How Martial Arts can help one center themselves during Holiday Stress

Well, here we are at the end of 2012.  With Christmas and New Years around the corner, most of us are feeling the stress of the Holidays.  I remember going to Wal Mart in October and they already had Christmas items on display.  Nothing liking bating the trap of the consumer.  Somehow, we all slip and bite on the hook.

Holidays do not have to be that stressful, but we as humans fall into the trap that we "must' or "have to" meet the needs of everyone by buying gifts we cannot afford, going to parties we care nothing about and simply "playing the game."  What would happen if we changed our paradigm and made the Holidays "work" for us?  Okay, I hear the grumbling and the questioning already.  "I can't, We always did it this way, it is expected, I can't afford it", but what is one to do, my spouse or kids expect it."  So with that said we fall victim to the capital aspect of the season and fail to reap the true meaning of the Holidays Season.  

Christmas has many meanings for different people and for those who are of other faiths, Jewish, Buddhist and Taoists, and yes true Muslims--not terroists.  However, we all have one common thread that runs through all of us, Christmas and the Holidays are a common ground for Good Will and Peace no matter who or what we are.  Then why do we forget the "simple and true" meaning and fall for the capitalistic trap.  One answer is we want to fit in.  As a psychotherapist I challenge my clients to "be yourself" because as Lao Tzu writes in the Tao Te Ching, If we try to please others, we lose ourselves.

So with all that said, what does this have to do with with the Martial Arts?  EVERYTHING!!  It has to do with ones own self-actualization and finding ones own center and not trying to please the world, family or anyone else.  In the martial arts, fighting is only 10% of what we teach.  The true Masters from old focused more on personal growth and integrity that following the crowd.  It is only recently, since the Olympics, that Martial Arts have watered down their true meaning to chase a belt, trophy or some rank that really dosen't matter in a real street fight or personal self-actualization. 

So how does this affect a serious believer that the martial arts advance character as society floods us with capitalism?  First, one must "center" oneself and ask a personal question, "What does all this mean to me, and are the gifts and stress really going to matter after the Holidays."  The real meaning is a personla thing and it is about time that people and human nature follow the "Way" be tht Christian, Buddhist or Taoist, Jewish or Muslim and be "real" with themselves.  The preaent we buy and give to people usually ends up in some junk room or storage anyway.  If one had to give a "real" gift, what would one really give?

First gift to give is ones "time."  When one gives their time to someone, it is a gift and a moment that one can never get back, even if we are wronged. Next, as martial artists or practitioniers of other arts as meditation or Yoga, we can center ourselves and find "balance" that keeps us from "biting on the hook of guilt placed upon us by families or society."  It really is okay to break your own trail and make your own way.  I have to say, this took a long time to get here and it caused some ruckus, but after the dust settled, my life has been richer for it and holidays have become more "personally" sacred.

In the New year, may I sugguest the following helps:

The Portable Therapist by Susanna McMahon, PhD

In the Dojo by Dave Lowry

 Living the Martial Way by Forrest Morgan

Mai also suggest:

Eight Chakras Yoga in Prairieville run by Amy Pickholtz.

Enjoy the Hoiiday this year without the tension and pressure of outside forces.  Make this Holiday "Meaningful for You and those who truly love you."  No competition; no fight.

in the words of Saint Francis, "Pax et Bonum"  Peace and all Good.

Happy Holidays and Training,

Master Ken Ducote, Owner and Master Instructor of Black Dragon Martial Arts, Prairieville, LA.

Licensed Psychotherapist- Louisiana and Colorado

Members of the Tactical Hapkido Alliance:

Affiliates of ChunJiDo International