“It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”
— Musashi Miyamoto
It is better to be prepared than unprepared.
It is better to know what you can and can’t do, than to go into a situation blind.
I’ve thought about the above quote many times, written by a samurai warrior and author of The Book of Five Rings. I’ve written it in my journal as an affirmation of what I am doing in my life. Why do I train? I’m not competing in the CrossFit Games. I don’t have aspirations of being an elite athlete. I don’t expect to go to war anytime soon, or look to get into a fight when I step outside for the day. So why?
I’m training every day to win the battle in my mind against laziness, against comfort, against mediocrity.
I’m training every day to set an example for my kids that this is the way that humans should live – as physically competent, mentally tough “warriors”, who are ready for whatever challenges come their way.
I’m training for that next unknown challenge that will pop up and will not be steered clear of. Will it be a purely physical feat that I need to take on? Maybe, but probably not. What if it’s a mental and emotional challenge like the death of a loved one, the loss of my job and livelihood, the next pandemic, will I be prepared? Being of sound body and sound mind makes it much more likely.
I don’t pretend to be a warrior by trade, and I appreciate and honor those that have taken on that calling. But I can train to be a warrior in my own peaceful garden, just outside the edge of the war that is raging all the time in this volatile world.
It is good to be peaceful, and to not look for a fight. It is good to work to rid the world of war. But it is foolish to expect that war to end without testing us with battles that we must face, and cannot shirk away from.
It is good to be a gardener, and if you have a green thumb then I applaud you, because I don’t! But it’s also good to keep an eye on your training. To win the next workout. To win the next fight for your life or someone else’s. To be a warrior in a garden, because you don’t know when that garden might not be anymore.