Fortifying Friday – Sad

candle-1239891_640I haven’t forgotten about Frisky Friday.

I just haven’t felt up to it for quite some time and my life has been very busy between work placement and traveling for martial arts.

The world is so reactive right now and it makes me sad.

People want to address problems by ignoring the root cause. Again. I don’t know how many times they need to see the same thing happen before they realize their emotions are clouding their judgment on what actually works.

What I’ve been saying for days now is the same as what the experts, who have been working to make things better since Columbine, have been saying.

And I’ve seen it in action.

There was a kid in my school that made a hit list. Many of the people I know were on it. So many have forgotten this incident for some reason. Or maybe they’re just ashamed for making him feel so bad he wanted to kill people. I wasn’t on the list because I wasn’t mean to him. It really wasn’t hard not to be.

What happened with it?

When the list was discovered, the boy was immediately removed from our school and sent away to get help. Eventually, he finished his education in a different city. Instead of ignoring the issue, corrective action was taken immediately and everyone was kept safe. The boy grew into a man and never killed anyone.

Today, he’s a relatively normal geeky guy.

This whole thing is killing me inside because I want everyone to have their rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness protected and so many want to take away rights to put things in place that have proven time and again not to solve the problems. How can you propose solutions that ignore so many of the facts?

Those of us that see beyond one element of this problem are treated as if we are heartless monsters for suggesting the tool is just a symptom. My heart hurts so much right now. I just want these people to stop falling through the cracks. I want everyone to live their lives fully and freely. I don’t want to hear about more children dying because some kid had mental health issues, no father, no friends, etc.

It’s not my country. I can’t do anything about policy. All I can do is help people see the broader picture. When you give up a right, you don’t get it back. Many gun laws are in place and the people hired to enforce them didn’t do their jobs.

I’m just a woman who has noticed the pattern repeat time and again, so I can understand you may think little of my opinion on this matter. But how about the opinion of an expert who does this for a living, Clint Fiore?

Sorry for being a downer tonight.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Reactivity

sword

Image created using Bitmoji

The martial arts community that I’m part of is truly wonderful. I mean, there are a lot of us in the sword arts that have a different way of looking at the world. Perhaps it is because we practice a more spiritual art than one that is more focused on sport or hurting others. We know sharp swords can cause great harm and I think that makes us think more before we decide to take an action that may be irreversible.

We’re told to win without ever drawing the sword.

That’s not to say we’re all the same. Some of us are less reactive about the things we see in the news than others. Some are just as prone to reacting from an emotional place no matter how much training they undertake to stay calm in moments of distress. I don’t know why that is, but I find it interesting.

I’m one of the calm ones. Why? Because the same patterns have continued to repeat throughout my lifetime. I’ve seen it so many times that I’m not shocked when anything happens anymore. I see people get upset and in a couple of months they forget again until the next time. They share memes to that effect, yet they still do it anyway.

What do I do? How am I able to stay calm? I ask myself what I can personally do to effect positive change. If I can’t do anything to make a good change happen, I go do something where I can effect change and leave that other thing up to the people who are better suited than I am to bring about a solution.

I can’t stop other countries from waging war on each other or get the US to seriously consider a change to its gun laws without quashing any citizen’s right to protect itself against the threat of government tyranny. I can write stories that might empower someone else who is in a better position to develop a solution to those problems.

I can also clean up my home, so that I may live in a better environment that will help ensure I can pay attention to my studies and my loved ones in order to be my best self.

In October, I lost a friend to a fentanyl overdose. Instead of wasting my time on social media fighting with people who refuse to understand the issue, I wrote a short play that features a hockey mom who gets hurt and finds herself turning to street drugs after the medical system lets her down no matter how many times she asks for help. It’s going to be performed later this year and who knows where it may go after that. It may go nowhere or it may help someone. The point is that I’m using the skill I have spent a lot of time honing to try and make a difference.

What are you uniquely skilled at? Maybe you make jewelery? Why not come up with a special line that raises funds for a cause you’re passionate about? You’re pissed off about a government policy? Join a political party to try and change it. You’re concerned about the environment? Be like that kid who developed a system to take trash out of the ocean.

As martial artists, we aren’t supposed to react. We’re supposed to see multiple possibilities and choose the best option for the situation that we already saw coming.

Get off Facebook and take action where you can. You’ll feel better and may actually help someone. Otherwise, you’re just annoying your friends who probably already agree there’s a problem that needs solving.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Burnt

I’m feeling a little burnt out this week. The recommended treatment for that is human connection, according to the internet.

It’s a good thing next week is reading week and I’m off to hang with friends and engross myself in martial arts.

I need a breather.

First, I need to see if I have any laundry that needs to be done. I also need to clean out my car, pack, and charge my booster pack.

I should also try to get some homework done, but I asked for an extension. It’s not something I do ever, but I really need to have a moment. I worked my butt off throughout the strike, but I’m just having trouble this week.

Maybe I’ll be okay once I get some sleep.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Love

Love is a complicated thing that often seems as though it should be far simpler.

Tonight, I saw a play whose main theme was love. It’s called Little Boxes and it’s playing at Arts Court as part of The Undercurrents Festival. We were fortunate to see the actors afterwards and learn about the writing of it.

For me, it was cathartic. The play features a co-dependent and abusive relationship. I’m glad I read about it before I saw it because there were some parts that hit a little close to home.

So why was it cathartic? Well, in my teen years, I was a theatre kid. In fact, I was working as stage crew in my spare time when I wasn’t acting or crewing a school production. I even did summer theatre. Then it wasn’t long before I stopped doing theatre altogether and busied myself with a boyfriend who later became my husband.

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my divorce. Sitting in that theatre tonight, I realized just how much I’ve missed it. I also realized that I’ve come full circle and am finally living the life I was always meant to live.

I’m looking forward to my short play being performed later this year. I’m excited to see what happens with my longer play as well.

I’m enjoying writing my film and have a couple of leads on where to send it when it’s done.

I also got over my fear of The Rideau Centre tonight!

This weekend, I’m off to visit friends and train hard at a 2-day iaido seminar. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s reading week when I return.

I’m feeling pretty blessed right now ❤

And that’s how life’s river flows today.

R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress

thoughtfulOne of the reasons I’m able to get so much done in a week without losing my mind is that I make time for some self-care.

If, like me, you’re feeling like there is a ton of stuff to manage in your life right now, there are many things you can do for even just 10 minutes that will help you recharge and give you that extra bit you need to tackle it all.

Here is a list of 20 healthy ways to cope with stress:

1. Yoga and/or meditation
2. Stress balls
3. Exercise/Working out (running, jogging, tennis, CrossFit, dancing, etc)
4. Martial arts
5. Human Contact (Hugs, Sex)
6. Reading
7. Sipping tea
8. Massage (whether professional or trading with a friend)
9. Laughing and Breathing
10. Knitting
11. Listening to music
12. Church
13. Hanging with a friend
14. Journaling
15. Playing with pets (toddlers can work too)
16. Creating something (painting, writing, carving, sewing, etc)
17. Taking a hot bath
18. A nature walk
19. Having an action plan
20. Getting help from a counselor

My top seven are in bold.

Martial arts puts me in a different place where I have to focus on my surroundings and forget about the stresses of the day.

Reading can transport you to another world while disconnecting you from technology. That matters because you won’t have notifications or social media drama in your face adding to the mountain of stress.

Laughing and breathing are such simple things. If you take a deep breath in and hold it for 6 seconds before letting it go and repeat that 3 or more times, you’ll start feeling better.

Music speaks to my soul in a way that nothing else does. The right music can change everything.

Journaling helps even if the reason you’re stressed is because you have a crap ton of things to write. Why? It lets you get some of those other thoughts out of your head, so you can focus on the things you need to get done.

I love going on nature walks in warmer weather. There is something soothing about getting away from walls, technology, and other man-made things.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – What’s Our Business?

thoughtfulI’ve been thinking about war a lot lately.

It’s a common precept that Western countries go across the world to fight battles in order to change another country’s government. The idea there being that the only way for people to want to stay in their country is if the living conditions improve.

But should we be doing this? Does anyone even ask themselves this or do they simply believe their country’s government is better and therefore that is what all other countries should have in place?

Is it not extremely vain to think Eastern countries should have a more Western style government?

People say they’re doing it to make the world a better place. But are they actually doing this so we make the whole world more Western? If so, is it so we understand them better?

Are we doing it to seize power?

Western countries developed their governments, in part, through having their own civil wars. In Canada, we had uprisings in Ontario and Quebec before they were named as such. I think most people are well aware of the American Civil War.

But then I think that if most saw their neighbour beating his wife, they’d do something about it. That would either be stepping in or reporting it to the authorities. But unless the authorities catch him doing it and the wife wants to press charges, the police can only do so much about the situation until she’s ready to make it stop.

So is it better then to let the people of these war torn countries rise up and create their own governments?

I don’t know what the answer is, but I think it’s important to think about these things.

I’m generally in favour in only helping when asked. Situations of this type are way more complex than most of us can imagine, in my opinion.  I mean, it’s hard to understand my classmates sometimes, so how can I think I know what’s best for an entire country’s worth of people?

And that’s how it flows today.
R~

Merry Monday – A Full Weekend

merry_monday

Image created using Bit Strips.

So much happened since Friday that it’s hard to know where to start.

My close female friends and I traveled to Etobicoke on Friday. We went out to the bar near our hotel and got to have food and drinks with several of the Canadian senseis.

Two of us challenged ni dan level, that is 2nd level black. We were successful! We’ll next be eligible for grading in 2 years. I’m in no rush. There were some mistakes I made that I’ll talk about more later in the week.

Most of my other friends passed too. There were a couple of fails. I know how that feels having been there last year. The options for dealing with it are pretty much keep training and working hard or quit. It’s hard to learn to move passed it and get back onto the floor. I think my feelings about it were worse than any my sensei could have thrown at me. Sometimes you just aren’t ready for something in life and it’s nothing to get bent out of shape about. If you care about something, you learn to just go with the flow.

The worst part of grading is waiting to grade. I just wanted to get to the drinking part that happens after. I didn’t drink much the night before as I didn’t want to feel like crap despite senseis joking that grading hungover is traditional.

There was much celebration after which including a key lime sake collins that my friend brought. Our room turned into the party room for a bit. There was also some political stuff going on that didn’t involve me. I was thankful I could just drink and give out hugs as my week had its own drama I had just got passed.

I didn’t do as much homework as I intended on the second day as I got into taking video of higher level people doing their kata. I did solidify what my movie’s theme is and I think I’ll talk about that tomorrow though I’m in Star Wars mode and just want to marathon them before the next episode comes out.

Anyway, time for class.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Life: The Battle

sword

Image created using Bitmoji

I struggled all day thinking about what to write. This is partly because yesterday was a full day with some distressing moments.

I had a presentation to do in the morning that wasn’t quite finished as sometimes happens with group work projects. My legs were shaking as I read my parts, but I’ve been told I kept my composure. That’s good because the alternative was to give into the jelly feeling in my legs and collapse onto the floor. See how much I love presentations?

In my second class we had to pitch a reality TV show and my group was obsessed with eggs, so I was doubtful anything would come of the discussion, but we pulled it together and presented a decent idea for a show that even the teacher got into. Phew.

I was tired from the night before.

By the time I got home from school, it was 6:45 PM and martial arts was at 8:00 PM. I couldn’t grab a quick bite and leave though. A post in one of the Facebook groups I administer had been flagged. In it, a woman was talking about suicide. Her message was a message and I wondered briefly if she was on something. Then I reported it to Facebook and called 911 in an attempt to get connected to the police in California. When I did get through to California, they couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t get an address for the woman. I ended up having to scour her Facebook for anything I could to see if someone can find her and get her help. I don’t know yet today if my efforts were helpful. The police told me I had done everything I could. I had been diligent. That didn’t make me feel better, but I went to martial arts.

It was the last practice before grading this upcoming weekend. I couldn’t get through the whole thing. I got a headache from not having anything to eat. Sensei said there will be things we all need to fix after grading.

When I got home, I made some nachos and tried to do homework. I didn’t get far. I still had a headache after eating, so I took a shower. It lessened some. I fought through a small assignment and went to bed.

I’m still tired today and worried about the woman as I work on today’s to-do list.

I actually made it to school early this morning, but then I ran into an ex on campus…

I think I fixed up a group assignment. I sent what I had to my partner. Hopefully it’s not bad?

I need to work on my play after I get some other things handled.

I’ve made significant progress on lengthening the straps on my fancy martial arts pants. I’ll have to finish the straps tomorrow before I iron them and pack my things for the weekend.

I’m off to put my laundry in the dryer, hang my gear to dry, and make a late supper.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Crazy Busy Life

So, I definitely meant to post something yesterday. It didn’t happen. When I got up, I didn’t have anything to say. Later, when I did, I fell asleep. Between school and martial arts, I was exhausted. 
I’m glad I managed to make it to iaido yesterday. Swinging my sword about was exactly what I needed. It’s been a tough week. I learned a former member of my high school drama club, who became a sweet and beautiful woman, died suddenly due to a suspected Fentanyl overdose. And my s.o. and I decided to take a break for now. We’re both too busy to be there for each other at this time, so despite how we feel about each other, we’re just doing the friend thing for now. All of that sucks.

It looks like everything is in order for the seminar this weekend. I’m looking forward to training and hanging with iaido folks. I’m happy the weather is getting a little more seasonal. That’ll make training better. Some big things have happened in the iai world in Canada as one of our main sensei has decided to retire. This has meant changes to the grading panel and I don’t know what else yet, but it’s exciting. I need to decide if I’m going to challenge nidan rank again. If I do, I know I won’t do the seminar before it. It made me extra nervous and I want to go in feeling confident. 

 Class was tiring but also really fun yesterday. We grouped up as if in a writers room and came up with TV show ideas for our network. Once we found the idea the upper management liked, we had a ball coming up with storylines. I don’t know if we’ll be continuing that, but we wanted to actually write the show after. It was awkward at first trying to feel out the new group members, but it wasn’t too long before we found a rhythym and got things going. 

I have a meeting before school today, but the person I’m meeting seems to be running late…

Off to start my day.

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~

Merry Monday – Decisions

Some decisions are easy like stopping off at Wal-Mart to buy deodorant when you’re running early for class and are pretty sure you forgot to put some on this morning. Having some in your locker is handy anyway and if you need something else you’ve been meaning to pick up, you might as well grab that too.
Other decisions we put off for various reasons. Sometimes it’s hope that things will change or maybe we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. And sometimes we don’t want to come off as insensitive, heartless, or selfish. Maybe we just don’t want to admit some harsh truths to ourselves. 

All this to say that I had to admit to myself that something wasn’t working and put and end to it.  I’m a little sad about it, but ultimately I think it’ll lead to happier days overall. 

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~