We hope to share with you a very personal and very important aspect of this trip.
For the most part, we tell friends that we are going on a world tour of martial arts. And yes, it is that of course, but that is also the surface translation of something that is for us, much deeper.
8 years ago, Ingo and Yee Han were strangers on opposite sides of the globe with absolutely no connection to each other whatsoever. Ingo was lonely, squeezing out the entire expression of himself into a needle-hole of dullness. He was living with a pressing weight of dread that told him his life really wasn’t what it was supposed to be. Yee Han was scatter-brained, purposeless, and rather frightened at the enormity of actually having to grow up and take responsibility for her life.
The martial arts journey transformed us. So we knew, and promised each other from the very beginning: that in taking on a martial arts journey around the world, we were dedicating ourselves to profound growth. And that such growth would not be painless, would not be without work, and would require from us our full and utter commitment.
For the last month, we have been in Switzerland. We had originally viewed this time as a time of repose, to set new habits. We didn’t think this would be a very important or very interesting period of time… and of course we were proved wrong. The battle has been intense.
Because of our backgrounds, we had ways of escape that took us away from those parts of our lives that were incomplete. This realisation that something was missing is not a conscious one, because we are instructed so repeatedly and authoritatively throughout life, by Those who Know Better i.e. Society, Parents, Unwelcome Relatives and even Friends, on what our lives are supposed to be, and what we are supposed to have. So it takes a while to find out on your own that your life really is individual, and that a formula that worked for someone else most likely wouldn’t work for you too. (I daresay that quite a lot of people also have the escapes without the realisation.)
Anyway, these modes of escape are called Addictions. We each had our own, corresponding with the life that we had.
Here’s the brutal truth, and it is painful to state. Ingo was addicted to social chemical pleasures like smoking and drinking; and mindless consumption of internet banality. Yee Han was addicted to passivity, expressed through a chronic laziness, fantasy indulgence, and avoidance of responsibility.
These addictions were our well-trod escape routes from the holes in our lives. Nature abhors a vacuum; if something is incomplete, we create a thing to fill the hole. And since the thing we create is hardly ever a satisfactory substitute for the actual thing we lack, it is invariably a thing created to numb your longing for that thing. It is a mode of forgetting – and it must be done over, and over, and over again, every day, to make you really forget. The stronger the longing and the greater the absence, the stronger the addiction.
Our stories of why these addictions came about, and how we are fighting them… in the next post.