From a Breakdown to a Breakthrough

before there's a breakthrough, there's often a breakdown - james arthur ray

took last friday off. havent been feeling well for going on 2 weeks. on tuesday i was home sick again with strep. still completely worn out today.

on my bday a week ago i was wishing i would just lay down and die, wondering if all this giving of myself to life was worth it

and then my son wraps his arms around me, thanking me for not getting angry with him for the mistake he just made

and then a student who i found out last week didn't know 07/09/09 meant July 9, 2009 (basic memorization - the lowest level of thinking) finally stopped fighting me about evaluating his test and working with me (the highest level of thinking) and scored a 100% for the first time in his life, and on the hardest story in the 5th grade textbook....a verifiable and literal "miracle"

out of the 1,ooo+ students ive had in the past 10 years, he's been the toughest to reach. wen he was arrested two months ago i really thought he would be the first student ive had to be held back

now his victory has been achieved

and then another person confided in me about their abusive situation, where legal action isn't effective or an option, and i offered my help in making it right

writing from a state of depletion, if i am willing to step in and make myself the target of this misplaced anger and aggression instead of the victim...... how do i hav the strength if it turns ugly when ive already reached my breaking point and am literally breaking down?

..........maybe its by believing i can, and searching for a way to break through to a level i don't know i have

this man isn't my enemy, he's my brother, someone lost and angry..........and needing someone stronger to show him he's capable of being stronger than he's acting

the fact that others, and rightfully so, would call me insane and idiotic, doesnt matter compared to stopping someone else's insane and idiotic behavior that is destroying lives, including his own

do i love my kids? yes i do. enough to not only protect them from the ugliness of life, but to eliminate it where i can

what if i can concentrate 100% of my 60,000 thoughts/day on having the strength and intelligence to solve this problem, instead of talking about it, thinking about it, complaining about it, and then forgetting about it pretending it magically went away?

those who know me know i have a wicked temper. as much love and laughter shines from my eyes, so does lightning. all my students know that after everything they've become from just one year, if they ever do something as pathetic and pointless as taking their own lives, they can count on this happening:

when they get to the gates of the Underworld and their name is checked off, they will be told there's no way in hell they can come in

"you're one of Mr. Stuart's kids. We can't let you in. He comes down here and busts open the gates, breaking down doors and walls and wrecking the place looking for you guys. It's just not worth it. You better get back up to earth and get your life back before he finds out what you've done. But there's absolutely no way in hell we're letting you in here."

this takes mastery over one's emotions. if i can master my high ones, im sure i can master my low ones too.

all i have to do is search for truth and wisdom, even criticism, for the smallest iota of strength that will help me grow, while at the same time being careful not to allow negative emotions such as worry and fear coming from these criticisms to come into me.

"you may get hurt" or "make things worse" are valid criticisms, and they can come into my head to plan intelligent action without allowing the fear of them to come into my heart. this is where i could be stopped, and the truth is, others ARE being hurt and will continue being hurt if somebody doesn't do something

the breakthrough im looking for has to come from a teacher better and wiser than me, from the wisdom of someone who has done it before. from the earliest and most revered military treatise in our history, written by the scholar wu sun tzu, the art of war

if anyone has achieved success in the past, then anyone can achieve success in the present by internalizing the same wisdom and developing the same ability

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
- Wu Sun Tzu (c. 544-496 b.c.), The Art of War

Sun Tzu, the Art of War
from my experience most men only attack those he sees as weaker. when a more powerful and intimidating agent enters the picture, he will stop.

and if he doesn't, and you are intelligent enough, you don't make things worse, you make him direct his anger and energy on you instead of those less capable of withstanding the physical and psychological attacks

Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve.
- Sun Tzu

even tho "i will kill you" is shouted out to the opposition in athletic arenas around the world, it is a very distasteful thought in real life. if i am clear i am willing to go all the way to to change hate into love, then unless he is in incredible pain or incredibly drunk or high, he will back down

he might still try to hurt you, but now HE is at a psychological disadvantage, knowing your light is so strong that he can't continue hiding in his darkness.....knowing you are unafraid of him trying to kill this light burning inside and bursting out from within you....and knowing you are holding him accountable for his actions by doing to him whatever he does to them

and knowing all this, he knows it all has to end right here, and right now.......and he's being given the choice to end it, by changing his choices when he gets angry

if he chooses to do nothing to them, he chooses that i do nothing to him

knowing i am willing to give my life to change his and his victim's lives makes me a gigantic and overwhelming foe.......and begins to plant the seed that since i am ultimately trying to help him, maybe i am also his best friend right now

and the victory i am fighting for becomes his victory too

In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it.
-Sun Tzu

things dont change unless we change. the danger of not helping the abuser change is that he needs constant policing. this wears out and exhausts the resources of the policer tremendously.

helping him realize he is not my enemy, but my brother who is temporarily lost and angry gives him hope; hope that he is not permanently damaged, hope that he doesn't need to take his insecurities out on those around him, hope that life isnt a barbaric fight to the finish. hope that there is a better way

and if he changes for the better.......so do the lives and world around him.......

and isnt that outcome so much more desirable to the current "isnt that so sad, so terrible?" reality.....

isnt this better than "he is a bad man that needs to be punished and made to pay forever because he is forever a bad person?"

what if we help him stop being a bad person?

WE are the modern-day samurai; we parents, teachers, role models and leaders

WE are the ones standing for something better than what is

and we GIVE OUR LIVES to the creation of what could be.....what WILL BE....and a BETTER WHAT IS

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I'm betting my life on it.........and I think I've broken through to new levels of wisdom, strength and spirituality that I didn't know I had

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