Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Bamboo plant survived!

I was worried about how my Bamboo plant would handle being in such cold temperatures for days since my furnace had broken down.

It did extremely well. See?

What does this have to do with karate, you may ask? I will answer.

This beautiful plant was given to me by my former karate students. It had been thriving in my home, and bringing beauty, good memories, and joy to me everyday.

Here is an interesting, almost prophetic, thing that happened concerning this plant. On the morning that I received the registered letter I was working in a freezing kitchen, and at the same time, I was distracted by the furnace repairman. Suddenly there was a loud crash coming in the area of the Bamboo plant. It seems that one of the pots/pans hanging from the shelf above the plant had been knocked off of it's hook, and it had fallen straight down cutting off the leaves of the third bamboo stalk. Thankfully the plant was fine. It was just missing it's third set of leaves on the shortest stalk. ( You can see that in the picture.)

I felt a pang of dismay because in Japanese tradition, I knew that 3 meant "fullness", and "happiness". Here I was with what would constitute the equivalent of 2 1/2. I would have to wait until the 3rd stalk regrows it's leaves to bring it back to it's balance.

Then, I opened the registered letter, and suddenly the symbolizm of the bamboo plant's misfortune echoed in my mind. I could see that I had been cut off from the old, and now the challenge was to grow into the new. However, it's not like the old will disappear. It is a big part of what I have become, and who I will be. I have learned what I want, how I think, and what I value in Martial arts, and I can see these values in the simple bamboo plant. Bamboo are immensely strong, and yet flexible. They thrive on as little as water for their home. They can be useful in SO many ways: you can make musical instruments, cloths, food, weapons, tools, buildings, etc. etc. out of them. From my latest experience, it also looks like Bamboo can take a beating, be thrown into a freezer for days, and still be strong, and grow. I want to be like my bamboo stalks.

That plant has now become such a potent symbol to me of all of my experiences in Martial arts, and if ever I need to choose an image to represent me I would chose a stylized image of 3 bamboo stalks with two filled with leaves, and one barren but ready to grow.

1 comment:

Steve said...