I had the great fortune of attending a seminar this weekend lead by Sensei FariborzAzhakh at Team Karate Centers. It was a weekend long seminar focusing on how to build a Successful Martial Arts Studio. I have studied under Sensei Fariborz for years. Some of what I heard was new to me and some I had heard before, but it was all relative and always good to be reminded. One of the lessons that stood out to me and a great reminder was that of balance and building a strong foundation for life. This is not a new concept and has been told for many years in different ways but here is my take on it.
Maintaining balance is critical to living a joyful life. To me living a joyful life is different than being happy. Being happy is a moment in time. It is how I feel at that given moment about that event that is happening. Being joyful is a state of mind that encompasses my mind, body and spirit no matter what is happening. In order to maintain joyfulness, one needs balance. Balance of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. If you can imagine a square. A square has for equal sides. Picture the left side being physical, the right side mental, the bottom emotional and the top spiritual.
The physical side is what we do to stay physically healthy. We eat right, take on physical activity and get restful sleep. The mental side are my thoughts and is wear I carry my beliefs, desires, values and goals. The emotional side is reflective of my experiences that create my feelings. The feelings of happiness, sadness, and anger as an example. And the spiritual side is the connection to an energy. To some this might be a religious reference and others more scientific. One might refer to Budha or Jesus and others nature or the energy of the universe. Whatever it is, it is a connection to something greater than self.
Our goal is to have each side equal. However, as perfectly imperfect human beings, this can be very challenging. But if I do as I was taught and start with the end in mind, I can develop a game plan to follow. If the goal is to live a joyful life. I know that in order to do that I must have a balanced foundation. The next step is to break the foundation down into the four bodies – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. For each body I can create goals and steps to achieve those goals. A physical goal might be tolose weight. I might create a healthy eating plan and each week meal prep to better insure I follow through with the plan. For mental, I write out how I want to be seen through the eyes of my children. What assets I value in myself and what areas I might want to change. For emotional, I might want to take steps to let go of resentments and focus on the things I can change versus things I cannot. To develop a stronger spiritual foundation maybe I learn to meditate and pray. Whatever the goal may be is completely personal.
Perfectly adhering to these goals and objectives I find to be impossible. It is not doing them perfectly that counts. It is practicing them that is the key. Some days I may focus more heavily on my spiritual needs and other days the physical. Whatever the case may be, if I have a written foundation for life and I review it on a regular basis, I can adjust as needed to stay in balance.

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