Dear Students and Friends,
The Christmas and New Year holidays are here, and usually there is much joy and celebration. People smile, wishing one another Happy Holidays. In my neighbourhood, multiple colourful lights are strung up outside many people's homes, bringing a little cheer to the spirits and hearts of passersby.
In this period of pandemic, we are all suffering. Stress, anxiety, and fear are everywhere. The single question on everyone's mind is: "When will this ever end??"
Resilience is a word much used and overheard these days. I had to check for the meaning, as this word is new to my vocabulary. "Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis."
The question is how? How do we cope?
Personally, I have had to sit down and quietly reflect on my situation to determine what I could or should do, and how I could or should react/behave.
Most of the hardships we face are of the emotional kind, or stem from financial worries.
Having learned and practiced martial arts for many years – and being determined to continue for many, many more years to come – I have come to understand the main reason for my training and how to put into practice what I have learned or think I know.
Nowadays, the likelihood of getting into a physical confrontation is quite unlikely. Still, I train both in good and difficult times, come rain or shine, to become stronger. Working through difficulties and challenges helps discipline and forge the mind, body and spirit, all at once.
I realize and see the wisdom of this ancient art. We train when times are good to prepare ourselves for when we will be faced with difficulties or living through crises.
I remember when my first teacher reminded me of "吃苦" (chiku) during training. "吃苦" is to endure or bear the suffering and hardships of training. It is to put up with and accept the continuous corrections and admonishments from the teacher.
One of my teachers would always remind me not to take her reprimands personally before saying what was on her mind. She would say that it was better to swallow the bitter pill, "吃苦" than to live in ignorance the rest of my life.
When we are strong and confident, we are more able to help those who are less fortunate. Don't shy away from initial difficulty or hesitate to offer a helping hand when you come across a situation where it might be needed. (You don't necessarily have to go hunting for opportunities, but you shouldn't wait to be in the spotlight either.) Remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Random acts of kindness work wonders when carried out sincerely, in the absence of any ulterior motives; they're also good for the soul of the one who lends a hand. Be watchful!! This year, make the celebration of Christmas special. Put a little love in your heart... and have a
Wonderful, Merry, Happy Christmas.