So you would think lucid dreaming, style, uncertainty and buried feelings have nothing to do with a story about self-control in the dojo?

I tried out one of Martha Beck’s suggestions on generating ideas. The one about reading a few paragraphs from different books on different subjects and seeing what comes up. She calls it “Throwing in the kitchen sink”.

Started out with a paragraph on lucid dreaming from The 4-hour body by Timothy Ferriss. Reminded me that I dreamt about a great topic for my PhD the other day. I distinctly remembered thinking in the dream that it was a really great topic. Except that I can’t remember it now that I’m awake.

Then read a paragraph on style from The art of editing in the age of convergence by Brooks, Pinson and Sissors. Reminded me of something Justine Musk wrote in a recent post: “Style is the story you tell about yourself to the world”. I like that.

Then read a quote from Embracing Uncertainty by Susan Jeffers:

No man knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.

Not sure what to do with this…

And then I read a paragraph in The courage to be yourself by Sue Patton Thoele about how women often seem to feel tired because they suppress their feelings and then carry these unresolved and unspoken feelings around in their subconscious.

Which provides a good background and intro to the possible cause of an emotional explosion in my karate class the other day.


At the inauspicious occasion of realising that I have literally worn through my first gi (karate suit) and now have a gaping hole under my right arm, I was unfortunately also reminded of the fact that I still need to work on one specific aspect or rather lack of this aspect in my life.

After each karate class, we line up and repeat these five maxims of karate: character, etiquette, effort, sincerity, and self-control.

“Character,” says the sensei.
“CHARACTER!” shout the children.
“Etiquette.” “ETIQUETTE!”
“Effort.” “EFFORT!”
“Sincerity.” “SINCERITY!”
(You notice I leave out self-control?)

For beginner adults, training with children has its advantages. They don’t mind if you’re slow. They have patience to show you the sequence of the kata. Again. You can learn at your own pace.
But then, they also want the attention of the sensei even when the sensei is busy with you.
“Sensei! Sensei?!”
Or they’ll fool around and deem it fit to rather neaten up the weights or whatever equipment. Which would be fine, except that if there’s more than one child wanting to do it, each of them wants to do it in his/her own way. Causing loud discussions (who am I fooling?) – arguing and sometimes hitting. In the dojo, for goodness sake!
So. Self-control.
“No hitting in the dojo!” would have sufficed.
But no. I had to go on and on. In a LOUD voice. [Which I now think may be because of unresolved and unspoken issues, you see.]
Just after the incident I did manage to convert my anger into a quite powerful (for me!) kata, though.


Can’t help it, want to end off with a Terry Pratchett reference. In I shall wear midnight, Tiffany Aching tells someone that witches don’t get angry. They do feel anger, but they put it away somewhere until they can do something useful with it.
I suppose my problem is to do something useful with it before it explodes on me, hey?

Wild horses, guts and wearing midnight

When I was young, I read a lot of stories that took place in the beginning years of the Cape of Good Hope roundabout 1700 and 1800 [Ou Kaapse stories]. The heroines were the kind that won sword fights, took over pirate ships, rode wild horses and were generally the masters of their own destinies. Think Geena Davis in Cutthroat Island.

No wonder I felt myself drawn to Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do by Kate White (editor-in-chief of Cosmo). I felt inspired and excited learning the so-called secrets every woman should know.

Things like:

It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Without risk taking, you can never have any major success.

When you allow someone to get away with bad behaviour, you give them permission to do it again.

It’s important to tell the truth but you don’t always have to tell the whole truth.

Stop trying to do everything and start concentrating only on the essential steps that will allow you to achieve your goal.

Make your own set of rules for what you’re doing.

Somewhere along the line I have lost touch with the gutsy girl in me, but there might be some hope. White describes passion as the turbo-charged enthusiasm that you demonstrate, being in love with the things you do and feeling as if you’ve come alive when you’re doing it. She advises women to have the guts to trust their instincts, go after what they want, and to not worry about what other people think.

Mind you, these descriptions sound very much like some of Terry Pratchett’s heroines. So as a first step to getting in touch with my gutsy side, tomorrow I’ll be wearing midnight and a hat full of sky.