There was no wind blowing around us as Time stood still, waiting for the Zen-like answer from an ancient sage with white beards like Pai Mei. Just silence as I really thought about his question and all the combat scenarios I had been in.
"All the time..." was my answer. It was my honest answer.
People used to say I was a darn good fighter back in the day, but that didn't change the fact that I had to deal with fighting fear as I shut out the whole world and saw the only thing that my eyes and mind would see when I stepped into combat mode - the opponent.
The older I get and the more I amass skill at various aspects of life that I have devoted myself to, I find myself constantly humbled at what is out there, out of the range of my knowledge and ken. I also realize, more and more, I don't have all the answers. Like a business is tossed to and fro in the larger waters of macro-economic forces, so it is with life; there are just too many things that one cannot control.
However, in the end, courage is not the absence of fear.
I see so many who have just given up on life because of rejection, failed dreams - and hopelessness. For many of these people, though they are alive, they are actually dead, like a switched off fan continues to rotate till momentum ceases. It is a horrible thing and many times, I cannot fault them. Life can be very hard. However, as 'simple' as it is, to get the most out of the limited time that is your life, you must DECIDE to LIVE. This is not necessarily easy because deciding to LIVE means you will have to step out - and who knows what is out there?
There could be "a lion in the way".
There could be the thundering hurricane.
There could be a string of rejections, hurt and pain.
There could be death and disease.
There could be lack and dearth of resource.
There could be total loss of the ones or one you love.
But it is only in stepping out that you find out all that you were created for and meant to be.
Friend, out there, there is peace.
Out there is love and a warm embrace.
Out there is the pitter patter of the feet of children and their heavenly smiles.
Out there is the shout of victory and the thrill of overcoming.
Out there is the joy that exists from putting smiles on a million face - or even a billion.
Out there is the crowd shouting and singing along to your song.
Out there is the physical expression of the dream you see only on the inside.
Out there is a good death after a life that is well lived...
A mischievous smile as you gather your feet into the bed for the last time.
A little tear escaping your eyes as you caress the soft brows of your great grand children.
A mouth full of gums and teeth muttering divine blessings.
A soft pillow propping you up as the light that is not the bulb glows brighter in a room where everything is fading as your step, gracefully, into forever - because forever is not that far...
Like a wise person once said, ALL you desire and are meant to be is at the other side of fear.