We all have our sense of normal. This is what makes us unique. No two people are exactly alike. Some are proficient at one thing while other people are proficient at others. Some people seem fortunate enough to be naturally adept in anything they try. Why is there this perception? It seems true, does it not? The truth is, these people are just the same as anyone else. There are things they excel at and things they suck at.

The real difference is, they engage in everything they do. When it comes to what they are not as naturally good at, they engage just a little more. They accept the fact that they are lacking, but do not settle. They ask questions, they put in the effort to truly figure out what they need to do. When they come across adversity, they do not give up, wipe their hands of it and move on to the next thing. They try and fail, try and fail. They have the confidence to keep going until they have the competence to do it well. These people are masters of their own life. They are in control of everything that happens in their lives.

Even if they are not in control in the literal sense, they make changes and adapt to minimize the circumstances that are taking the control away from them. This does not mean to control everyone's life around them, just their own. If the affect of maintaining control over their own life affects those around them, that is simply an after effect. It is usually and preferably a positive effect that encourages us all to remain calm and in control. Masters of life are ordinary, just like you and me. 

I too one day hope to be in control of everything possible in my life, it is my life after all. If I am not in control of it, how can I possibly help others when they are struggling to get control of theirs?

Dan Sollinger

Cycles - "From Chaos, Comes Order"

We set goals, we make plans and we allow for adjustments along the way. Then life happens! And suddenly we are in a state of chaos. Even with adjustments and the ability to compensate we can be easily thrown off track and derailed. Being proactive and having a solid yet flexible plan is a great start. However, even if you know that something is coming and are able to prepare, the reality while in the moment can be much different.

Chaos is a natural cycle of life. And if you were to think of chaos as being contained within a circle then there would also be creativity, rest and action. Order and even greatness can come from chaos if we follow the intended natural progression below:

1. Chaos - When we are in a state of chaos we need to declutter, clean, simplify and say no to anything that is not necessary. Doing this will help create space and allow you to move out of chaos into the next step.

2. Creative - Space has now been created for ideas. Capture those ideas by writing them down, contemplate, filter and prioritize. Pick 1 or 2 to action later and then transition to the next step.

3. Rest - Take time for yourself, let the ideas percolate and allow synchronicities to happen. Allow gratitude rather than guilt to be present. This is a very important step and is needed to help rejuvenate the mind and body.

4. Action - You are now ready to action your ideas. This is where the magic happens!

If I look at patterns of my own life I can see where I sometimes get derailed and lose some of my motivation. I often go from chaos straight to rest, skipping the creative aspect which then keeps me stuck in rest because I now have nothing new to action and I lack motivation. Many people go from chaos to creative and then straight to action without stopping to rest causing them to burnout and often ending back at chaos.

I'm excited to apply these these principles and recognize where I am at and what needs to happen next. And when chaos reigns and plans get derailed I have a new tool to add to my tool box and help guide me and get me back on track.


Michele Ward

Returning to the Path

It's easy to assume the infamous thought of "That won't happen to me". Anything can throw a person off no matter how solid or how committed we think we are. If you begin to take the situation for granted and fail to uphold the discipline, next thing you know your standing there like a jerk on the side of your path wondering what just happened and a key component has dissipated. A few weeks turns into a few months, a few months turn into a year etc.

This has happened to me and I never thought it would, but it did, and now I need to do something about it. I recognized that a big part of my life took a back seat to priorities that came about and for some reason I was okay with that...at the time anyway. Now I'm not okay with it because my Kung Fu is a big part of my mental and physical well being that gives me that escape, to turn all the other stuff off and take that time for me. I'm not as efficient as I usually am and my patience and tolerance is challenged, as is my physical abilities. This effect has become obvious to myself and others close to me, it's time for a restoration and a quest for balance.

That being said I need to remind myself that it can't be all or nothing. It can't be some intricate plan laid out that spikes and drops and fails to coincide with whatever comes at me. As it's always mentioned sustainability is critical. All or nothing or hammer the drive solely on the plan doesn't work and is not sustainable especially with how my work schedules tend to work out. One day at a time and keep it simple stupid will be my plan for the year of the pig and restore a very important piece of me that has been neglected, but not forgotten.

I can't even really describe how good it felt being back on the mats and working towards the restoration of Kung Fu awesomeness.  I woke up really happy and really surprised I'm not as stiff today as I thought I might be but there is no denying the gears of excellence are a bit rusty and I need a performance upgrade and a good solid review of my forms. This is a good thing.

It can very intimidating walking into the kwoon after a long absence but fortunately for me I was met with warm greetings and a lot of smiling faces, and that was really cool as it humbled me quite a bit to know I was missed and the influence my presence has on people. For that I am very grateful and wish you all a successful year. See you at the kwoon.

Brian Chervenka

Week 49

Week 49.  After 49 weeks of coming up with something to say, I'm not sure there is much left.  There is only so much profound knowledge one can come up with... notice I didn't say there is only so much profanity one can come up with... because that is different, and I have not yet found a limit there.  Believe me I've tested it.

Moving on

Forest Gump's mamma says "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gona get".

An interesting and somewhat fatalistic approach, but there is a ring of truth to it.  You can work hard, eat right, exercise and get smooshed by a bus.  But Man!  Your heart and lungs will be the talk of the morgue!

We are always talking about mastery.  Which basically translates as work hard, do your best and don't settle.  A good approach, but it is still just hedging your bets.  There are always X factors that are beyond our sphere of influence.  By working hard, doing your best, and not settling you are laying the foundation for success.  This definitely increases the chances for success.  But it can't over ride the X factors.

It can, however, help us deal with those X factors when they do come up.  Sometimes stuff happens.  It's what we do about it that can be as defining as what we do to prevent it.  I have witnessed a sense of entitlement, for lack of a better word.  People who "do everything right" and still have a heart attack.  Of course they are  shocked from it happening, but in many cases they go to the "not fair" well.  Hate to break the bubble but life isn't fair.  Doing everything right doesn't guarantee us anything and life doesn't owe us anything.

That is the down side of reality, we have to be grown ups.  Mastery helps us to cope I believe.  Because there has to be a degree of self realization.  To paraphrase - Correction is essential to power and mastery.  You must be able to correct without invalidating one's self. -

Self realization, self correction, self accountability.  These things are essential for success.  These are the things that truly empower a person to practice mastery.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it?  Fine, but how do you find out if it's broke or not?  Self realization.  How do you maintain it?  Self correction.  How do you deal with it in the end? Self accountability.  Not the most fun things, but they make a difference.

Lisa Freitag