Happy New Year!
Well 2020 has certainly been a year like no other! As we step into 2021, we do so inspired by the strength and tenacity and human spirit displayed in our Tri-City students in what might be one of the most challenging years of training experienced. The uncertainty, disappointments, and challenges were faced by a group of people who rose to meet the challenges and embrace new ways of training and new ways of connecting.
We don’t have to be brave and strong all the time,but the willingness to do our best with what we have in the moment can not only help us to attain new heights and achieve our goals, but can build a resilience and tenacity to face any hardship that comes our way. Taking small steps in a direction of purpose can help us experience peace and happiness.
Bruce Lee once said, “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind."
In his book, Moving Toward Stillness, Dave Lowry writes about the essence of the Bamboo and inspires readers to investigate its attributes:
“...Bend like the bamboo. Be flexible; give before the onslaught of force in the same way the long slender boughs of that giant grass flex in the wind or under a load of snow. Remain supple and spring back against oppression as do the bamboo’s stalks. [...] I planted a stand of yellow-groove bamboo in my yard… heavy flakes were falling. By afternoon the branches of my bamboo had grown a thick white coat of snow. They were bending, lowering beneath their load. Completely distracted from my writing chores, I brewed a pot of tea and sat… If you have never seen it, snow-burdened bamboo doesn’t just sag with the extra weight; it twists over alarmingly. It goes down as if it is suddenly developing the advanced symptoms of some kind of plant arthritis. Smaller stalks will bend double, their tips arching right over into U shapes that touch the ground. Just when I began to doubt the plants’ pliancy, just when I was ready to rush out and knock the snow off to save the plants from snapping, one length of bamboo gave a convulsive shudder. It shrugged off the snow, then, after staggering and waving back and forth, it was upright again.
All winter I watched the bamboo I’d planted as it flexed under successive snowfalls and then flung off the weight. Spring came and more shoots erupted from the cold, black ground. [...] I started digging at the base of one of the clumps. And that is when I learned there is a whole lot more to the pliant strength of the bamboo than what you can see in its snow-covered branches. Bamboo, propagates itself by rhizomes, long fibrous roots that spread out horizontally a foot or so underground. These roots expand and intertwine, forming a netlike web. The rhizomes are incredibly tough.
As I noted, the yielding bamboo is a familiar image that can be found in all kinds of analogies from all over. But flexibility is only half of the bamboo’s strength. The stalks of bamboo are supple, true. They can bend into incredible curves without breaking. Yet without the stout, deeply entrenched roots below ground, the stalks would topple with the slightest resistance. People who know only of the bending and flexibility of this unique plant are not aware of the rigidity that makes real pliancy possible. With the bamboo, flexibility is possible because of the strong, tough roots at the base of the plant.
The bamboo’s strength: flexibility, a true kind of suppleness that allows one to bend and spring back against opposition, is merely an illusion unless there are firm and solid roots to anchor it.”
When we reflect on the flexibility of our students who were able to adapt to new and often challenging ways of training (or living), we can recognize that they have a ‘strength’ beneath the surface, in their root systems, that includes connection and alignment of purpose.
Moving into 2021, we do so from a place of inspiration. We are inspired by those who have risen when they have fallen; those who have given when they have had nothing to give; those who have shown up even when they felt no strength to do so; those who have created beauty with very little, and those who have moved forward with hearts of courage in the face of uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and hardship.
May we remember that 2020 has helped us to build strength and resilience and may we celebrate the dawning of a new year with renewed hope. May we connect as families and communities to work towards our goals as we focus on becoming better versions of ourselves.
Wishing you good health, much happiness, great peace, prosperity, and much love. Happy New Year!