My teacher always reminded me, “problems equal opportunity” he would say, to which I have added over the years “to the prepared mind”. I had an opportunity to test that preparation this past weekend.
Sunday morning I woke to nine missed calls and five new messages including a text with a video. Naturally I clicked the video first and was struck by what appeared to be the back of my Temple structure with water streaming out the back downhill toward the drain. My mind in a fog of confusion I quickly realized this was happening right now and I was nowhere near.
With the hall completely flooded in several inches of water, it had found its way out the wall at a low point. After securing the culprit, I began to sweep out the water as swiftly as possible before really thinking about approach, just diving into action for what would become an eight hour exercise session of lifting, moving, sweeping, mopping and repeating.
As with all things in life, there is always a lesson to be learned and this would be no different it would just take until the next day to recognize as chaos had won the fight this day. I allowed it to get the jump on me early without taking time to assess what would be needed for me to remain at my best that day, the outcome of which was a day full of “catching up” and being ruled by my conscious mind and the chaos and uncertainty that can bring.
The Lesson(s) - problems that became opportunities for insight, growth and change.
Take care of your body before the work begins - if you don’t take a moment to prepare physically before an event like this, you will extract a heavy toll from your body.
Take action on the items that will provide the greatest impact first - don’t act aimlessly, take a moment to fully assess what needs attention to “triage” the situation and work on the biggest problems first, even if not the most glaring.
Don’t try to do everything yourself, unless you have to - even if you can do it and don’t want to trouble others, having support even in the smallest ways can enable you to do more, better, with the time you have to act.
Things are nearly never as bad as they first appear - while everything may look bleak from where you stand at this moment, you will never be standing in this moment again and perspective is everything. Recognize your perspective will shift and things will settle.
You can only control what you can control - one of my families favorites, even if you think you can control the outcome of a challenge, you are most likely wrong. Things will finish as they must, all we can do is our best in that moment to hep make things better.
The floor needed repainting, the universe helped make that happen - while I wanted the floor to be repainted and had spoken about it several times, it never quite fit with timing. The universe has a way of helping make decisions that need to be made, recognize that.
Check all the lines and fixtures that connect water to your space to ensure they are sound - simple but important lesson, the smallest water line can make a mess you cannot imagine if left long enough and they don’t ask your permission to fail.
Your neighbors should have a key to your space, assuming you trust them of course, as you cannot foresee everything - maybe its not a neighbor, maybe its a friend that is close by, but someone that can step in if needed in emergency should you not be reachable.
Each insurance is specific in nature and even though you don’t have merchandise or machinery, you still need to consider the costs - I would extend this to “renters insurance” as well. While we cannot afford to insure everything, this lesson is a big one today.
Your mind will always try to default to the “hazard” or “safety/fear” position when evaluating challenges, you must manually adjust - your mind is not your friend in challenges that are not life threatening. It will often pull you into negativity, sap your energy through emotional drain and chaos, you must guard against this by setting your resolve early in an event.
While it would be easy to close the doors until things are resolved and my students would understand the circumstances, that is not the Gung Fu Spirit, nor the Martial Way. There is always a way through if you look hard enough and are willing to persist and persevere. I teach my students that while life brings many challenges, it provides us with the opportunity for growth and self refinement. I can continue to teach during this time and I will, not just for the benefit of my students but for the benefit of myself and my personal growth, evolution and self conquering. COVID, loss of revenue, learning to teach virtual, flooding my halls, these are all just pieces of coal that are added to the fire I use to shape and temper the person I continue to become, that is the Martial Way, the Gung Fu Spirit that lives in all of us. This is what I try to teach, leading by example or deed, not simply by words. Make your next challenge an opportunity to learn, grow and become more to yourself and those around you.