In the clearing stands a boxer
April 13, 2012 by
Categories: Hanging on

“Being a fighter’s all about coming back. That’s when you find out the true character of a person.”

That quote is from an NPR story about Claressa Shields, a 16 year-old boxer on her way to the US Olympic Team for women’s boxing. I thought this was a well-done and inspiring story, but in particular, that quote stood out for me.

I think about all of the times that I have been knocked down. Sometimes other people have done it; sometimes it has been myself. In fact, the times where I have really felt that I wouldn’t be able to come back has been after being knocked down at my own hand. These have been some of my most exhausting fights and there are still some that I feel aren’t even close to being done–my own kobayashi maru.

My courageous neighbor

Image by konrach

How do these fights feel to me? My heart drops at times. I feel like I want to crawl alone into a dark cave at other times. Sometimes the weight of things comes crashing down. There is also a huge fear that someone will find out how I have knocked myself down. My mind certainly works those scenes into the worst outcome possible. Sure there are times that I feel strong and on top, but sometimes those are too few and far between. Depending on the age of the fight, the best that I can hope for is that I can put it somewhere in the back of my mind and only have to use few resources to deal with it.

I don’t know that there’s any way of making this situation better. I don’t know that there is some advice or wisdom that will end my fights. What I have done is just accept that the fights are a part of my life’s journey. This is easier said than done and most often requires me to accept this many times through my journey. Because some of these fights are just a part of the human condition.

Accepting isn’t surrendering. I am still fighting. To quote LaoTzu’s Tao Te Ching: “This is called going forward without advancing, pushing back without using weapons…When two great forces oppose each other, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield.”

There is a sort of peace that comes from accepting that some fights have no resolution. It makes it feel that I’m not at least losing. And at times, that gives me the edge I need to come back–at least for now.

What about you? What strategies do you have to get back up when you are knocked down?

“In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade. And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his pain, ‘I am leaving. I am leaving.’ But the fighter still remains.”

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