Karate

In the tournament today, my age and belt level had only three women, so, the black belts set us up to spar one another, with one girl having a sort of bye. So, I was put against the one girl who had shown up specifically because her instructor wanted her to spar me. The winner of our match was to spar the other girl next.

I was that person.

I won that match, too.

It was very cool.

However, the videographer for my matches totally blew it with the videos. He shook the camera terribly at all the important moments, without clear reason. So, the videos are near-useless for evaluating how I did from an outside perspective. (And he was the same one who did an amazing job last time on the video’s angle and stability! We will be discussing this, he and I. 😛 )

Nonetheless, I felt comfortable regarding the matches today. Though the advice is to jump into it as soon as the head judge says to go, throwing a kick or strike before the opponent has a chance to move or think, I didn’t really like doing that last tournament. It actually was much more stressful for me, and I was near-panicked at the risk involved.

I had seen how the upper belts, black especially, had tended to take their time in attacking one another. It was easy and casual to watch, though still exciting and filled with bated breath when they sparred. The action moments were frequent and awesome, but no one was in a hurry to dive into them as soon as the head judge said to go.

I was amazed by this. I immediately wondered at why I hadn’t done it myself. Then I remembered that the fast-hitting people always beat me in tournaments as a kid. So, I had taken a page out of their books. Those books apparently come from many instructors in the organization. However, not everyone does as he says. And, besides, that approach just isn’t my style.

In sparring in class this session, I took on seeing how it felt to be chill in my own skin in the ring, fully comfortable in patience and intention. When the head judge said to go, I prepared myself fully to receive an attack, but usually never had one. In those first moments, I learned much about the opponent in front of me, and I used it to my advantage. I watched how the person moved, reacted to blocks, dropped guards for certain movements. I didn’t wait long, but long enough to have an idea to use. And then I used that idea. And I usually destroyed.

Today was just the same. I watched my opponents in the eyes. I saw where they looked on my body, while keeping an eye on the tension changes in their own bodies. There was always a bit of a rise and a clench just before a move was made… and the eyes told me exactly where she had set her target. It was a mostly easy block, followed by a bit if pummeling from me. That is, of course, when I hadn’t already attacked her. Because, as a friend said upon seeing the videos this evening, I was on the offense (though the videos were messy, they were still clear enough to notice). Though I waited those precious moments at the beginning, or throughout as I planned my next moves and sought my own opportunities for points, I was still the one managing the ring.

And that was, surprisingly, not a surprising feeling for me. Frankly, it felt natural, as though it were where and how I always belonged: being in charge, running the show.

It was really, really cool.

I still have much, much room for improvement, of course, but attitude is everything in things like this, and my mind seems to have found its place beautifully.

Thank you, God and Universe. I a extremely grateful for all that was today. Happy Christmas in July and Kakigoori Day and, now, Titanic Day!!

Post-a-day 2021

Gratitude

I am grateful for many things, many aspects, within and including my life. Though my country of origin has many problems – ones on which it is working and ones on which it is not -, I am ever grateful for my opportunity and blessing to have been born here. So much in life seems like a game of chance, and our origins seem often to be part of that. I am grateful for the family who have raised me, for the friends who have joined my family, for the city and state who have always been here, and for the country whose history – including all of its many, many struggles and failures – and whose people’s endurance and passion allowed for my life to happen so beautifully as it does today.

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Wherever you go, go with all your heart. I believe that much of my country’s history was filled with people who lived by those two ideas. Their being human, they certainly had their faults. But a lack of heart and passion was not one of them. And so, I am grateful every day for the opportunities they allowed me, over 200 years later.

Remember: Everything and anything you do can and will have an impact on the future, somehow. How can we do out best to make that impact be a positive one for this planet and for its inhabitants?

Post-a-day 2021

Lieutenant Michael Murphy

Today has been Memorial Day, a day for remembering, honoring, and extending gratitude to those who have served in the military, whatever branch they may have been, and who died during that service. In their honor and memory, I now always honor specifically Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy and the 18 others who died for Operation Red Wings on 28 June, 2005, through my practice of the workout now called “Murph”. While it is a thing worldwide, today was a bit extra special for me.

One of my cousins used to live in San Diego and work among the SEALs. He was not technically a SEAL, as he was brought in in a non-traditional way, but he worked and trained alongside them for many years. One of his best friends from that work was on the first helicopter that had aimed to rescue the original four SEALs from the reconnaissance mission that had gone so terribly sour. That helicopter was shot down before any aid could be given, and all those in it died.

Below are all of their names, both those from the original four and those who died while aiming to rescue those four. I list them here, that those who read this might offer up a prayer, a positive intention, some light, some love, and/or some gratitude for the efforts of these men to make the world a better place by giving their all, both physically and mentally, as well as for those efforts continuing all the way to the end of their lives. Being in the military is more than about guns and fighting – it is about being one’s best self, such that the country itself has the opportunity and ability to do that same. Therefore, I am always grateful to those who serve in the military, and I give my love to each of these men listed here, that their souls may be at peace, and their families, too.

Navy SEALs

LT Michael P. Murphy

SO2 Matthew Axelson

SO2 Danny Dietz

SOC Jacques J. Fontan

SOC Daniel R. Healy

LCDR Erik S. Kristensen

SO1 Jeffery A. Lucas

LT Michael M. McGreevy Jr.

SO2 James E. Suh

SO1 Jeffrey S. Taylor

SO2 Shane E. Patton

Army 160th SOAR

SSG Shamus O. Goare

CWO3 Corey J. Goodnature

SGT Kip A. Jacoby

SFC Marcus V. Muralles

MSG James W. Ponder III

MAJ Stephen C. Reich

SFC Michael L. Russell

CWO4 Chris J. Scherkenbach

Post-a-day 2021

Body Image

I intentionally look at myself in the mirror, nude – or almost entirely – every single day.  I look and I see all that there is to my body.  I fill myself with the experience of all that my body is, standing before that mirror.  And I love myself.  Through and through, from the tiniest hair to the German skin to the inherited bowels that are all too sensitive – I love my body for all that it is and for all that it is not.  This is my vessel, my space, my temple, my power, my source in this life.  And I am ever grateful for and in love with it.

That does not mean that I do not want to improve upon it.  One can love something and still want better for it.  Indeed, I believe part of loving something means always wanting better for it.  Such is the case with my body.  Every day, as I see the improvements from only a week ago or days ago, I am grateful that I have blessed it with such love… such love as it takes to get out of bed when I want to snuggle in deeper to the cozy covers, to get myself ready for bed early enough to have enough sleep, to choose these foods over those, to deny the casual pressure of those who do not have the same intentions with their food and drink and schedule, not to take the easy route, and just to accept the current and temporary convenience of eating this standard meal that I find before me, possibly even for free.

They mean no harm to me, I am sure, but such a meal is not free for me.  It has its costs.  Yes, it is utterly convenient, and significantly less socially odd and, sometimes, less embarrassing.  But, it is not blessing my body when I consume it.  Often, it causes my body actual pain, in some small way or other.  And, occasionally, it causes pain in some not-so-small ways… things I never noticed until I began to pay close attention.  I always thought eating meant one would feel ever so slightly ill afterward.  But that is only with certain foods, with the ones that do not serve my body, that I feel that way.  I have learned.

My food is my medicine – I take no other – and it is my daily blessing that gives me the energy for tomorrow.  It gives me my strength to exercise at 5:15 most mornings, as though it were a normal hour of the day.  It gives me the nutrition I need for my deep slumbers at night to restore and improve my strength and energy.

And it is not always easy.  Indeed, it often is difficult to manage getting myself the food I need, whenever I am doing things away from home, with others or alone.  Even at home, it takes effort.  And yet, after all this time, the effort seems like almost nothing.  Why?  Because it is so incredibly worth it.  I don’t even have to think about giving myself the right foods to serve me best, let alone thinking twice about it.  All because I love and want to take loving care of my body.

My body is merely the starting place.  If I am comfortable in my body, and it is ready and able for anything, then my spirit, too, with my body’s support, can take on whatever comes my way, and with a ready heart.  So, as I gaze at myself in the mirror each day, easily noticing the room for improvement, I also marvel at the beauty of all that I am, of all that I have become, and of all that I see I can become… all because I love myself for exactly who and how I am. I once was afraid to see myself naked – I couldn’t stand it.  Now, I look forward to that time of intimacy and being attuned to and connected in all ways with my physical self.  It is one of the most beloved times of my day, and it fills me always with love, joy, and gratitude for this life and for this current step within it.

Post-a-day 2021

Birthdays

What is the difference between one’s birthday and the other 365 days of the year?

I think it is the fact that we intentionally celebrate it. Otherwise, it would be just like all the other days in a year.

I, therefore, recommended celebrating oneself intentionally, lovingly, and fully for one’s birthday each year. Take the time to express gratitude for this life, and to celebrate all that one has done within and with it.

Happy birthday eve to me… 😉

Post-a-day 2021

^Minimal thought

Happy New Year: A Completion of 2020

I am proud of myself for trusting myself this year. I am proud of myself for keeping true to and using my heart in so much of what I have done, both big and small, and also all in between.

I am grateful that I did both of those this year, and I am especially grateful that, often without my realizing it, they were my kakizome at play in my daily life, slowly transforming me further into an expression of my true self.

Arigatougozaimasu ありがとうごさいます😊

I am a bit nervous regarding what is next, and I think it is because I am reaching a sort of crossroads. Something very true to myself is at a nearby turn, but it is scary to go a new path for me. It is usually thrilling and wonderful and amazing, and I am usually grateful to have done it after the fact, but it is scary nonetheless. So, I am scared. And I am stepping forward nonetheless – terrified and confident, full of self-trust/self-confidence and heart (jishin to kokoro 自信と心 [my kakizome]) – creating what is next for me and my life. 🙂 🙏🐪

I wish you all a happy, lovely, love-filled and love-expressed new year. Akemashite omedetou! 明けましておめでとう!!

Post-a-day 2020

Sleepy but tidy

I folded and put away some laundry, and tidied up some other little things today. My room already feels immensely different…, better. I still have lots more to do for things that already have homes or semi-homes, as well as more to do for establishing effective homes for others. And I am okay with that. I am glad and grateful and proud that I have tidied today despite having been exhausted and having desired to lie in bed all day, watching movies. (… which, by the way, I did not do.)

So, yeah, tidying makes a world of a difference. I am looking happily and gratefully forward to the world that awaits me with tidying all that I have here… avec impatience. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Light Painting

Tonight, for the third time this week, I did some light painting.  However, this time I had some upgraded light fun. I found an awesome resource for some guidance on getting started with light painting of a certain sort, and so combined that with what I was already doing, and got a friend to come do some painting and posing with me.  The point was mostly just to test out the materials and the “moves”, so to speak, but also to do something fun and satisfying together.  I feel like the friend wasn’t super into it, but he was a total sport about it all, and I think he enjoyed the experience as a whole, nonetheless, even if it wasn’t his favorite of activities.  At the very least, he specifically requested – more than once – for me to send him the photos we took, so I take that as a positive sign. 🙂  I think he liked it.

I personally could have stayed out there probably at least an hour longer than we stayed.  But I didn’t want to push him too far on the effort when somewhat exhausted front.  I am quite grateful that he came, as I was able to learn lots from this session of playing with light painting together.

Gratitude, man… Gratitude… 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

All in three hours’ work

Well, today, something amazing happened(!!!)!

As we sat in the car, which was freshly parked by my dad, I told him the final detail of what I wanted him specifically to know before we went inside. ‘I only want to work with someone I like, someone with whom I feel comfortable doing business. So, if I don’t feel comfortable with whoever comes up to us, I’m going to tell him to go help other customers and that I want to be left alone, please. And then I will find someone I do like and trust to help me. Okay? I just want you to know that, because I am not working with someone with whom I don’t want to work.’

He surprised me by not saying or suggesting anything in disagreement with or contestation with my words, and just saying a genuine and semi-excited, “Okay.”

Not quite three and a half hours later, we drove out of the lot in separate vehicles, my having leased my first car (and that included over an hour of just sitting in the finance department, waiting for an agent to become available to let me sign paperwork, after we had already settled everything with the car salesperson).

My dad was blown away. While we were waiting on the final bits of negotiation between our saleswoman and her manager, my dad kept commenting on how he had never gotten a car on the first time he had walked into a place. He once bought a suburban on the same day he first saw it, but he had test driven it, then gone home and discussed things with his then-wife, and they had gone back later that evening and purchased it. Other than that, though, he hadn’t gotten anywhere near purchasing a vehicle on the same day he first saw it.

But I was prepared. I had been looking at used cars for so long, to no car-providing avail, and I was sick of them all. When I had looked deeper into leasing and discovered that I just might be able to lease a vehicle all on my own, despite my annual salary being iffy, so to speak, and my being self-employed. I had enough money to put down, after all, and my credit history is amazing, despite my work history being wonkers the past few years. I’ve had a credit card that I have always paid on time and usually paid in full for over eleven years, and I paid off all my student loans within three and a half years of their first being required to be paid upon. Do someone with so little money going back and forth in her life, I’ve done a great job of building a positive credit history and credit score, greatly due to my father’s initial step of having me open a credit card in order to begin that process. And I had a back-up plan, if needed, for a co-signer on the lease, but it didn’t sound like a likely necessity. I just had to make sure the car price (MSRP) was under my yearly salary last year.

What’s more, I did some research on car salespersons’ commissions (I suggest reading the basic info and a personal account I found in my research), and I knew I wanted to take as little of a salesperson’s time as possible. And that would benefit me as well as the salesperson – win-win. And my dad… win-win-win! 😛

So, we walked into the showroom this afternoon, I , in a comedic way, found myself kind of loving the energetic older Chinese lady with a very strong Chinese accent who greeted us right near the door, handing us her business cards from her blue-gloved hands, and reminding me of Japan and their business card culture, as well as the shamelessness often found in Chinese culture (ironically enough). I told her why I was there, and she took me to her desk to figure out some details of what vehicles were available for lease that matched what I was seeking.

While sitting there, she comments to me that I have very pretty eyes, and I thank her. I happen to agree, so I determine that I will accept the compliment despite its potential aim at being falsely friendly in order to get a sale. After a few minutes, she says-asks that I’d been there before, right? I told her that I had not. After an Oh exhale, she says that I just look familiar. Another possible “move”, but it doesn’t bother me. She could also be being genuine. It wouldn’t be the first time for me.

After a few minutes more, she asks me again, asking if I’m sure I’ve not been there before. I tell her that, no, I have never been in here before today. She genuinely seems a bit bugged about this, and tells me that I just look so familiar. I smile.

When we get up and start walking to go outside and “Pick the color you like,” she says suddenly, “Well, do you dance?” still looking at me quizzically. I stop and look at her more carefully.

“Yes,” I tell her.

Within a few more sentences, we have both worked out that we know exactly who the other person is. She wasn’t anyone who did dance classes, but she was friends with some guys who did, and often would go out dancing with them, and that sometimes meant with a group that included me.

When I ran into dance friends at dinner tonight, I relayed this story to them. Brows were crooked and eyes were rolled at first, but everyone laughed and sighed when I said the, ‘Do you dance?’ line – they know exactly how that works in life. You can’t place a person, but dance is mentioned and it suddenly all clicks into place (and you sometimes have to evaluate what side of you this person has seen in the dance world before moving forward). One of the girls at dinner knew just whom I meant when I described the car saleswoman. The dance community is like that – we kind of all know each other, even if only distantly or in passing of sorts.

Anyway, tangent ended…

So, I introduced her to my dad at that point, and explained the connection to him. He was surprised and obviously a bit more at ease. We then chatted about dance stuff while walking out to the cars, and it was just kind of really cool.

Once at the cars, we got down to business. My dad and I browsed details and asked questions, both agreed that the dark gray was not only a good-looking vehicle but also the best-looking one out there.

We test drive it. 2.0L versus 1.8L engine made a huge difference for this little car. We were impressed by the pickup and by the interior quiet and vehicle stability feeling on the highway. Really impressed, actually. This car was much better than I remembered from the oneI drive in college that belonged to a friend of mine.

I liked this car.

And so, after the test drive, I said a clear yes to wanting to see about leasing it, and the saleswoman got to work. Tentative prices were shown, and I approved a credit check in myself. When they approved my credit score, real negotiations began. My dad helped me with the bargaining part – I’m not the greatest with that, which was part of why I wanted him with me in the first place – and the saleswoman was actually really awesome throughout it all. Frankly, the directness of her Chinese culture was a huge relief to both my dad and me. It is just utterly annoying having to deal with the excuse and BS nonsense I so often hear from salespeople from US-born culture. We don’t need to come up with excuses for why you are offering this versus that. Just say your offer, and I’ll say mine, and we’ll continue easily that way, with no one getting offended on either side. And that is just what we did.

And it was so easy, I barely even felt any stress at all. My only actual stress, really, was when I realized I needed to go to the bathroom, but I kept having to read or do something or wait for my dad to come back from the bathroom and then an important time-sensitive thing he had to do on his phone for a few minutes (sign up for his lap swimming at the pool as soon as the registration room opened at 3:00 for Tuesday, that is)… literally the only time I felt actual stress at that place.

When our offers were getting pretty close to being met, my dad started to retract his statement of waiting to call back until Monday or Tuesday. “We might be able just to do this all today,” he said, slightly amazed. And then repeated every so often, when a new price drop had occurred.

Eventually, our exact number request was met, I signed a tentative proof and filled out some further information, and we were walked over to and dropped off at finance to sit and wait to sign the real papers.

We had spent roughly twenty minutes doing the initial desk stuff, then just over half an hour on the colors and test drive, just over half an hour on negotiations, another ten finalizing , and then over an hour just waiting for finance, and not quite half an hour in a finance room, signing papers.

Then, after one last bathroom break, I met the saleswoman and my dad in a certain covered vehicle area just outside, and took a few pictures and connected to Bluetooth and played around with the keyless start (my dad was quite delighted by that part, actually), before driving on out (and then immediately calling my mom on the car phone system…, which turned out to be quite decent, actually).

And so, now, I have a car that is reliable, super covered under warranties and full maintenance coverage, high-tech, handsome, and, really, quite fun to drive.

I am grateful for such an awesome turnout for today. Thank you, Life and World and Dance. 😀

P.S. One of the photos the saleswoman took while I was talking to my dad for his photo.

Post-a-day 2020

Surprise, again

It still takes me by surprise when people display extreme appreciation or love for me (outside of my family, anyway).

I’m working on that.

But I am grateful that I am now at the point of noticing this reaction, such that I can begin to accept the appreciation and love without restraint, thereby helping myself believe that the whole reason that person loves and appreciates me so is because he or she experienced who I truly am…, and it is no wonder that person loves and appreciates me…, because that person really is amazing. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020