We Create Our Own Happiness or Misery on the Mats

Photo by: Jared Lopper

Here at Jiu-Jitsu Times, we post a ton of memes on our Instagram page. Many of which jokingly refer to the pain of not being promoted, like this one, or this one, or even this one; you get the idea. Belt promotions are something that seem to come to mind for just about every Jiu-Jitsu player at one time or another. We even tend to get ourselves worked up over it ZEN PENCILS that really puts it into perspective). The poem is about how true joy isn’t found in the destination we set out for, but in our journey to that point. A belt or promotion or trophy is not what will ultimately bring us happiness on the mats, it’s making sure we’re enjoying ourselves along the way.

As you set out for Ithaka

hope the voyage is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.


Hope the voyage is a long one.

May there be many a summer morning when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you come into harbors seen for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.


Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.


Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

Without her you would not have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.


And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


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