Back "in the day," I had a tape recorder EXACTLY like this one!
LIVE - PROTECT - INSPIRE
A sunny summer day sometime in the late 70's or early 80's. Riding my bike around the neighborhood (back when that was still legal for a youngster to do alone and w/o a helmet!). I had my old single speaker Panasonic cassette deck duct taped to my handle bars jamming to Nick Glider's "Hot Child in the City." I didn't really know what the meaning of the words were, but I knew the feeling that I got on the first crack of that snare drum and the driving thud of the bass drum in time with the bass guitar. The subtle harmonic notes from the lead guitar added to the texture... Then the lyrics ring out..."Danger in the shape of something wild..." A few bars later the guitar riff kicks in to complete the steady groove that seemed to open up a new world for me.
It's hard to put into word how music like that made me feel. Alive! Cool! Like the world was filled with wonder and adventure! It was MINE for the taking! I could do anything.. And I could do it with style! Nothing could stop me or stand in my way... Well, maybe my Mom when it was time to come in for dinner... (Some of you still might remember the, "be home when the streetlights come on," speech!)
It was a great feeling! Later, I felt that same thing as my martial arts training developed, first the empowerment helped me develop to be able to stand up for myself. To not be bullied or victimized by others. To live in the light and not in fear; to have the confidence to walk my own path, alone if necessary.
After that feeling filled my cup and flowed over its edges, something else inside of me began to happen. Clarity of something more began to develop, something that I would spend my entire life investing in trying to clarify, embrace and articulate more clearly. Respect for Life. Now-a-days I use Dr. Robert Humphrey's lingo, the Universal Life Value or Dual Life Value, but back then it was just called being respectful of the person, even if you had to thump on them a bit when they were bullying me or someone else. In those days I didn't over think or complicate things, I just followed what felt right in my heart.
I wouldn't go out of my way to hurt or bully anyone, but I wouldn't take anyone's shit either. If I could help someone out because they were being taken advantage of or hurt I would. That's not to say that I was an angel, because I wasn't. I did my fair share of crappy, short sighted things growing up and sometimes still do. I'm no mother Theresa... but I'm no Hitler either. I'm human just like everyone else. If it wasn't for my parents and other good teachers along the way I'd be lost in the sauce like many people I see. That is why I think I have empathy for so many, because I can see how lucky I am regarding people around me who took the time and effort to mentor me, consciously or not. Now maybe I can give back a little as I continue exploring my own path. I'm still more of a student than teacher. I keep learning, training & making mistakes.
I remember liking this powerful feeling, not because of what I could do to others, but because I developed the confidence and skills to do my own thing without feeling afraid of others who weren't respectful. As my abilities increased I was able to deal with situations with less violence. I found that I was often able to talk someone out of wanting to fight. I really just didn't give a shit what others thought and paid little attention to their small minded power trips or feeble attempts at creating drama. I had a sense of clarity, confidence and skill. I felt as if I didn't really need anyone to validate me, which allowed me to walk away from many situations. I didn't need to fight or argue with them. Somehow my strength came from within. I knew that when I was called to defend, I could handle myself. Not like a thug, but as a protector. If there was someone who needed help (for the right reason) I could lend a hand. People were Safer when I was there. And not just physically. I tried to create a safe environment emotionally, socially, etc. where ever I went. In order to do this I realized that I needed to be clear and empowered myself. When I lost my clarity or didn't feel empowered, I noticed (and still do) that I was more likely to make poor choices and become part of the problem.
As the years passed I met more teachers who were able to help me increase my skills and clarify this protector ethic. Many of the lessons came from the not so obvious situations and people that life throws at you. Many more come from me being a dumb ass and being the cause of my own and others suffering. I am grateful for the experiences and people in my life, past, present and future.
I plan to LIVE, PROTECT & INSPIRE the best that I can throughout my life. When I'm not paying attention or get a little too full of myself, thinking I'm "all that," I fall.. but so far I've been able to get up again, some times hurt, limping and bleeding but I Keep Going none the less.
That said, I wish the same to you. Keep Going! You are more than you think you are: Deep, Powerful, Mysterious!
All the best,