Originally published on 1/1/15
Ten years ago, I was attending a martial arts seminar and is the tradition, we were asked to “take a knee” while the instructor demonstrated. The room was crowded, and I was frustrated by the sea of taller people blocking my view. I craned my neck, shifted left and right. No luck. My own teacher and mentor was nearby. I leaned in and issued a hushed, “I can’t see…” His clear reply? “Then move.” Time stood still for me. Move? I considered. Seems like a small thing, but it wasn’t. I didn’t want to be rude, and the room was full of people. I felt awkward; I didn’t want to call attention to myself. He looked at me, waiting. I stood up, walked to a better location, took a knee and enjoyed my improved perspective.
The most important personal safety message I’ll ever receive.
The more I considered, the further it unfolded. Uncomfortable? Move. Don’t have what you need? Move. The population at large will not organize themselves to ensure that we have the perfect view. Sometimes we need to stand all on our own. Take chances. Real life risks. MOVE.
As a woman, this is not how I was raised. My mother and grandmother modeled self-sacrifice. Theirs were stationary lives. In no way sedentary, but stationary all the same.
How often do we stay where we are, choosing forced contentment above risk, no matter how small? Because we aren’t certain that the view will be better. Or someone might not like the place we’ve moved to. Because it would be wrong to inconvenience someone, make them uncomfortable. Better to sacrifice ourselves.
Certainly, some moves are easier than others. Some line themselves up in a handy, linear manner. All it takes is the willingness to stand up. That seminal day, moving didn’t require me to leave the seminar. All it required was a new perspective--a change within myself. But even when the stakes are higher, the core is the same. Assess the situation. Figure out what you need. Create it. Move.