In self-defense circles, the words “situational awareness” and “zanshin” are frequently used. Both of these terms mean basically the same thing, although the transliteration of this word in Japanese, zanshin (残心), is “remaining mind.” Situational awareness means what it sounds like: being aware of your situation. This can apply to many things in life but when it comes to self-defense, situational awareness begins once you are outside of the relative safety of your home, work, or vehicle.
It’s about standing on my own two feet and roaring in the face of anyone who seeks to violate me, whether emotionally, spiritually, or physically. You don’t have the right to violate me. I won’t be a victim. I will stand for what’s right. Protecting myself — all of me — is worth it.
But isn’t that mindset the very essence of fear? And fear attracts attackers like little else. The strong prey on the weak, that’s just the way it goes. News reports are filled with victims crushed by cruel oppressors. And really, none of us was made to be a perpetual victim, in mind or body (or, in most cases, both). We were made to grow strong and to push the forces of evil back, not to get crushed by them.
Going to classes some weeks later I realized I opened, not a Pandora’s Box but a Treasure Trove: I awakened a long-squashed confidence. I dusted off some self-esteem, I really believed I was worth defending. I was — and am — valuable. Not for what I can contribute to this world, but just because I’m alive. I pulled a brassy bit of boldness out next, realizing for the first time in forever I’m not an underdog. My voice matters. A cluster of pearls glows gently, heart humility — I can listen and truly honor the person in front of me, for we are equals here. Ah, and the fine fabric of a teachable heart and mind. There’s so much to learn, so much I want to know!
I was disempowered, dispirited, and disheartened by the abuse my mother poured out. The bruises she gave me are a part of my story, but they don’t represent strength and resolve. My current bruises do.
What we all seem to have in common (whether her busyness looks like 5 kids under the age of 5, busy working mom with kids in school, wife and mother and executive, single 20-something with a new job, new apartment, pile of bills, you name it), basically…