The summer of 1983 was a long one. When you're 9 years old, months of waiting seem like lifetimes. It wasn't that I wanted to go back to school- well, not school school...
I was waiting for another kind of school to open...
Earlier that year, a shiny new strip mall opened up in my suburban stomping grounds, and in that shiny new strip mall was school. Not a school, but an academy. And not just any academy, but a black belt academy.
I loved action films as a kid, especially martial arts movies, and watched my fair share of things I probably shouldn't have at that age, so when I saw the sign for a bona fide black belt academy go up just a few miles from my home, I was elated to say the least.
But it was June, and they wouldn't officially open until September. It was...excruciating...
I passed my time watching action flicks, playing jedis and ninjas in the fields, and counting the days off on my Norman Rockwell calendar. Truthfully, I'm not sure how I did it. My mom was incredibly patient in so many ways.
When the big day arrived, I immersed myself in practice, and by the time I was 12, I had achieved a temporary black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
I didn't keep it, but that is a story of self-sabotage for another time. See, even at that young age I had a knack for the art of holding back at the critical moment. It would take me years to unwind that pattern in myself.
It was an amazing journey that I wouldn't trade for anything. But do you want to know what I remember most?
It wasn't my friends, though they were wonderful.
It wasn't the teachers, though I still remember their names, and all of the encouragement I received.
It wasn't the forms and patterns we learned. Truth be told, I can't recall a single one.
It's the Code I remember most; the Oath.
Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Indomitable spirit.
We said it at every practice as we bowed to the teacher and to one another.
That's what really stuck with me. And as I look back on my life, the most difficult times were when I violated my own code, mistreating others, betraying myself, and willfully ignoring the Truths I already knew.
Having our own personal code is essential for living a happy, productive, and peaceful life. I call mine The Mystic's Code.
Hey, who said you couldn't have fun with it, right?
Do you have a code of your own?
If not, I invite you to give it some thought and write one out for yourself. Your code will give you incredible clarity, and simplify difficult decisions.
A word to the wise...keep it simple.
The Mystic Next Door