My kids had their first degree karate black belt test the other night.
While it was very exciting to witness their accomplishments (7 years in the making) along with all of their classmates, what stuck with me the most was not the kata they performed, or the adrenaline raising weapon maneuvers.
It was an advice that one of the judges (Sensei Bobby) said at the end of the test.
“Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.”
Maybe it’s a Zen koan, or a karate thing, I am not sure. What really resonated with me is that idea of staying ready.
It occurred to me that staying ready is a conscious action.
Like karate, staying ready for anything is a practice that does not necessarily have an end. Especially if they want to keep up with and master the skills, these kids have to keep practicing to stay ready.
Practicing requires consciousness and mindfulness.
I was so impressed at the focus that these kids had on the mat. It was clear to me that the more mindful and focused they were, the better they performed.
Let’s practice to stay ready – in eating as in living – so that we don’t have to get ready.
Because we will always be ready.
It will strengthen our consciousness and our ability to live life intentionally — no black belt required.