Some Thoughts About Neal

nealIn ancient times, the Greeks would never deliver a eulogy. In lieu of it, they would only ask one brilliant, simple question: “Did the person live with passion?”

Mind you, they were really not asking this question of the person who recently crossed the river. Rather, the question was really for those who were still alive.

When a tragic event happens, most people are stunned for a week or 2. By the 3rd week, they are back in their routine (or rut), doing the same things they always did, living the same life they always lived.

We train to become better — better at Systema and more so, better at our lives. Therefore, we can do better than this. We can let this experience inspire us to reach new heights, to ignite new dreams and to live a life of passion. We are here. We are alive. What else is there to do?!

One of the things that Neal’s Dad mentioned was how much he loved Systema and training with all of us. It was heart warming to hear this. I spoke with Neal about a year ago and he was rather frustrated that work prevented him from training.

What if he did find a way? What if he did rearrange his schedule somehow, some way? Like the question the Greeks asked, it is really meant for us.

Some people simply cannot continue. Garth moved to Texas. Jon started a family. Mario has been out due to an accident. Life happens.

Some people do not continue due to fear. Fear of injury. Fear of strikes. Fear of having to push themselves. Fear of having to look inside and see their weaknesses or their power.

Some people do not continue due to “the grind.” The art is tough, week after week, push up after push up. Mentally it is a challenging. Emotionally too, not to mention physically.  Repetition. . . . . review. . . .review. . .repetition. An endless cycle.

Dig deep my friends. Find the grit, courage, and guts to continue. It may save your life. Or someone else’s.  It may make your life. I promise that with enough time, practice and working through fear and “the grind,” you will find more gifts than you could imagine.  It will reshape and reform your entire Being.

Will you still have problems? Yes, of course. You will just learn to handle them without tension. Instead, proper breathing and newfound courage will lead the way.

Will we still get afraid? Undoubtedly. We just won’t let it stop us.

I wish for each of you, the greatest life possible. And then add even more to it. When the show is over for each of us, I truly hope we can all look back and say it was a wonderful journey. We lived, loved, shared and made a difference for others.

As I think of Neal, I can say that he certainly made a difference in my life, with many others and with our school. Not only that, masters such as Eddie Quinn, Bob Elder Sensei and others were impressed by his work ethic, respectfulness and overall likability.

We will always miss our friend. Perhaps the greatest way to honor him and those who go before us is to learn from them, listen to our heart and most of all, live with passion.