Acceptance

The “word of the week” being talked about at the martial arts school right now is acceptance, part of a month-long series “Defining our Mission.” To hear some wise ideas about acceptance try this; to read more wise thoughts, go here.

In recent weeks my focus on taiji has sharpened, precipitated by achy knees and the realization that if I want to get better at this art I say I enjoy, I need to work harder at it. I do some things poorly and they’re not going to get better without specific attention and training. I can accept that.

Building physical strength and skills takes time and repetition. No other way. I know that’s true and I can accept it too. I’m building more time for practice into my schedule so I can do the repetitions I need.

Learning new concepts takes time too. The brain is a living, organic thing and it literally grows new brain in order to contain new information; our ineffable conscious minds also change only with time and effort. I can accept that. I know how it works.

The practical upshot of these true things is that right now I am frustrated as hell with my taiji practice. It is all effort and tension and strain, both mental and physical strain, and I hate that. I hate and resent it. It is difficult and demoralizing and I am struggling hard not to be hopeless.

That’s not so easy to accept.

Big chunks of me want to reject that sentiment. They want to call it “wrong” and tell me to buck up and try keeping a little optimism. How can I accept that the processes of learning are hard and take time and then feel angry about it? How is that right?

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s right or not. The fact is right now it’s real. Correct or not, it is a fact of this moment and if I am really going to accept reality, I have to accept that too.

Accepting that draws me closer to other hard truths I don’t really want to see. I may never be as good at this art as I want to be. It may take a really long time to feel like I have a grasp on things. Those are huge challenges for me, one who has spent years using high performance as the yardstick for acceptability. Facing those true things hurts. Accepting them is very hard. It’s a lot easier to just turn around and walk away. But I don’t want to walk away anymore. I don’t want to walk away from this.

So … I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right work in the right way. I wish to goodness I were starting to feel movement connect in a better way. I’m mostly not.

It’s early days. It may take a while. I like things I can understand fast; the things I’m learning now apparently aren’t like that, and that’s an extra challenge for me.

I accept.

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