Are you willing to take responsibility for this mat, to own it? That doesn’t mean it isn’t everybody else’s mat, too. If you’re big enough to own the mat as yours, you’re big enough to let it be theirs, too.
— George Leonard
In his book The Way of Aikido, George Leonard wrote about the concept of owning the mat. He was talking about aikido. He was referring to an air of ownership, a certain presence he learned to demonstrate both on the mats while practicing martial arts and in his life.
Many subtle attitudes and past conditioning can affect our sense of ownership of our lives and of the world we live in—guilt, a haunting sense of victimization, laziness, living with repressive, angry, or abusive people may have tamed our sense of ownership of our lives.
One day, I was at my daughter’s house. She had recently acquired a new dog, Stanley. Stanley huddled in the corner timidly instead of scampering over to greet me like her other dog did.
“We got Stanley from the pound,” Nichole explained. “His previous owners abused him real badly. He’s afraid to move around too much. He’s afraid he’ll get hit. So he sits real quietly, hoping not to make anyone mad.”
I thought, That dog reminds me of me.
Let go of negative conditioning. No matter what happened, today is a new day. And it’s your lucky day. You’ve just received an inheritance. You now own your world—your life, your emotions, your finances, your relationships, your decisions. Walk onto the mat of your life with an air of confidence. Welcome others graciously because it’s their world, too. Whether you’re walking into your cubicle at work or pushing a shopping cart down the aisle at the grocery store, stand tall, move from your center, and walk with an open heart.
Welcome to your world.
God, teach me what it means to live and let live.
Activity: Review each of these areas of your life: work, relationships, finances, leisure time, emotions, your body, and your spiritual growth. Have you forfeited or given up ownership in any of these areas? If you have, today’s a good day to take it back.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
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