When I was a kid, my best friend Ralph and I got into a fight.
Not an argument, but a real old fashioned fist fight.
In the 1970’s it wasn’t as uncommon as it is today.
We played outside almost all day. No video games. No computers. No cell phones. Just bikes, balls, rocks, skateboards, and a whole lot of imagination.
I don’t remember what started our fight, but I’m guessing it had to do with basketball, football, or baseball and on a hot summer day in the Ohio Valley tempers can flare.
What I do remember vividly was that I lost that fight. Ralph was quite a bit bigger than me and he got on top of me and just pounded on my chest as I totally freaked out and cried for help, but no one came to my rescue. It was one of the worst memories of my childhood. The feeling of helplessness. Despair.
Although Ralph and I were back friends again the next day, that memory has never left me.
Last year, much to my dismay, I had a flashback of that traumatic memory as I found myself with a very large man on my chest suffocating the life out of me.
Another fight with Ralph? LOL.
No, it was my first week at Gracie Cincinnati Jiu Jitsu and I was learning to survive what’s called “top mount”. That’s when your opponent takes a dominating position and keeps you controlled on the bottom.
I FREAKED OUT!
Not outwardly, but inwardly, I flashed back to the Ralph fight and felt the same feelings experienced so many years go. Jiu Jitsu wasn’t going to be all that easy—I had some demons to exorcise.
So many of us have these demons.
Moments when we failed. Feeling helpless and hopeless. Despair.
Unfortunately, it’s part of life.
Fighting, turns out, is unavoidable.
Fighting for respect. For your career. For love. Freedom. Fighting for your health.
This morning I started reading a new book by Dave Asprey called “Smarter Not Harder, The Biohackers Guide to Getting the Body and Mind You Want.”
The introduction resonated with me.
Dave shared a concept called the laziness principle which, in essence, is the idea that our body and mind is designed to deal with outward stress in the most efficient way possible. As we go through stress we return to something the Buddhists call equanimity.
Equanimity is the state in which you can remain in control of yourself and be perfectly composed no matter what is happening around you.
Getting to and staying in equanimity is the highest goal of a fighter. (You)
No matter the circumstance you have the ability to make a decision to keep it together or like me FREAK OUT while someone holds you down and beats on your chest.
That decision comes from one of two frames of mind.
Fear says freak out.
Love says, God’s got my back, I’ll get through this a better person.