. So, I really wasn't successful. I wasn't aware. How can we do anything for others that we can't do for ourselves?

The Way of the Warrior further translates to "life in every breath," meaning we need to be aware of every moment and every movement. As in the game of chess, we need to be looking forward five moves to the outcome of what we are doing now. Don't get too worked up about this concept... even the masters refuse to claim that they've perfected the concept. It's difficult (understatement of the year). However, by embracing the concept, we also embrace that we will persue the concept and practice it.

For example, what if we could actually see five moves into the future when we deal with others? What if that smile that you gave a stranger completely changed the course of his or her day? Is there really a need to see that fifth move? No, it's the action that signifies.

Now, I'm not even a novice when it comes to Bushido. I'm familiar with some of its concepts, but I wouldn't claim to know much about it. What I do know, I like. I've seen some very firm principles to live by, and I do practice some of them (sometimes without knowing). There's this: True warriors are people who know how to be at peace. I've had people tell me how brave I am, how unafraid I am. Maybe. But I don't think of it that way. And I think when trouble comes my way, I'm able to deal with it because I can see a certain peace within it, a certain beauty in the dance of battle.

I'm not sure I'm making concise points here as I try to get across what's been on my mind. And the question that keeps circling around (in Ken Watanabe's rich baratone voice) is, "What do you want from your self?" Not for yourself, but from your self.

I want a Warrior Gypsy girl who moves through this world in peace and (inner) beauty; a girl who is unafraid of her own spirit; a girl who will cross into unknown territory and see five moves ahead. I want... life in every breath.

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