I felt it before I saw it. I didn’t need to see it to know what it was. The blood spurting from my nose told me everything I needed to know.
I caught his fist cleanly in the center of my nose. The small bones underneath were cracked. Before the blood even hit the floor, I knew it wouldn’t heal right.
I saw him pull back his fist, terror in his eyes. That part confused me. I’m the one bleeding, why is he afraid?
Then I heard it. Laughing.
My laughing. My smiling, too. I was laughing with blood running down my face, into my mouth.
This was fun.
The most fun I’d had in months, actually. I’m not the best fighter to ever live, but I love to fight.
I was sparring in a dojo filled with people who were like blood but not blood. I was having fun because someone had finally become strong enough to make me bleed.
The rule was, “Hit as hard as you want to be hit.” Someone finally wanted me to hit them hard. Put what we’d learned to the test.
We studied a blend of Shotokan, Kempo, and Tae Kwon Do. Unlike most dojos, it wasn’t like daycare with exercise – it was an old school dojo.
The walls were bare cinder blocks, not even painted. The floor was bare concrete with three old, loose tiles sliding around on grout that was barely there. There was an old stereo in one corner, a box full of worn out gear in the other.
Just you and the work. Nothing else.
By the time I was 7, I was doing 250 push ups every Monday. We did slightly less on Tuesday and Thursday.
Monday was heavy training and kata. Tuesday was either training and technique or training and sparring. Thursday was whatever we didn’t do Tuesday.
There was never an easy day.
I was a skinny kid with a big head. A big target. By the time a fellow student (who I outranked) broke my nose, I was 12.
In those 5 years, I had become the star pupil. I was the highest ranking non-black belt.
If you were too young, you weren’t allowed to take the Black Belt test because you probably wouldn’t survive it. You weren’t allowed beyond Blue Belt if you were too young to handle weapons.
I was a Blue Belt ready for advancement when I stopped going to The Dojo. That was only my third belt, though.
I skipped several belts, only taking belt tests two times. They wouldn’t do an entire test for a single student – they gave the test to everyone at once. As a result, I had to wait every time I was ready.
I hate waiting, but I had to learn patience. I had to learn how to be patiently impatient.
Instead of resting on my laurels while the rest of the students caught up, I tried to advance to an even higher level.
That lesson is one of many that has made me who I am today. I have been patiently impatient for a long time now.
In 7 days, I emerge from The Mist.
Exactly 51 weeks ago, I was sitting on a lawn chair with a new laptop in front of me. The night sky carried the scent of the sea to my nostrils. I could hear party boats in the distance.
I was in the process of securing this domain, becoming owner of Business and Bullets. I’d been planning this moment for over a year.
I’m terrible with technology, and couldn’t have set up this blog without BADNET. Hell, I didn’t know what a blog was until a couple of years ago.
I couldn’t see The Mist yet, but I began to feel it wash over me in that night air. The Mist enveloped me.
The Mist is the cradle of Mystery.
Mystery in the old sense of the word, not the new.
You can’t see it, but it is there. It is something that exists but does not exist, all at the same time.
The Mist is the cradle of Mystery. It enveloped me as I made this transition.
My reality expanded. I began a journey I wasn’t consciously aware of, but I subconsciously knew it.
At the same time my reality expanded, my presence diminished.
When you enter the world of the creator, your reality expands. Possibilities become endless. You are then met with an unexpected result. Every Yin carries the seed of Yang.
Your reality becomes much larger, so the space you take up in this reality becomes smaller. So small, in fact, that you cease to exist.
You become nothing, nowhere. You become The Mist. Your path has become the path of The Fool.
The Fool’s Journey is the journey of Humanity.
The Journey of The Fool is very deep, very profound, and very human. Today, you only need to know a piece of it.
The first half of The Fool’s journey is an outward one. He enters the world and must learn to navigate it. Along the way, he makes the acquaintance of many powerful allies.
These allies show him the way, for he is but a Fool in the beginning. We all are.
The more time passes, the more he travels, the more he learns. Slowly, he becomes more than The Fool he once was.
The Fool experiences life: the power of brotherhood, the stability of tradition, the intoxication of love and companionship, the strength of self-mastery, the search for answers and hidden meanings, the vision of this meaning and its realization.
Finally, he comes to Death. But Death isn’t the end of his journey. Death is only the beginning of the next journey.
The Death is not a physical death, but the death of his former self. He isn’t actually dying – quite the opposite.
The Fool comes alive and leaves The Mist.
For The Fool to enter the next journey, he must leave behind his former self. He must kill the old self, he must leave the mist.
This is where I find myself today. This is what I have awaited with impatient patience.
51 weeks have passed. For 51 weeks, I have staggered my way through The Mist.
The Mist is clearing, and I can now see the path I walk.
The Mist only begins to clear thanks to the lessons learned. Learned from the people The Fool has met while in The Mist.
Some of you have been with me since I first felt it swallow me. Some of you haven’t.
I’m grateful for you. All of you.
We will discuss this journey another time. Likely when The Mist returns, as it always does.
That’s the thing about The Fool’s Journey – it is never over. It isn’t a linear story, but a circular one.
All truths are circles.