“No matter what accomplishments you achieve somebody helped you.” Althea Gibson
No matter who we are or what we have done there has always been someone or several others who have helped in some way. It may have been as simple as an encouraging word, offering us an insight that got us unstuck on a problem, or a gift of another sort that allowed us to move forward. However given the society that we live in sometimes we forget that we can accomplish nothing without the help of others.
Help comes in so many different ways and lessons learned from unsuspecting teachers. I know that I have learned lessons from the animal world, observing them, reading about their habits have made me realize things that would be difficult to learn from another human. Our help may have come from a personal disability or from knowing someone who has gone through an experience that we have not experienced.
Every moment is a learning moment, and then we can honor our teachers by thinking about our own personal teachers. As we think about them it is appropriate to let them know if possible that you appreciate them even if it is by just speaking about that experience to others. Recounting the value of the teacher out loud to others really firms up the sense of gratitude and happiness for all that you have been given.
For my students, honor your teachers this month with us at BLS, by inviting them to our Teacher Appreciation Week. This is an opportunity for you to say, “Thank you for being my teacher.”
To My Students and Their Families:
This posting is about a note written to me, from someone I respect, a teacher and friend of mine, Tom Callos. I’m including it here because it reveals, I think, the kind of training, advice, and direction that I’m involved with, as a martial arts teacher.
Continue reading “A note from my instructor”
Gratitude is not just a key, it is a magic key, and all you have to do is use it. When you use it all kinds of beauty and wonderful things open up to you to enjoy. It is really simple, but not particularly easy due to all of the distractions and negative attitudes from around us and sometimes in the way we were raised as kids. But all you really need to do is make a commitment to do it, and the magic will be yours.
I have said before in class “just smile”, it will make you feel so good. It is impossible to be negative and positive at the same time. If you have an attitude of gratitude, you will have positive feelings like love, joy, compassion and hope. When you focus on what you are thankful for, fear, anger, and bitterness or envy just seem to melt away, and this without a whole lot of effort.
The reason for this is that gratitude helps us focus on our success and what is right in our life. SMILE, and think about what you are grateful for.
This week we are talking about looking at what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have or worse, what others have that we wish we had. This has been something that I have working on for myself for a while.
There is a quote from Lao Tzu that says, “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
I mentioned to the kids last night in class that every year they see approximately 40,000 commercials on TV, not to mention all the other ways advertisers have of reaching us. All of this is to drive us to want and to buy. In fact 75% of our economy in America is based on consumerism. What the overall effect of that is on us and the world is staggering. That is for another time to discuss, but for now I would suggest that for our own peace of mind that all of us take a moment every day and give thanks for what we have, not concerned about getting something new or better.
If we can teach our kids to think like that we help them to live in harmony with the earth and themselves, creating a peace for them that many in the world do not have today. Now here is a practical way of starting that process. Turn the TV off – Watch less, Do more and spend as little time as possible in the shopping malls.
Over the next few days I will be writing some notes about gratitude and listing some of the things that I am grateful for on a day to day basis. It is very powerful for me to sit and think about what it is that I am grateful for. Especially this is true when I think of all that has been given to me and shared with me.
I am very grateful for my wife, and I am feeling that even more over the last few days. She has been visiting our daughter in California (29th birthday) and I have been here holding down the fort. The first day was very hard and I got very little done. So I am happy that she is on her way home in the morning and I will be very happy to have her around again.
I am also very thankful for all of our students and their parents. It just seems that we have attracted the very kind of people that I enjoy being around. I am thankful for that.
I am going to mention very quickly Mr. Tom Callos. Some of you have heard me speak of him. I will be telling you more about the impact he has had on my life as a person as well as an instructor.
Well there are a couple of ones from me. What are you grateful for? Please leave them in comment for me and come back often as you spend this month of April considering this.
- There are 22 million Americans with diabetes
- 7 million of them do not know it
- 54 million are at risk for developing the disease
- The cost each year here in America – $225 BILLION
Two months ago I was completely clueless when it came to this disease. Oh I had heard of it, but honestly did not know anyone who dealt with it. Or at least I did not think that I did. In fact there were individuals all around me that did. Quietly, without complaint, going about what they did with great courage.
My instructor, Mr. Tom Callos, suggested that we should be teaching our students and the community about this disease. So I started to learn about it and found out that it is manageable, but requires constant attention. That is why we put the program together we talked about earlier and we will be doing the walk with Chris and his family.
Will you join us? I hope you can. In the next few months, together with some of the interested students and adults here at Balanced Life Skills, we will try to create a program and video to do more with the education of others about this disease. In the meantime please look at the Defeat Diabetes Foundation’s website for more information, including a screening test. As Andy Mandell says, “The only thing worse than finding out you have diabetes, IS NOT FINDING OUT.”
Balanced Life Skills is committed to teaching self defense beyond the physical. We are working on curriculum with others to address stress, anger management, environmental issues, apathy, consumption, and of course Teaching Peace.