Friday, February 27, 2009

A Bit Too Much

Yep, it's been too long since I've written here. Life has been complicated to an unusual degree the last couple of months, which I find is making it very difficult to reflect on my training in any meaningful way just now beyond just being grateful I have Tang Soo Do as an outlet for stress and a brief respite from a lot of complicated stuff that is making my personal life something of a minefield.

Mixed in with a lot of job-stress (hardly unique to me, obviously) there's one very specific direct issue: my oldest friend, the godfather of my son and one of the most "significant" people in my life-as-story (i.e. important, if not a daily part of my life), is currently hospitalized (and has been since before Christmas) with permanent liver dysfunction and alcoholic dementia following his second near-fatal nosedive into a bottomless vodka bottle in the past 18 months. No idea how this will turn out, but a positive outcome is unlikely. As I am half a country away I have little or no ability to help his family and friends in coping with the situation.

Nothing else to really say, honestly. Whereas I used to get really dramatically emotional about things like this, instead I've got an oddly sort of resigned sadness about the whole mess that tends to sort of sneak up on me. I find myself sighing quite often. I imagine a more profound reaction is waiting in the wings for a chance to manifest, but I have no idea how or when this will occur. Over the past few years I've come to realize that my mind copes with emotional pain and stress in some fairly convoluted ways, and I have to just sort of be aware that these events and feelings might be making themselves manifest in other places in my life and behavior that might not be quite so apparently connected. I'm a bit too quick to anger right now, a bit too harsh in my choices of words and a bit too sensitive to things that are said to me.

I'm also shutting down a bit -- sort of closing people out and feeling a need to just ... go inside. Not talking as much, or at least as openly, about myself as I usually do. Relying on the basic "Everything's great!" sort of front around people I'm not comfortable sharing more personal stuff with, but also not really opening up and releasing what I feel with those I am. Partly I think that I feel like if I talk about this too much it will become too real, too big to manage in my head, too heavy to just shoulder and move forward. Partly I'm sure it's just that I don't want to deal with it too much, because frankly I know it'll end in tears and I just don't want to go there yet. It'll feel too much like mourning.

So basically, I'm just sort of trudging forward, not looking left or right, trying to get things done, eyes fixed on the middle-distance, not looking too far ahead right now. Clearly, this isn't exactly a state of mind that is conducive to quiet reflection or introspection of anything other than the most melancholy sort. Best not to dwell.

But I will say that I am so, so happy that we will soon be starting our weekly Dan Test training sessions. Two hours every Sunday dedicated specifically to preparing for my upcoming Dan test (May 30th). It's not that I don't feel like I will be ready for the test without the additional training -- quite the opposite, actually. I'm sure my performance on test day will benefit from additional training and focus, but I am confident I could muddle through, even if the test were held next week. Might have to retest on a bunch of stuff, but I'd get through it.

Mostly it's that I'm just really looking forward to being able to spend a couple of hours a week with peers focusing single-mindedly on just one thing, just one task that is facing me in the near future. There's an interesting way that the world kind of shrinks when I'm training, where things become so simple and specific. Just do the line drills. Just do the hyungs. Just keep your focus and do your one steps and wrist grabs and the rest.

Just get through this.

And I'll be damned if the appeal of this isn't pretty obvious, right now.

Mood: Less Than Optimal
Now Playing: Neko Case, "Middle Cyclone"


Susan LaGrande said...

Dear Gregg - I can see that the 8 Key Concepts are serving you well at this difficult time: Courage (you need it to face the impending loss of a friend), Concentration (you need it to keep your grief from taking over your life), Endurance (you need it to keep going even when you're exhausted), Honesty (you need it to face the feelings you are experiencing), Humility (you need it to allow others to comfort you), Control of Power (you need it to recognize your own powerlessness in this situation), Tension/Relaxation (you need it to minimize daily stress), and Speed Control (you need to avoid rushing off blindly in useless directions).

I would add one more necessary factor - brotherhood - which you will be cultivating in your Sunday Prep sessions. Good for you.

Gregg P. said...

Precisely, Susan. I can't express adequately just how much I feel the true benefits of Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan at this time. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you are doing well.