So here I am in Kashiwa, Japan. I just finished breakfast and now I 'm sipping on my cafe' Ole' that I picked up at this quaint little French bakery around the corner. Training with Hatsumi Sensei starts in a few hours, so I have a second or two to think. One of the things that comes to mind is being the eye of the storm. Why? Well, the martial arts training that I am doing over here really relies on the practitioner to be what I call baseline (which for those of you who don't know what it is; I'll get into in a second). You see if you are not emotionally detached a bit from the engagement you may put yourself in a more vulnerable position. You have to remain calm inside and when you do let your emotions out it's done so intentionally and strategically. (Very Japanese it seems). If you can't see through and control your own emotions, you will continue to resist and fight with the external circumstance or be overly passive rather than knowing how to flow with it. The object is to either find and maintain mutual balance, or gain the tactical advantage by remaining balanced while taking your opponents from him.
In light of my thoughts I just wanted to share a little story about having Baseline in everyday life. Before I share the story let me first review what I mean by being Baseline and why it is so important:
Basically this state of what I call Baseline is simply choosing not to be part of the problem. Being the eye of the storm, rather than being caught up in the storm or the creator of it.
Baseline can be made up of many things, however it can be summarized by these three (3) components:
A) See Conflict as an Opportunity
B) Respect Life - Separate Actions and beliefs from someone's Life Value
C) Set the Pace - Lead by Example
C) The Situation (Including Environment)
3) Appropriate Action:
A) Do the Right Thing
B) At the Right Time
C) W/the Right Intention (Most Good/Least Harm for Everyone)
Ok, so now that we clarified that at least in summary form, let me share my very simple, everyday story. It goes something like this:
I just got back from teaching/training out in New Jersey on Sunday and almost before I have time to eat some T-Day Turkey and stuffing I left for Japan on Friday, so I was trying to get all of my bills paid before I went, knowing that if I don't pay some of them they will go unpaid past their due date incurring fees. So, I am getting anxious about getting them taken care of.
Now, I have to share another part of the equation, I live in a quaint "Heritage Hill" style home that is split up into three apartments. The mail comes into one collective mailbox and on a number of occasions my mail has gotten lost. I don't get a lot of mail. A few pieces of junk mail and bills. That said, if my junk mail gets misplaced I wouldn't miss it or really care for that matter, however, a few of my bills get misplaced every year, which can be problematic. Especially when I am on a tight time frame.
So, here's the scene, due to my 4 hour plane trip taking 26 hours because of delays I just get into town a couple days ago from a week and a half in Jersey. Thanksgiving is Thursday and I leave on Friday for Japan, so as I said I'm trying to get all of my household things done before I go, so I'm feeling a bit crunched for time.
My bills are typically all here by this time of the month, so when I don't see them on my doorstep I get a bit nervous. I call my landlord, friend and compadre' to see if they are in a pile somewhere at his place. He says he'll look. I don't hear from him, so I text him. Nothing. Then his wife texts me saying that they "distributed all of the mail" and nothing else for me.
Being that my baseline was wavering a bit due to my stress of trying to catch up after the flight, get ready to leave for Japan and the holiday. That whiny adolescent voice in my head was saying: Crap, they lost my mail again! Maybe they can pay all of my late fees and the hassles this time!? I have to leave in a couple days, I don't have time for this shit! Blah, blah, blah, the voice went on and on in my head, determined to make me more anxious and cranky.
I ALMOST replied to her text with this: Hmmmmm, Interesting that my mail was misplaced again!
Even though that response was better than what was going on in my head, it still was reacting to a situation and making some assumptions... and you know what happens when we make assumptions!? It could have easily festered into something else, something bigger. As we know many big blowouts start w/small inconsequential things like this, turning into something much more ugly.
Anyway, I took a couple deep breaths, collected myself, re-calibrated, told my little (whiny) voice to chill and instead responded with this:
Thanks for the update, let me know if you find something.
Telling myself it's really no big deal (which is true). I started figuring out how to pay the bills online (which I don't like doing, but oh well).
Later that afternoon I hear a knock on my door and it's my buddy with the last two bills I was looking for, he says, "These came in the mail for you today."
If I would have let my frustration get the better of me and said what was on my mind at first or even went ahead with my snarky return text, I would have felt like a first class schmuck. Luckily I was able to keep my baseline and saved myself a lot of static as well as having to eat crow.
I know this was a small incident, but it was a great example of being a PeaceWalker, maintaining baseline and using conflict as an opportunity, rather than in this case causing a problem. An everyday encounter that gives me practice for the bigger stuff we sometimes run into. It's all practice.
Anyway, I hope that you folks had a great Turkey day and continue to open up to being Thankful for your lives and the people and experiences in them.