"The reason I've been able to do all this is because I can see myself clearer and see the pitfalls that I would normally fall into."
I'm writing this just after returning from practice. I'm almost always more focused and clear-headed after a lesson, it brings me back to life after a long days work. I get more done starting at 9:00 or 10:00 after getting home from the school than I ever did getting home from work at 6:00 before I started practicing Oom Yung Doe.
My life had reached a kind of dull stasis about four years ago. I was working a job that didn't challenge me, provided no future and I wasn't doing anything about finding something better. Having recently graduated with a Bachelor in Music, I was not pursuing any of my dreams with any sort of vigor, and I wasn't seeking out new experiences or seeking any of the opportunities (musical or other) for which I had moved to Boston originally. I wasn't depressed, I was just kind of floating waiting for something to happen I suppose. It was a classic wishing for something to happen and then getting distracted and trapped and forgetting to follow through with those goals. It also affected my relationships as I was also just floating through them, not challenging or seeking anything new out of them.
Then one Christmas as a present I was given a 2 month program at the school in Davis Square. I had always wished to try some sort of martial art but again never actually followed through with it. I started noticing I had more energy after only about a week or two of practice, and I would start getting excited about going. I think I went 6 days a week for the first 2 months of practice before signing up for the degree program. In the last two years of practice in writing this I'm seeing how much I've accomplished. I now work the job I wanted originally coming out of college, which I credit to the incredibly focused energy I would have after practice allowing me to start writing music at 10:00 or 11:00 at night which was the only free time I had. I play in several other music groups around Boston, and most importantly have found some great relationships with friends and family. The reason I've been able to do all this is because I can see myself clearer and see the pitfalls that I would normally fall into. Instructors would always say that the practice room is the place to challenge yourself, and test your mental strength to carry on, because unlike the real world, there are no irrepairable or painful consequences if you are not strong enough. I find this to be absolutely true. There is literature in my school with the translation explained as "forged in flame". This always rang the most clear to me, as through the movement and forms I would be able to push myself further and further not through pain, but through giving myself good enough excuses to stop. Each time there was a seemingly brutal Pal Gae practice, I would feel the swirls of excuses, pain, and every other thought I had during the day start to form a barrier where my mind would inevitably have to crash into. However, each time I could break through and find my focus and find the strength to keep my breathing, keep my eyes, and keep my thoughts clear, I would leave the practice room with an overwhelming sense of pride and warm feeling, even if I couldn't really walk very well. That strength has carried outside of my movement, I started to notice this when I would work 5:00 in the morning to 6:00 at night, and then go to rehearsals from 6:30-1:00 in the morning for 2 to 3 days in a row for about 2 months. I would normally start to feel sorry for myself and quickly build up a lot of stress and a negative shroud around myself hoping for other people's sympathy at how hard everything was, but that was not the case. With my practice I still had plenty of energy, I never got sick during that period, and even though at that point in time I was still working the job I despised, I kept a very positive outlook and was able to manage the stress.
I feel more human and more natural than I ever have, and I feel more connected to others than ever before, and that is why I keep practicing and plan to continue.
After going to the weeklong and practicing the meditation practice, I've discovered a new feeling. I have never felt any sort of connection to something greater, believing that everyone was detached from each other. In my meditation I started trying to connect with nature, and meld into it. After about two weeks of the meditation, one night I had some sort of epiphany. I visioned myself sitting in a forest by the water, and I removed everything that was not in a state of nature from my mind. I could feel other life breathing, with the thought that we were all put on this planet with nothing, and we would eventually all leave, and that was something that every living thing shares. With this bond I felt a sense of comradery with other life, and I felt an energy surround that. I then suddenly and completely relaxed like there was a cool breeze that just washed everything in my head away, and there was absolutely no stress. I started breathing, breathing that energy into me, allowing it clean me, and each breath felt like I was becoming more and more with the trees I was sitting by. I can return to this peace now each time I meditate depending on how much time I have.
This is one of the reasons I want to teach other students. I am coming around to realizing that there is nothing else as important as the bond we all have with each other. To be able to heal and help anothers health is more important than anything else. Teaching also teaches me more about my character than anything else I've ever done before. It challenges me to challenge others without letting them give up on themselves, which is a problem I've always had. It also challenges me to have confidence I've not previously had. I am also better learning how to connect with people, and how to reach them through teaching them movement. Some of the best feelings I've had have been after a lesson where I've given a hand.