Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All of life's a staff kata

It's midnight and I should really head to bed so that when I have to wake up tomorrow morning at 6:30, I'll be well-rested...but something inside of me just needs to move. I am wide awake and itching to do something, so, by default, I've decided to work my staff kata.

There are a lot of things that I need to work on; correct stances, hesitation, looking, and even posture. My balance is off on some moves and I face the wrong direction sometimes. But the most challenging thing for me is to center myself and to not over-think things. I tend to panic when I get lost or hesitate because, just like with music, the form is supposed to be smooth and flowing. Hesitation interrupts the flow of energy and momentum...and freaks me out!

It flows until I start to second-guess myself. It's almost like driving; I get behind the wheel, turn on the music, and then suddenly I'm pulling into my driveway at home! I bow to begin the kata, and then suddenly I'm stuck at the one move where my footwork gets messed up. I fix that, but by then I've stopped and it doesn't feel right to resume from there, so I start over...I bow, and then suddenly I'm stuck at the next move that I have trouble with. I adjust that and then I start over again...and the whole process repeats itself until I finish one rep without stopping in the middle to fix things.

Over-thinking. I do it so often. I want my kata to be perfect right now and I get so caught up in that mentality that I don't regularly practice the form without stopping to correct something. I realize now that it won't be smooth unless I practice being smooth, which means continuing the flow of energy, even if I'm unsure of whether the move is correct.

Life, I think, works this way, too. It has a natural flow; there are things that we do by instinct. Things like laughing. Crying. Feeling emotions. Loving people. Reacting to situations. We do all of these things without having to think too much...but it's easy to over-think all of them and to complicate the flow. I think this happens when the flow scares us; when the imperfections show and we want to constantly correct ourselves.

We often say, "Don't think this" or "Don't feel that". We often feel threatened by things that are natural and normal...because life tells us what we should be. How we should think. Social norms tell us what we should feel and how we should react...and we feel threatened when we suddenly feel the opposite of those things.

Maybe we should practice flowing more, regardless. Even when we're unsure.
Perhaps especially when we're unsure.

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