This is some of the greatest advice I’ve heard in a while. But I didn’t get it from the dojo.
I found it in a doctor’s office.
Last month I got sick. Took a couple days off work. Went to the doctor. Got medicine. Was mostly finished with it, and then went back to work, bow, wife, life.
3 weeks later, got sick again. Didn’t go to the doctor. Was kind of OK. Then all of a sudden, it turned into an ear infection.
Searing pain for one night, then infectious mucous all in my head and left ear in the wake. I went to the doctor and rested for a week. Got medicine, getting better, but time to get back to work during a time I really can’t take off and not fully healed. I’m also headed back to the States for a couple weeks in a couple weeks.
I asked my doctor if I went back to my normal life would the ear infection plunge again and cause other problems.
“You need to rest. This ear infection happened because the body was not receiving enough rest. With the immune system low, this is what happened.
You need to rest your body so that it can heal. That means no exercise, no anything but relaxing as much as possible.”
And then the great realization came,
“You need to rest your heart. Rest your mind. Don’t worry about this sickness. Don’t think about anything as much as possible. Rest your body. Rest your heart.”
At that moment I felt as if it was something I’ve never heard before.
Rest your heart.
I thought about my life. All this time away from the bow is eating me up inside. All I want is to get back, and yet what I need to do is stay away. It’s hard, but with the real situation of this sickness along with the giant monsters of work and travel looming before me, this is just what needs to happen.
So for now, I’ll rest my heart.
But what about before all of this happened? This isn’t something new for me to think about, but something that has been happening all along, I just didn’t notice it.
Looking at my practice, and my life, it’s all go go go, all action, all progress.
I’m always running on empty, racing against the clock, and trying to do more.
And so my health fails … and I get the feeling I’m missing something very important with respect to the bow.
All technique, all hits, all progress, supreme effort to receive a grand applause because I am such a brilliant archer.
This is false.
It’s only half the equation, and with that alone it will wither and die.
I’ve wanted success, and so just expected the drugs (technique) to work.
My practice has been sick, because I’ve never taken the time to rest my heart.
But what if I could change?
What if I could walk into the dojo relaxed and balanced?
What if I could shoot from my real center, that still pool residing in the depths of my belly?
What if I could shoot like a round hill, which wasn’t the tallest mountain in the world?
What if I could shoot like a curved tree in the woods, which
wasn’t the straightest in the world?
What if I could accept the rising and falling of the sun no matter my desire?
What if I could truly understand that one day this will all be over?
I have a test coming up in September, and am done worrying that I will not have enough time to train before then,
because I just may be learning the greatest lesson of my kyudo training:
Rest your heart.