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Opinion:
Every Moment Is An Opportunity

By Christopher Caile

The greatest of all the truly wonderful gifts that life gives us is freedom in each new moment. Unfortunately most people never recognize they have this gift. Instead they are too focused on something else – mesmerized by habit, occupied by responsibility or driven by their emotions or wants.

But if you can break through, become awake to the possibilities, these moments can become opportunities -- something we can take advantage of, a space within which we can change course, do something a little different or change our whole life radically, or just enjoy and experience something more totally.

This is not easy. We live life in a sort of auto-pilot, trying to cope with our job, family and home, social life and recreation, all compressed into too few hours. With the free time we do have, we often just click on the TV, or do something else mindless to occupy our mind. And when we do think, too often we let our mind get stuck in replying events of the past, or get so focused on the future, that we miss the present.

In short, we get so occupied within life and diversion that we aren’t conscious and alert to what we could be doing. We miss our opportunities.

Well great, you say to yourself. But what does it mean for me? How can I use this?

First, you must recognize the power of inertia -- the power of habit to pull you along the same path you so well recognize from your many trips before. There you are in the middle of something, such as a conversation with a friend or family member. It is so easy to tune them out and fill in the blanks with your own thoughts. But, you can also truly listen. It's more difficult because you must consciously take charge and focus externally. But truly listening has rewards, not only in your enhanced knowledge, but from family members who feels closer, co-workers who appreciate your understanding and acquaintances who appreciate the attention. You gain a lot.

Another example: You are taking a martial arts class. After a while you get tired, and your muscles ache. Your mind screams, stop it, let up. In this situation, and in so many countless similar ones, it is easy to let yourself give up, or lose focused attention. But if you do that extra sit up, sink down a little lower in that uncomfortable stance, execute a technique a little harder, or whatever the extra focused effort requires -- your conscious action represents a victory of spirit, a victory that if repeated many times will spill over into improvement in other endeavors. But first you must take advantage of the opportunities.

In short, you have to be there and be awake to the moment. If you are, you can change your life and yourself, a little at a time -- if you take advantage of the opportunity.

These opportunities always exist. You could at any moment just walk out and get on a plane and start a new life. Some people have done this, but for most such impulsiveness is impractical. But smaller, yet significant opportunities exist for all of us. You can use moments to take stock and ask of your inner self what is important and what you truly want and need in life. You can change your schedule a little, take a class, start a hobby or work towards something new, do something with more focus and effort -- a succession of little opportunities pulled together toward some goal. This momentum might play out into a new occupation, moving, changing a relationship, or starting something you always wanted to try, etc.

Most of us, however, have not taken advantage of our opportunities. But the great thing is that life always gives us new ones. New opportunities will always be there for you. But you have to break the cycle of auto-pilot, self-absorption and inertia first. Then you can size your moments and realize the freedom of mind and action that life always presents anew to us.

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About the Author:

Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.


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