My sifu, Grandmaster Wong, is highly quotable. If you’re signed up to receive these blog posts, then you’re receiving them in a neat little bulletin format with a different one of his quotes each week (though I might re-feature ones that I feel are poignant or just plain cool). The title of this week’s blog post is another one of his quotes that I love, “every day is your birthday.” I actually just sat down to post a completely different blog post, but I was inspired and this is what poured out.
I just turned 41 yesterday and I can’t help but contemplate this quote. I’m the type of person who pauses to reflect in the moments where we mark time, and a birthday is a perfect time for that. While the major milestone of my 40th birthday is behind me, I was too busy that day closing on our house, signing a million documents and shoveling a million acorns (welcome to adulthood) to have the bandwidth to reflect back on my life. Things are in a little neater order this year, allowing me time to do that.
Looking back at where I was ten years ago, four years into my Shaolin training, I felt a thousand miles from where I was when I first began- definitely stronger, healthier, and happier, though with significant room left to grow in all of those areas. From where I sit now, it feels a million miles beyond where I was back then. Sure, I’ve grown a few gray hairs since then and my smile lines have gotten deeper, but I continue to enjoy flowing health, strength, and happiness that I never knew possible ten years ago. A dear friend of mine once said when speaking about the benefits of the Shaolin Arts, “every day of my life just keeps getting better and better.”
One of the beautiful things about developing and deepening mental clarity is that you begin to see and to solidify over time the fact that you are ultimately in control of your own joy and happiness. You start to see how the world happens for you, not to you, and that you can do anything you want with it. Yep, I’m even talking about the challenges. Armed with that knowledge, you then start each day a bigger and brighter version of yourself. So, by extension, every day is in fact, your birthday!
I’m forever grateful for the Shaolin Arts and how they have shaped and continue to shape me. Each birthday passes better than the last as I continue to train, and as you continue to train too. So, here’s to another revolution around the sun. Happy birthday to all of us!