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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

ishi no ue nimo sannen

You may be thinking I am blogging while drinking. I promise, I am not. I also have not taken up Asian languages. A girl only has so much time and so many talents. Its taking me a while to get here but I know I am talented. Professionally and personally. Both areas have plenty of room for growth. Life would be boring if that were not the case.

Ishi no ue nimo sannen is the Japanese proverb which loosely translate to "nothing of value comes without effort." Literally it translates to sit patiently on a rock for three years. Meaning that the longer you sit on the rock the likelier you are to reach perseverance. This is opposite to the slightly less elegant American proverb of "shit or get off the pot." So, which is the proverb to follow. Is it situational? Do you sit on the rock for three years when it comes time to decide on a paint color for the foyer? Or what to make for dinner? Or where to go on vacation? I guess at the end of the day how decisions are made is personal. Paint colors, dinner, and vacation, in my opinion, are not hard decisions. Orange, Seafood, and Santorini.

Decision making in general isn't hard for me. When I worked in the clinical inpatient arena in a critical care setting I didn't have the luxury to sit on a rock for three years. Decisions had to made and these decisions were life and death based. The decisions were hard and complex. Some were based on science and medicine. Some were based on best practices. Some were based on intuition and simply doing the right thing.

How you develop the ability to make decisions can be based on many factors. Your upbringing, life experiences, personality, religion, cultural, song lyrics, we all have our own unique process. Our own moral compass. Our own version of the two-step. We quick, quick, slow, slow, our way around life. Sometimes we trip up the steps. Sometimes we change the rhythm. Sometimes we fall flat on our ass. Hard. Embarrassing. Yearbook making fall. Imagine if adulthood came with a yearbook? I guess Instagram or Facebook fill that void. What superlatives would our peers be dishing out? Most likely to succeed, class clown, most likely to fall flat on their ass? Some of these high school projections may have come true, some people thank their lucky stars their 18 year old antics stayed on the pages of the yearbook. We made the decision to act like an adult. Well, most of us.

We never know when life is going to hand us the hard or easy decisions. Rarely do we end up with a true binary decision. Sure there are plenty of conditional statements; if i over indulge in ice cream then I will need to run extra miles. There are always tentacles that stem from our decisions wrapping around us. What we don't always know are these tentacles there for a hug or to strangle us. Perhaps if we spent more time sitting on rocks we'd end up with stronger hugs. That internal fortitude which is one of the most powerful things we can possess. We'd be wrapped in confidence and courage knowledge that we made the best decision. There are over 1 billion hits on google to educate you on how to make the "right decision." When did decision making need to involve a search engine? What happened to internal fortitude?

Retired professional boxer Andre Ward once said, "I don't need to get knocked down to know the fortitude that I have in me." How many of us can relate to Mr. Ward? How many of us can't? Fortitude can be applied to many areas of our lives. Are you an athlete working through an injury? Perhaps you are writing the next great American novel. Physical and mental fortitude make or break us. Mental fortitude is developed by harnessing skills and developing habits. There are also over 1 billion goggle hits for mental fortitude.

I am starting to sense a pattern that people spend more time googling decision making and fortitude than we do practicing it. Or working towards harnessing these skills. I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. That's no secret. This dedication to therapy has helped provide me with the skills to regain my fortitude. My ability to harness the skills needed to make decisions based on courage and confidence. Instead of weakness and insecurities. These decisions are monumental in nature. This isn't weighing the pros and cons of extra dessert.

We meet people throughout life who help define who we are. Some individuals are family, some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are colleagues, some are mentors, some are just meant to be there. It has been said that fortitude is a five dollar word for courage and bravery. All of these people and their influence whether solicited or not contribute to your five dollars. It is up to you however to put forth the majority of the valuation.

When I write it is not in article format. I am not taking the time to address the needs of my audience or minimize the barrier to entry. I simply write. I write for me. I add to my courage and bravery to overcoming my setbacks by entertaining all of you. Some of you contribute to my five dollars. I may use five dollar words and concepts on the regular however I know I am not quite to five dollar status. And I am perfectly okay with that. I am good with resting at $3.75 these days.

Going through what I have been through has not been easy. Its been a challenging, depressing, anxious, suffocating, draining, miserable, rock bottom, suicidal, floundering, confusing, life altering, chaotic, tilt a whirl kind of experience. Its the worst case of whiplash you could have.

Those 12 adjectives are only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty I haven't shared or haven't seen myself. I can promise you I am not trying to unearth everything that is below the surface. I am hoping my actions and my therapeutic work provide me the skills to never discover the ugliness that is left. The pain that is best left where it lies. The pain that helps encourage growth and strength. The pain the reminds you what self sabotage and destruction can bring. A beautifully tragic reminder of where you lost yourself yet at the same time found your voice. A voice that will continue to grow as time evolves.

Now it is time to start working on my next set of adjectives. Truly put pen to paper or in my case finger to key and figure things out. Push through the cacophony noise and errors and have some fun. Provide the enthusiasm that I am known for. I have this delightful capability of being high strung and charming all in one. My own way of being soft while snarky. I know I am strong. I also know I am too old for your typical ice breaker list of attributes. I went back to google to see how many other people are on a path to self discovery; there were over 2 billion hits. TWO BILLION! Talk about safety in numbers.

So my no so scientific research has provided us with the insight that over 4 billion people are currently searching for answers when it comes to fortitude, decision making, and self discovery. Here i thought I was special. I am not sure if I want to take solace in such company or be concerned that literally none of us know what we are doing. This is usually the point in a musical when everyone joins together and busts out in song. The A HA! moment. An article on #psychologytoday quoted a study by #harvardbusiness review sharing that most of us find our aha moment when we are doing something completely unrelated. When our minds are completely quiet. Perhaps this is why so many of us are still searching. Our minds are never quiet. Or we try so hard to quiet our minds that we expel our energy to minimize the noise rather than listening. Maybe we could all use three years on a rock.

I have been on the proverbial rock for sometime now. Trying my damnedest to climb off of it. I have repeatedly been pushed back down. Forced into a time out to figure my self out. Situations that have continually come before me. Situations that are binary and complex. Challenging and sympathetic. An insane amount of life in such a short period of time. The cliche, life can change in a moment, is actually true. A few text messages between a friend changed my life in a moment. A chronic illness changed my life in a series of moments. Finding a career that fills my soul changed my life forever. While change can be painful it can be the catalyst for so much good. Much needed growth. This will not be the part of the show where I become David Bowie and sing "Changes."

Finding those who still believe in you after the fall is the tricky part. Who trusts you to keep moving forward. Who still wants to be a part of the new and improved version. Who was there to get you through the tough times and prefers that they stay in that time of your life. This isn't exactly a survey one sends out to their friends. We aren't in grade school so notes with check boxes wont work either. There isn't a right or wrong answer. Everyone needs to have their own fortitude. The ability to say what their needs are and to advocate for them. No one person is more important than another. Needs must be met and listened to. Whether you want to hear those needs or not, they are still valid.

"Every man in his (her) lifetime needs to thank his (her) faults," Ralph Waldo Emerson. Looks like I will be spending the weekend with my faults and thanking them for this turn of events. How they have helped to shape me into a person who is now on a different path. A stronger path. A path towards optimism and acceptance.

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