My daughter Laura and grandson, Jonathan, earned their black belts in Taekwondo last month! Their journey has been a long one and with it, has come amazing growth and development for each, as well as a special bond that I’m sure will be treasured for years to come!
You may be interested in checking out her blog at http://www.taekwondospirit.com. She is a physical therapist and lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, and my darling grandkids, Jonathan and Danielle.
In addition, my daughter has published her first book:
Living, Healing and Taekwondo.
Laura, I am so very proud of you and love you beyond measure. I am proud to be your mom and see the person you have become. It is with great pride that I share the introduction to your book.
I thought about writing this book a few days before I was scheduled for a procedure to have a lump removed from my upper arm. In other words, in case I died on the table by some freak accident, I wanted my kids to have my version of the secrets to living, wanted them to know that life has meaning and purpose and I wanted them to know my stories. Well, I never did get around to making that book happen in the four days before surgery, but since I did make it out alive I thought I would give it a try.
I have always been excited about life and felt I wanted to motivate others to be excited about living it with passion. This is one of my biggest strengths. I have always felt this way but was limited by fear. The stories you are about to read include the things I learned that allowed me to heal and transform into a true expression of myself, of joy and of love. They are stories of my passions and my sorrows. I studied books, practiced awareness, reflected and wrote about my experiences and relationships, and listened to many kinds of teachers, all of which have been critical to healing. In the last several years a few special teachers helped me organize and metabolize all the nuggets of my life into a path that has created a new possibility for living. I know I am meant to share it.
I have learned to practice present moment awareness and it has been a gift. Like you, I want happiness, I want love, I want wealth, health and success, and I want all these things for my family too. I want us to have a life that is lived passionately and joyfully in each of its moments. Something was preventing me from having this kind of life. My life felt difficult and tight and painful at times. I was stuck in fear. This was the kind of fear that made me feel small, constrained, hopeless and frustrated. It paralyzed me. I was in the middle of a really great life, and fear kept me from happiness.
My whole life has been about overcoming this kind of fear. Like many, I felt better in my comfort zone. Why risk when you can play it safe? Staying safe was costing me my health and my joy and that cost became too high. I was exhausted and unhappy. I followed the rules (everyone else’s), didn’t upset anybody, never spoke up, never said no and started burning myself out. Somewhere along the line I had lost my voice and that was taking a toll on me physically and mentally.
As I worked to heal and understand and peel the layers of old conditioned reactions and fear off, I began to wake up and feel more alive. I had to figure out who I truly was and why she was on the planet and why that mattered. I had to find a voice and learn to use it. I found the passions that lit me up, and then began pursuing those passions every day in some small way. I had to forgive and learn about love. I started taking some taekwondo lessons and learned how to fight (as well as get in kick ass shape). I healed with acupuncture, myofascial release, and workshops on communication. I healed in the presence of friends and teachers who listened. Ultimately I learned how to do something with my fear instead of being paralyzed by it.
Every time I managed to overcome my fear and take action I felt physically lighter, stronger, faster and could speak from my heart. I noticed everything around me and was able to center myself in the moment which made my response to the world feel alive and joyful. I was able to detach from the outcome and see things as just what was, not good or bad. I was able to feel fear, the physical reality of it in my body, the thoughts that invaded my mind, and act and speak anyway. This was huge.
The surge of creative energy that I have had as a result of waking up and peeling off the layers has been the kind that will change things in a big way.
There are people who have had to deal with much more severe trauma than I have ever had to. I think about them a lot. I hope that they find healers to guide them. I hope they find the courage and reach out. I hope they find their taekwondo. I think part of my reason for being is to help give people another idea of healing. All lives are a work in progress and yours and mine are no different. Perfection is not the goal. Here is a peek into how I do this life, and keep doing it, moment by moment, living, healing and kicking my way through.
As I stood in the spare room folding laundry one Saturday morning in July of 2007 I had the usual to do list running through my head. I was still perspiring from my morning run during which my multitasking brain had taken over. Along with figuring out my family’s life schedule for the week I was fairly certain I had also figured out world peace. My son came quietly into the room having just woken up rubbing his eyes and ducked under the T-shirt I was folding to wrap his arms around my waist and bury his head under my arm.
How lucky I was that I remembered to stop what I was doing (both physically and mentally) and hug back, feeling his hot sleepy forehead against my side. Clearing my mind of the many things that had cluttered it just a moment before and really feeling that hug. Giving enough squeeze back that he knew I was “listening.” I didn’t let go until he was ready. We should all say good morning like that.
This was a precious moment. They are all precious. The stories you are about to read describe the journey that helped me to live each moment as precious. This is my taekwondo.