Monday, August 18, 2008

Time For A Change.

A lot of things have happened lately that have caused me to do some soul searching. I'm not going into the incidents in question because they are rather personal and, for the people reading this, the result is the more important part.

Looking back, I've changed a lot over the last several years, and I don't like all of those changes. Granted, some of them are positive, but there are more than a few that, well, aren't.

Many of the people who have actually gotten to know me (as opposed to just being acquainted with me) after I turned 21 have known me as a somewhat philosophical swordsman and occasional teacher who, on the whole, walks on his paths alone and fairly quietly.

I wasn't always like that. I used to laugh a lot more often and I wasn't alone on my travels by any stretch.

There was actually a group of us, as frightening as that may be for some people who know me now. In fact, we were more like an odd extended family instead of a group of friends. =]

We were from all over the world - various parts of the US, Europe, Asia, etc.

Our faiths were as diverse as our countries of origin. There were members of Native American medicine societies, a couple of practitioners of Santeria, a Taoist or two, and a few others.

Not all of us trained in martial arts, but many of us did so quite seriously; there was often sparring of one type or another when any of us got together. My favorite practice sessions were probably on the beach, with the waves crashing in the background (or, against me when some of them tried to use the water to their advantage since, at the time, my water tactics *ahem* needed refining lol).

It wasn't all fighting and combat practice with us though. I will admit that that did bring us closer and we certainly had each other's backs when things went badly. However, there was much more to us than that.

We discussed philosophy, pondered the nature of things, shared the details of our lives (both the good and bad), and always tried to be there for each other if we were needed. Sometimes, that meant showing up in person, but frequently, it was done through other means (phone, etc) because of the geography issues.

Like a lot of extended families, it was a rare thing to get us all together in one place. In fact, I think it only happened a few times and one of those was a funeral. It was a lot more common for just a few of us to get together at a time.

It was probably a good thing for the sanity of the people around us that we didn't all get together often. Not to mention that strange things had the habit of happening around any of us, let alone all of us. =]

They had a lot of influence on me over the years. For one, they helped me tremendously in the self confidence department and got me to keep pushing forward no matter how strange things got in my life.

If it wasn't for them, I doubt that I'd be much like I am now (take that however you want heh).

Sadly, sometimes things end. We may not think too much of it at the time, but instead, find years later that we need those things we once had.

Some of them are dead now, and the rest I've fallen out of touch with for one reason or another. The big reason for losing touch with the last of them was when an important relationship ended for me in 2001 and I basically cut myself off from almost everyone that I knew so that I could find myself and start over.

Like most things in life, it was a trade off. I grew stronger on my own in some ways, and weaker in others. Even though I know that it was something I had to do, I regret it because I really do miss the fellowship and sometimes feel as though I lost some of the best parts of myself in the deal.

Having said all of that, I'll get to the results of my soul searching.

I miss my old friends, and while I'll probably never get to see them again, I have resolved to try and re-learn the things that they taught me. Though I'm not going to forget the things I've learned since then, I'm going to try to be more like my old self from now on and proceed with confidence.

It's time to step out of the shadows and actually get on with things instead of just going through the motions.

It will undoubtedly be an uphill struggle, but I think it will be well worth it.

My friends, wherever you are, I just want to say thank you.

Be well

Current mood: hopeful
Current music: Fall Out Boy - Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year