13 Feb

This is the week my interactive experiment with you concludes. By now you should have two journals, one for each week of our interaction, representing the fourteen things that made you smile each day.

What was different about each of the two weeks that you were to find something daily to smile about? In part two of the experiment, you were simply asked to find something to smile about each day. To be sure, not necessarily an easy task, but a relatively simple one. Part three of the experiment changed the task. First you were asked to recall and write down the thing or event that made you smile. Second, you were asked to continue to find something to smile about each day. Third, you again had to recall and write down that which made you smile. The recording of the event (that which made you smile) and the knowledge of the recording requirement is the difference between part two and part three.

I think it is fair to say that in part two of the experiment, you simply smiled each day. That smile was pure and heart-felt. I would hazard a guess that in part three of the experiment, many of you focused not on the pure act of smiling each day, but rather, on being required to remember and to write down that which made you smile. Thus many felt “compelled” to smile and constrained to document the exact scenario that made you smile. Thus, the pure enjoyment of the smile was diminished.

I suggest that, in part three, you were more concerned with the recollection and recording of the thing, event, or object, that made you smile then you were in experiencing the smile itself. Recall the simply story in part one of this interaction. Your actions are like the candidate that entered my Dojo. The candidate focused on the black belt and not the knowledge that the belt symbolizes. As such, I suggest that your recorded notes, particularly in part three of this experiment, merely represent a symbol of your efforts. They are a reflection that your focus was on that symbol and not the experience of the joy the thing or event gave you that made you smile. I would suggest that a journal entry representing a heart-felt, pure smile might simply read, “I can’t recall what exactly made me smile that day, but I so thoroughly enjoyed it with my entire being.”

So, from this day forward, embrace the example of the candidate and the black belt. Do not focus on the symbol, simply experience, embrace and enjoy that which the symbol represents. Please continue to find something each and every day to smile about,. Do not worry about remember it, rather savor the moment; simply absorb, embrace and enjoy it. It’s okay if you don’t remember what made you smile, just remember you smiled and were happy!

Sensei John Szmitkowski, Soke, Jiriki Kata-Do

I smiled today when I played with computer generated photo effects and placed Goshin-Do/Ryu Karate patches onto America’s Cup Racing Yachts. From left to right are the patches of Shihan Thomas DeFelice’s Goshin-Do Karate-Do, Shihan Wayne Norlander’s USA Goshin-Ryu Karate-Do and my Goshin-Do Karate-Do Issho Dojo patch.

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