Friday, January 23, 2009
Brown Belt Girl
from left: Sensei Eric, Sensei Orren (my first instructor), ME, Master Black (sans uniform -- he changed before I asked for a photo), and Sensei Doug (my current instructor)
I keep hearing the Van Morrison song in my head. ("Brown Eyed Girl") I have a brown eyed girl -- my daughter. I have a brown eyed son, too. And now I have a brown belt.
Three years ago I had no idea that today I would be a third-degree brown belt in karate. Three years ago I was early in the fight for my life. I was recovering from neurosurgery and taking daily chemotherapy and going in for radiation treatments five days a week. I was also preparing for the worst and hoping for the best in a grim situation.
During this evening's belt test Master Black talked about preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. He said and quoted so many blog-worthy things, I wished I could have had a pen and paper with me. And his wisdom came from experience, because he is a real survivor.
One of my favorites was "I do not fear today, because I have seen yesterday."
He also taught us about perseverence. About listening and being aware of our surroundings. About not panicking. He taught us to believe and to visualize what we want to achieve. He put us through a grueling yet inspiring three hour test. I kept thinking that my body was hating the experience, but "I" wasn't my body. "I" was savoring every minute of the experience, so grateful for what I was capable of doing.
I tearfully accepted my brown belt and the congratulations of Master Black and my instructors past and present. I kept marveling, because this was not expected of me three years ago.
It wasn't expected. But it was possible. And I believed it enough to give it my best shot.