Ep. 2.9 – Mat Rust, Show Cancelled

Kiree Higa, CJJF Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Photo by Bret Thompsett.

On the day when I let it all go and laughed, something completely shocking and wonderful happened to me as the activities of the day were drawing to a close –

I got my Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

I found Martial Arts in my early 20s; my first practice of Muay Thai, provided a physical outlet balanced by the underlying Buddhist philosophy as taught by our teachers.  I began my Jiu-Jitsu Journey in my late 20s, and BJJ was a God-send and point of reference for all things in my Life.  Within Martial Arts, I have seen significant spaces of time where I’ve not practiced.  Those spaces have not been the best of my years, and with more age and awareness, I’m hopeful I won’t see years away from a martial arts practice as this most recent return has shown me how much I need it.

Receiving my Purple Belt, from someone as decorated and respected in Arte Suave (The Gentle Art) as our Mestre, Professor Aldo Caveirinha, was a huge step in re-committing myself to this Journey in Martial Arts.  His words to me were that I’ve always been loyal and humble, which means a great deal, because I strive to live up to a personal code, which values loyalty as it relates to realness, and humility regardless.

Getting back on the mats over the past year has not been an easy task.  I had some very serious doubts about my ability and if I was any good, concerns about my health having already experienced a few significant injuries, and was in quite a vulnerable mental and emotional space as I was healing in the aftermath.

“Little did he know…”

It still sounds odd to voice but without my Faith, my ‘home team’ to quote That Ninja Kiree (pictured), and Jiu-Jitsu, I don’t know where I’d be.

All of the above saved me.

I was in a very dark space a year ago.  I’m still having aha moments opening me up to how imbalanced and far from my Truth I was in the five years away from training.  Without the reminders that Jiu-Jitsu taught me before my time off the mats coming back, I might still be struggling, or worse.

But Jiu-Jitsu taught me.  It taught me these thoughts verywell:

From Getting Smashed to Flowing with the Go – In Life, you get smashed, don’t fight getting smashed, flow with it, go with it, and most of all, learn from it.

It’s not about how many times you submit someone, it’s about whether or not you submit – You will have to submit.  Time and time again.  Sometimes you’ll have to submit when in a position you’ve already submitted to and thought you learned to avoid.  Submit anyway.

Keep rolling – Did you show up? Then that’s a win. Did you learn? Then that’s a win. Did you win, even if those were the only two wins? Then that’s fun.

And as our Mestre teaches:

Train hard, fight easy. 

Whether on or off the mats, if we are prepared for the battles ahead, we can easily roll with it, because like Life, and this is probably why I love Jiu-Jitsu so much, it’s a Journey.

The Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle has helped my health, overall well-being, and it’s a very valuable part of my Life.  That means even more because of the time I spent away from it.


Note: Read the full Mat Rust series and more Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle articles online at www.freerollmag.com.




Ep. 2.8 – Let Go and Laugh

Blue Sea Waves Behind The Boat

This might be TMI so you’ve been warned.  

Today as I doing my business in the bathroom, last minute business crept in via text message.  All I could do was continue to ‘let go’ since I was doing just that, and laugh at the cosmic joke I found myself in, then start to work on addressing the challenge…

But first, let’s rewind.

My ‘day’ job is Marketing Director for an Arts Company that stages world-class multi-million dollar opera productions.  Technically, the full title of my role is HOT Marketing Director.  I tell that to people to some eyebrow raises like ‘who the eff this guy think him stay be’ followed by ‘I’m paid not to sing’ which brings forth some laughs.

It’s never a dull moment here and workload and responsibilities have increased each season.  My boss seems to dream up new ideas even though I’m fairly certain he does not sleep and our activity peaks in intensity for 8-10 weeks at least 4x a year, and when you work with hundreds or artists (singers, designers, musicians, and more), it can be a bit like coloring with the whole box of crayons, at once.  That can pile up on top of itself when productions are in consecutive months, yet in terms of major campaigns, with dozens of projects and tasks for each, it takes about 8-10 weeks to adequately promote a production.

We open our Season in a few days, which adds another degree of complexity and meh-are-you-for-real, so without lots of descriptive language, in addition to all the colors, it’s been fucking batshit crazy.  In the past week alone, I’ve been yelled at or talked to sternly 5x by 3 stressed different people.  Now on one level of consciousness, that irritates me, but when I can step back and let go, it’s funny, because the question I ask is this:

What mirror am I looking into?

Searching for the learning makes me really look at my own stress and how I process it.

When we closed the first volume of J. Wading Through the Stream, I was about to enter that 8-10 week period, with the heightened cray because the Season opened, in addition to processing the end of my longest relationship, which while both of us are in better places, wasn’t necessarily easy.  In the year plus since, I’ve lost 45 pounds, my bloodwork and blood pressure is all g, and I credit that to again enhancing my spiritual practice further.  Let’s be real, it’s not like I could stop the spiritual quest.  Rather, it’s go even deeper every day because as more presents itself, the challenges of mental-emotional-social can definitely weigh your Brodie down. The only way to balance the scale is to go harder spiritually because God/Aloha/Love is one heck of GAL, who’s always got yo’ back.

Releasing the physical and symbolic weight I was carrying from that experience has certainly helped me travel this period of work cray-os more smoothly but I too, get exhausted, overwhelmed, and all the eh’s from meh to bleh to keh to (whatever consonant-eh fits here).

And I’m there.

I’ve been so there.

The good news is that right about now, or rather as I sat there ‘letting go’ I saw my ego and didn’t care what itw was saying because, eh, what will be, will be, and it was funny to be problem solving in that setting.  It’s interesting for me to watch, all of it, especially what I’m facing personally as I walk through the stages of a new partnership, and look even deeper at all the elements of my Life, putting the pieces together that I might see the whole that much clearer.

The experience of time and the deepening of awareness provides a few reminders aloud with some new subtle a-ha moments:

YOU’RE ON THE JOURNEY – every step of the way!  Just because you think you have addressed something before, doesn’t mean you won’t be taken into a new perspective as those steps continue because…

HEALING IS LIFELONG – that means, it doesn’t stop until the final breath so whatever comes up, no matter if it’s a new way of looking at something old, or an old way of taking in something new, it’s all good, it’s all valid, and it doesn’t stop until…

THE JOURNEY HOME ENDS IN DEATH – until we draw that breath of Shoots Kay Aloha, all the breaths taken before lead us closer to The Creator, with every opportunity to breathe in the Fullness of Love that this Life is really All about.

JUST KEEP BREATHING – Do this because it gets better and better.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, at the very least my Brethren and Sisthren, do you, keep flowing, and always, always, always,

Aloha Harder

Ep. 2.7 – BAM

“Y’all be talkin’ crazy under them IG pictures” ~ Jay-Z, Bam

Hand Love Heart by the Sea

My homie doesn’t like to swear and she always says (in real life and text) the term of endearment: MotherFer!

Or MotherFers! For multiple such cats. That being shared, we can certainly encounter a great deal of B*tch A$$ MotherFers (BAM) along the Journey.

Such is Life…

“You keep saying that.” I’ve been told. LOLOL, I’ve been saying that along with Ajahn Sumedo’s expression:

“Right now, it’s like this.”

When little BAMs on the road show up in our lives, just remember these are little, small blips in the grandness of vast expanse that is Love.  Sometimes they might shout and create uncomfortable circumstances for the world around them but that doesn’t mean we need to fuel them with our attention.

Nor should we fear them.

That also doesn’t mean to allow oneself to be trod upon.  Factoring that in, what should one do.?

First and foremost, turn to prayer because while the situation might not change instantly, a prayer goes a long way in helping to ease the burden of the emotional energy.  It might help you to see the the situation in a new Light and The Creator works in mysterious ways fo’sho.

Next, give yourself a time limit to look at an issue.  Drama is drama is drama and it’s impossible to turn off the drama unless we tune out of it.  Conflict resolution can unfold in a number of ways from addressing an issue and standing your ground to letting it go.  Whatever you choose, do you, because this Journey is yours, not a miserable little BAMs.

And remember, you are in on the cosmic joke. Laughter truly is some of the greatest medicine available. If you need a visual, just picture the BAMs who show up from time to time as little, bald men, who are just really sad, wearing fake smiles or sneers to mask their hurt and insecurity.

In closing, don’t forget that the ego, like the Devil, has no power unless we give it power.

Give that power to yourself and just Love.