Tonight

My Opa died this summer. At least, I think it was this summer… this whole year and a half+ has been difficult for me to separate into time periods beyond the bulk term “recently”.

Tomorrow is his wedding anniversary with my grandma, and my grandma’s 91st birthday. So, my mom and I are staying at their house tonight – despite the 78° thermostat in here, which is a big youch! – in preparation for a small gathering of family members tomorrow. This time, instead of celebrating with Thanksgiving, as we usually do with a two-day celebration, it is a whole week before our Thanksgiving gathering, and it is without my Opa.

And I don’t know how I feel about that.

I also don’t know how I feel about my having such uncertainty…

I think I stayed away more and more as he got close to dying, potentially out of self-preservation. It was hard to be with someone who was so close to death, who so soon would be gone permanently. But also who, more and more, was less himself, as though he was ever so slowly departing from this life, until just the final bit exhaled one early morning, and finished the departure.

Perhaps life is like that. Perhaps it is only a passing-through kind of deal, where we are born, and, from that moment, we begin slowly to depart, slowly to rise to our highest selves, returning to our core and our maker, returning to our home. And maybe some people are more in touch with that home than most, already with one foot in the door, so to speak. Perhaps they never fully left, or perhaps they quickly leaped back. And perhaps the ghosts we have walking these grounds are the ones who have lost their way, or who are just not yet ready to return home. Perhaps they are the ones who forgot that, like college, life is only a stepping stone, not a destination.

Obviously, I’m rambling off in an unexpected direction here. I’m still not ready to deal with Opa not being here in person with me anymore. He was already not really here for a while before he fully left. So, while it feels quite different, his not being in this house right now, I’m also accustomed to it, and even relieved by it, considering the struggles of his body shutting down over the final year or so of his life here.

Anyway… I want to love people the way I felt and sill feel loved by him. With him, I always felt worth it, and I always felt good enough. I always felt loved, just as I was. I want to do that for those in my life.

God, help me to do so, please.

Amen.

Post-a-day 2021

Distraction

God, bless the people who are astute and thereby share their love through offering gentle distraction from getting lost in our heads with spiraling worries, when we need it most. You gave me one of those people this week, and it was an utter blessing – thank you. Please, bless him as he blessed me, and then some.

Post-a-day 2021

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