I have recently come to the realization that I find myself stressed or frustrated a lot of the time. Upon figuring this out, I have begun to wonder how to relieve myself of these feelings and have also begun to wonder why they have come to me. I guess one way to reduce them is to write in this blog. Maybe I will be able to figure myself out with the help of outside readers. A few reasons I figure for my stress and frustration come from what I feel are missing at the Center at this stage in time while other reasons come from myself.

The first is a sense of responsibility, or a sense of obligation. Maybe in martial morality terms, righteousness? “Righteousness is a way of life. Righteousness means that if there is something you should do, you don’t hesitate to take care of it, and if there is something that you should not do, you don’t get involved with it.”

I feel many times when something has to be done, no one is there to step up to do it. The trash bin is full. The floor is dirty. Something spilled in the refrigerator. There are dishes in the sink that need to be washed, and so on. Well, change it, clean it, wipe it, wash them. Is it that hard?

I understand that these problems always come up when you live with somebody else. Maybe my expectations are higher? I don’t know. I just wonder how I can convince someone that the right thing to do after they eat something is to wash their dishes and put them onto the dish rack, instead of leaving them in the sink for others to take care of. I also wonder if I can persuade a person into feeling that they should restock the toilet paper after they used the last sheet, instead of leaving an empty roll in the bathroom for the next person. I mean, thanks for the cardboard cylinder. I’ll be sure to use it well.

This problem isn’t just within the living aspect of our lives though. It also exists within our training and within our work. Within training: If you use a staff, please put it back. If everyone else is laying out or putting away the mats, please help. If everyone else is training hard and trying to catch up with the schedule, shouldn’t you be too? Within work: If there is a deadline to meet, shouldn’t you work to try to meet it? If the project leader requires something from you, shouldn’t you try to get it to them? I mean, I’m sure these problems exist in the outside world as well, so how do people deal with this? It seems difficult for me and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because we live in a small, isolated society, consisting of only seven people? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to talk to people. When a comment is made to try to better the project, people can take it personally and feel like they have been attacked. How do I deal with this?

Anyways, I guess that with this lack of righteousness, if you want to call it that, has put me into a state of discontent with some of the people here. Sometimes I feel that I cannot trust them, and many times I feel like I am slowly losing respect for them.

What would this Center be without trust and respect? I feel like these two words are extremely important in society, and especially important in a smaller group, such as ours. If I feel like I cannot rely on somebody, have I lost trust in them? Can I ever trust them again? I mean, I can trust that they won’t do as they say. But that’s different, right?

I do not know what the respect level is here, but I feel like it is decreasing slowly between some people, Dr. Yang included. Some people are constantly taking breaks from training, are constantly making excuses for why they cannot do something, or are constantly letting others take the fall for their mistakes. Many of these things I feel are inexcusable, especially because we have rules written out to follow. However, it seems like some people think they are above others and are allowed to disregard these rules.

So again, this ties into trust. Can I trust these people? No, not really. I’m tired of hearing excuses. I’m tired of people lying to my face. Maybe it’s not the best decision, especially in our small group, but I have decided to cut communication with these people, unless it is required and work related. I no longer want to talk to them. I no longer want to listen to them. I no longer want to train with them. If they do not contribute positively to this society (the Center), then I want nothing to do with them. I have lost trust and have lost respect for them. I feel that this is unfortunate. Maybe they will be able to change though, hopefully before it is too late.

Another contribution to my stress/frustration is the amount of work that has been placed upon my shoulders. Many times when something comes up, the first thing I hear is, “Jonathan, can you do this? Jonathan, can you do that?” I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to be assigned things to do. They are good experiences and I am able to learn a lot. However, it is when jobs pile up and begin to build upon each other, that I begin to feel a little stressed. Maybe I should ask people to help me. The only problem is that a lot of the times it is something that requires certain experiences that others may not have. I guess that’s why I recently began to realize that volunteering for jobs might not be the best thing to do. The more I take, the more that pile on, and the more stressed I become. So, I learned to shut up. I learned to not raise my hand. I learned to let others volunteer and try things out. I learned that if someone sees that you are capable of accomplishing something, they will continue to ask you to do similar tasks. I think I learned this the hard way. Projects keep coming my way. I guess I just have to be patient and endure. I have to keep doing these tasks because I don’t feel it’s right to refuse something that has been assigned to me. I’m sure that a lot of people share a similar experience to this. I wonder if anyone is able to give me some advice from their own life experiences.

Finally, one of the biggest things that has been bothering me is the frustration I have towards myself. I seem to feel this way a lot, especially during training. It comes mostly when I feel I am not performing to the best of my ability or when I am trying my hardest to do something but am still unable to do so. Am I aiming too high? Should I not set such high standards for myself? Anyone who has trained or has worked towards something should know this feeling. What do I do? Be patient I guess. It will all come eventually, right?

Anyways, just some late night blabber. Testing tomorrow. I hope all goes well :)

6 thoughts on “Frustrations

  1. Hi Jonathan, Thanks for putting up a blog and giving your readers a glimpse of the hard training (physical, mental, emotional, social, etc.) that you are going through in the 10-year program. I would imagine that it has been extremely challenging for everybody involved! With regards to some of the frustrations that you are describing, I don't claim to be "all-wise and knowing" but perhaps I can offer a few remarks for your contemplation. 1. I don't think that cutting off communication with certain people is a solution to problem(s). In all likelihood, it will make matter worse as time goes on.2. If I'm not mistaken, the Disciple group is finishing (or has finished) the third year. At this rate, are YOU going to be able to live in these circumstances for the next SEVEN years?!3. A person really cannot control what other people do….one can only control his/her own actions. Hopefully by doing so (in a very positive way), he/she can positively impact other people.4. There is a very important teaching in Japanese martial arts: "True victory is victory over oneself".5. I think that you need to pace yourself…you are basically running a 10-year marathon. Ten years is quite a long time…you are making innumerable sacrifices in exchange for deep martial study.6. I would be extremely surprised to see if everybody who started in the 10-year Disciple group actually finishes the program. It may be the case that some of your colleagues have already left due to various reasons. What do YOU really want from this 10-year discipleship study?!7. Kung fu is roughly translated as "skill acquired through hard work and effort". 8. Here is a question (as a thought experiment): What would happen if a disciple from the group (either you or one of your colleagues) finished the 10-year program and at the end of it all, burned-out on martial arts and decided to stop training/teaching after leaving the Center?!Anyways, enough of my rambling. I do wish you (and your colleagues) good luck and continued success in your time at the Center! I look forward to hearing about your experiences as time goes on. =) All the best,Richard M. Low(Aikido Yoshokai, Wing Chun)

  2. Great post and thanks for taking the time.The close quarters, ages, and cultural differences are bound to create strife between you guys. Decreasing communication is not a solution. Backing away for a while can be helpful though. Meanwhile, don't lower your standards. Decide who you want to be and how you want to act in life, and stick to it, even if others around you are not doing their share. In other words, do your best, and aspire to be better. Don't let the strife drag you down and result in doing something out of frustration.About stress: we all face constant stress in this accelerated world, but it is a choice how we internalize it. That relates to regulating the mind, and the spirit. Projects are piled onto to you, because you are reliable and skilled. I agree, it is important to recognize when you're taking on too much, and need to set limits. I am also one who had to learn the hard way how to say NO. Still learning that to this day.Change the channel. Focus on some self-cultivation and don't think for a while about the others' behavior, attitude, or failings. Head down and plow.Many many good times ahead. I mean, wicked pissa times.Take care, DS

  3. there will always be those who work less than you. sometimes there will come an inspirational being who works twice as hard. thats just the way it is. you have high expectations for yourself and will find that your peers and mentors have the same expectations. it is a pain in the ass at times but thats the way it always is. a great leader has to take the brunt and push ahead, sometimes with out so much as a thank you. but you really should not focus on that that is sifu's job. it is important to focus more on the strengths that each person possess and let their weakness fade into the void."When a comment is made to try to better the project, people can take it personally and feel like they have been attacked. "-don't hold back man, people can't stroke each others ego's all of the time. there is lack of progress when people take things personally. you are part of a collective that is working on something larger than yourselves, everyone needs to check the attitude and look at the bigger picture."I have decided to cut communication with these people… I no longer want to talk to them. I no longer want to listen to them. I no longer want to train with them."-this seems like a destructive attitude to have and will only help the relationship deteriorate that much quicker. you have seven years to go and it will not get better by isolating yourself. sounds to me like you guy's need to have it out. put it all on the table and hash things out. you are not monks who have sworn a life of celibacy, kung fu and prayer. some of you have girlfriends and other outside interests so it is imperative that you figure the brotherhood out or else the other side might start to look greener."Maybe I should ask people to help me. The only problem is that a lot of the times it is something that requires certain experiences that others may not have."-asking for help can be very difficult at times. i think that it is important to learn to delegate and enlist your brothers on your projects. learn to direct their strengths in areas that best suit them, or that they could improve upon. there will be a mutual building of respect. not every one has the same strengths but we all have something to contribute. this is especially important to those who lack the "experience" in a certain area. you can't burden yourself with so much, try to keep an eye on the bigger picture. i know that we are often taught to stay in the present and not get to far ahead, but for me, sometimes it helps to look ahead and realize that there is an end to each journey and each chapter. your sifu pushes you guys hard and expects a lot. i like to think of those that came before us. i remember one of you wrote about the visit of your si gong and how he told sifu that he was to nice to you, and this is after an extensive writing of how hard he is on you guys. it puts things into perspective. we live in a time of immense leisure and opportunity and it is easy to let our ego's and desire's cloud our judgement. okay last words. from the i ching: li fire over fire "cling to the power of higher truth.""Quietly, willingly, joyfully cling to what is superior in yourself; cling to the possibility of a positive outcome in the situation that faces you, no matter how unlikely it may seem; cling to the good in others, even when it is obscured by inferior influences"

  4. Thanks for taking the time to do the blog.People eh! Best of luck honest comunication is usually better but there comes a point if people are flouting the rules established then they should be addressed by those that are. Cutting self off probably wont make sense to anyone unless you have openly discussed this with them all.

  5. This is training in the west and/or modern world. Someone who is unable to wash their dish after eating can spout all they want about diligence, training, ethics…it's all talk. That is where your teacher should go in a give a good hard whack on them, if it enlightens them, good, if not that is when you cut these people off. You will never be able to trust them, it is all talk, actions always speak the truth of someone's values.Watanabe

  6. I just wanted to say I read your whole post. it seems I am the only grandmother replying :) As a mother, I certainly CAN relate to your frustrations! I picked up after my children for over two decades even as I was raining them to be self sufficient. Now I live alone and struggle to keep up with my own expectations for myself. I think that is why I came to tai chi just recently, to help me achieve my goal to be the best I can be. I am an older woman and you are a young man, but we have this in common. I wish I had a great word of wisdom for you as an older person, some kind of solution. But these comrades are not bound to obey you as family. They may be great at martial arts, but young men are at their messiest at this stage. That you even notice how teamwork is needed and struggle with the lack of it shows your maturity. I felt the same way, especially as a college student, and as a former Marine living in close quarters with my peers.I agree with the other posters that it is better to communicate where possible, unless that will make matters worse. You can change your attitude and try to do the work cheerfully without being a doormat. Not an easy balance.I do not know Dr. Chang, of course, but I can only guess that he is watching to see who emerges as the most patient, enduring,and compassionate student-leader in the same way our drill instructors did. We had to endure that for nine weeks. But 10 years?! I can barely imagine. How I admire you for even attempting it.I have fallen in love with tai chi, and after watching so many tai chi videos, have a strong feeling that Dr. Chang is my video teacher, and I should do anything I can to help him. One of those things is that I may encourage his students in some small way.I will look forward to seeing how things go for you in the battle of the dirty dishes. If you find a solution, I will be glad to pass it on to the millions of moms who would love to know. ;) Lynne Riday, 59, Nashville TN

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