Thursday, July 8, 2010

Be Like Bamboo- Flexible in the midst of stress

I have taken up running as of late. This is not to say that I didn't run before, but unlike my running in the past, the running I am now undertaking has a certain sense of purpose to it. Inevitably at some point in my running, I encounter the moment that I feel every runner has faced. The moment when you hear that voice that says, maybe you should stop now, this is too difficult, why are you doing this? More on this later.

In our classes which, thanks to a very hot summer have an added challenge since several of the senior students don't endorse running the air conditioner (much to the dismay of the junior adult students) it can be very easy to give up. It gets very hot very quickly and we train hard. What to do? Aside from the expected ( hydrating and stretching) what we need to do is be flexible and adapt, like the bamboo we can bend but not snap. There are many occasions in our lives when we are faced with situations that threaten to push us to the snapping point. What we must strive to do is bend with these situations, while keeping our centers and our senses of humor.
If we are to be like bamboo, we must be versatile. We must learn to adapt quickly and thrive in any type of situation. Bamboo is capable of growing 24 inches in one day depending on soil and climate. This makes it one of the fastest, if not the fastest growing woody plant. In terms of versatility, bamboo is a food source, used in construction, has medicinal properties, and is used in the textile industry. Musical instruments are made from it, and water can be desalinated with it.

We are taught in martial arts that force meeting force is not the ideal situation, but rather blending or creating an opening is what we should aim for. Being like bamboo is very much like this. When a stronger opposing force presses down on the plant it yields, and in so doing preserves its integrity. By bending with the wind or the storm it can weather these rough moments, to emerge whole and stronger afterwards. We would do well to take this lesson from bamboo, when a stronger force confronts us, do not meet it headlong, find a way to bend and overcome. By so doing you to will emerge whole and stronger.

Getting back to the running and that little voice that says you should quit. Barring any real injury ( I dont think performing any activity while injured is healthy), you need to evaluate where that voice is coming from and why. Is it an attachment we are dealing with? A perspective that is skewed? When you can ascertain why, then you can deal with the source of the voice or attitude that threatens to undermine you. Once the source is dealt with you can truly be like that plant that can weather typhoons and hurricanes and still remain standing.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Sensei Orlando

No comments: