Episode #14 Three Ninja Tips For Life

Often times life presents us with unexpected and challenging opportunities. We have two choices: embrace the challenge or walk away. However, if we walk away we might be missing out on an incredible experience that can change the direction of our lives forever. In a good way.

Which is exactly what happened to me when I had the chance to begin training in Ninpo Tai Jutsu. What started as “I’ll take a few classes and quit” eventually resulted in becoming my teacher’s first female black belt.

Honesty, effort, and commitment are the first three traits of the ninja that I learned as a brand new martial arts student. However, these three little words have different practical applications to each and every one of us, both in martial arts training and life in general.

This episode outlines these three tips along with examples on how you can expand on these three ninja traits which you can apply to every single aspect of your life. It also encourages you take the first steps to get you out of your comfort zone, become a leader, a role model, or achieve anything that your heart desires.

I believe there is a black belt in each and every one of us, both literally and figuratively speaking. Download this episode, take those first steps, and unleash your personal power!

Mistakes….Making Them and Moving Along

I hate making mistakes. Unfortunately, I make a lot of them. The good news is, I also learn a lot from each and every mistake I make. It took a long time for me to fully accept and understand that making mistakes are an important part of the learning process. It’s bad enough to make a mistake in private, but none of us want to look silly in public. And I’ve done it more times than I care to admit.

For example, I was late to embrace modern technology. Six years ago the only thing I could do on a computer was to send and receive email. I certainly have come a long way since then, and I am proud to report that I am completely self-taught. Which means I have made a lot of mistakes along the way.

I have unknowingly breached online etiquette, unwittingly looked like a nit wit, and sometimes appeared downright ridiculous as well as unsophisticated. But, I learned a lot. Even when I occasionally fell flat on my face, I always was able to get back up, shake it off (eventually), and move along.

At this point in time, I find myself at a major fork in the road of life, with several outstanding opportunities looming in front of me. All I have to do is step forward and receive them. All I have to do is say “yes.”  But, there’s still that nagging little voice in the back of mind, whispering those dreadful words, “But, what if you fail? What if you make a mistake, or fall flat on your face?” 

I’m tempted to give in to that voice, and to throw in the towel before I even begin. After all, what if I do make a mistake or fall flat on my face? Then I realized that it wouldn’t matter. Of course I will make mistakes–a lot of them. I’m not perfect, and could never hope to be. Nor would I want to be. Because it is through trial and error that we learn. It is through our mistakes that we build character. And it is through falling on our face that we learn how to get up again.

So, I think I’ll just tell that voice in my head to shut up and mind her own business. I have better things to do with my time, and so do you. So, go ahead–make some mistakes, take a few chances, and fall on your face. Remember that every obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow. And do remember to stay positive, and tell the negative voices to mind their own business.

Opportunities to Learn are Everywhere!

One of the greatest rewards of being a Feldenkrais practitioner are the wonderful students you meet along the way. Occasionally, a student becomes a friend and ends up being the teacher. You never know when, or how, it will happen.

A few years ago I worked with a psychotherapist who specialized in Equine Therapy. He loved Feldenkrais (of course), and asked me to teach a workshop to a group of therapists at his ranch. It presented a fabulous opportunity for me as well as for the entire Feldenkrais community. You see, as a practitioner, I feel it is my duty to get out reach out to a variety of different populations and spread the word of ‘Krais,” so to speak.

The workshop was a huge success, and when it was over I began packing up my materials so I could leave. Suddenly my friend announced, “Now we are going to take it to the horses!” I was speechless. When I found my voice I said, “No, no….no! No horses.” I have nothing against horses. As a matter of fact, I love horses. I love the way they look, feel, and even smell. I just don’t have much experience with them, and teaching Awareness Through Movement to a group of them was far beyond my comfort zone.

It was too late. The therapist never even heard my protests, or perhaps he just pretended not to, which is probably more likely. He was already heading to the corral and I had no choice but to follow, especially since he hadn’t paid me yet. Maybe that was part of his strategy.

He reviewed a list of safety practices as I hurried to catch up to him. “Don’t touch the fence; it’s live and you’ll get an electric shock that will knock you on your ass. Don’t walk behind the horses; you’ll get kicked. Most of them are friendly, but watch out for the little one; she bites. And don’t let the big one head butt you; his head alone weighs twice as much as you do. He’ll knock you out.”

The big one must have been listening to all of this, because he lifted his magnificent head and stared at me while I received my marching orders. I tried to avoid eye contact in the hopes that he would ignore me. He didn’t. He slowly walked over to me and lowered his head. Uh-oh, here comes that head butt I was warned about. I closed my eyes and braced myself for the impact.

Instead of the blow I was expecting, this gentle giant lowered his massive head and nudged me a few times. I looked at him and I swear he winked at me with his soft, sweet, intelligent eyes. He seemed to say, “Don’t worry, I’ll show you the way. We’ll do this together.” What a horse! The next two hours were exhilarating, and more fun than I had in a long time. Best of all, I knew I had found a friend for life.

I was heartbroken to learn that my special teacher and sweet friend passed away a few weeks ago. I will always remember that afternoon, and the many lessons he taught me. Teachers come in every size, shape, age, and even species. Opportunities to learn are everywhere. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone, no matter how terrified you are. And sometimes, you have to say good bye to a friend. No matter how much it hurts.