My heart is at once full and split wide open. Herb Caen wrote about the beauty of San Francisco and its powerful effects on people...i.e., if someone disappears, he or she is likely in San Francisco. The city is gorgeous and colorful. My house is my sanctuary up above the city. Here, everything gives off positive vibes. It is impossible not to feel joy looking out across the Bay, stepping out onto the deck on a sunny morning, seeing a sleeping Pudge lying on the kitchen floor.
I have nowhere else to claim, not that I am deserving of claiming this wonderful place. Yet, this is my home, this is where a significant piece of my heart resides. But, this is also the place where I've experienced so much hurt and disappointment, pain and loneliness. For those reasons, and because I love the ocean, the mountains, warm weather, and boxing, I miss O'ahu. It is not a hard place to miss. That tiny island holds some of my very best friends. The island is where I fell in love with diving and mixed martial arts, where I got lost in mountains, and where I finally proved to myself that I might actually be able to make a difference to someone.
Lately, there have been a lot of weddings on the island, births as well. My good friends, Jeff and Sujin just welcomed a new baby boy, Wes, to their family. I was able to visit the baby on his second day on earth! I want to be brave and hope, I want to feel that I deserve the kind of joy and happiness that comes from finding someone who can be my teammate in life. One of my best teachers told me that rarely does anyone get anything he/she was not brave enough to hope for. I spent years hoping for something that was always just a little bit out of reach. I broke myself again and again as I threw myself into a world of disappointment. I wasn't enough, perhaps. We weren't right. It was more love and pain than anyone should experience in such a short time.
But after a year of rebuilding myself and my life, I think it might be time. Time to dream and hope and reach out. Maybe I do deserve what everyone else has. Maybe I am not so flawed that I need to be relegated to a life of solitude, save for my four-legged friends. Maybe it is time now. At 32, I am learning how to fight, how to hit hard, how to center my life around what is at once violent and beautiful. Martial arts for me is about finding peace in a world of chaos. It is about learning how to be strong, how to fight, how to defend myself, learning all of these things to deflect violent encounters. I want to hit hard, I want to kick and punch and push my body to physical exhaustion. This is what gives me a clear head, a respect for my body and all it can accomplish, and the ability to fight the anxiety and panic that is always on the verge of resurfacing.
From the islands, from boxing, from diving in the ocean and swimming among the fish, I have learned that life is not about making a lot of money, or giving myself over to a career, and/or a life of conventionality. Life is about finding happiness or at least peace. It is about being able to wake up in the morning without a heavy heart. It is about not needing anything at all to be happy except a view of the ocean and the understanding that the process is what should be valued rather than the result.
It took years for me to learn these simple things.