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Chuck's Thoughts on Life

This is a space I have set aside for sharing my views, thoughts and memories, like the rest of the site it's a work in progress.  Below is a text I wrote some time back, a gift to me from a past Tae Kwon Do instructor which I have nurtured like a Bonsai and grown as I have moved through a life of Christian Faith and martial arts.

The Mental Garden

In your mind there is a garden. It is the place where all of your life experiences are planted and live or die. For many of us it is a wild and dangerous place, long left untended and uncared for. Wild things live there. Some may even harm us. But it need not be this way.

In the fertile soil of your mental garden are planted all of the memories of your life: The fruits of success, the weeds of defeat, the rubble of broken dreams, and the waste of failed plans.

But we can learn from the Good Gardener. The plants and trees of our successes can be pruned, watered and nurtured. The weeds of our failures can be pulled and ground for mulch.

At times in our life it is good and even necessary to retreat to the garden, to work the soil, to build up the good and work through the bad. By learning the lessons of the garden we can prepare for the harvest of future experience, choose the seeds of what will be next year's crop and plow the furrows where the dreams of futures too soon past will be planted.

It is to here that we must go at our moments of challenge, success and failure. To tend the garden, to enjoy its fruits and the nourishment they provide, to learn from all of life's experiences and to build a better garden for the future.

The wise gardener knows how to use everything in the garden and wastes nothing. He makes judicious use of whatever is at hand. When life seems to offer nothing but manure this is nature’s way of telling us that this is the darkest hour of winter. It is time to fertilize for a beautiful new crop, just a season away.

We must always bear in mind that we do not create our own gardens, they are inherited from our parents as my sons' will be from mine. The care of the garden is far more than a personal act. My garden will provide the seedlings for the gardens of my children.

The plants of my garden will pollinate and be pollinated by the plants from the gardens of my family, students, friends and every one whose path I cross. And perhaps by being wise gardeners we can take the world a few steps back toward Eden.

Sabunim Mattern

A snapshot of me with two of my greatest mentors, my
father, Charles Mattern and Grand Master Min Su Seo

I am also trying my hand at writing a blog and I'd be honoured if you had the time to give it a visit.

Below are some of my favorite places to be:
And places we will go someday:
  • Torricella, Italy (be sure to take a look at this page regarding my great-grandfather Liberantonio Ficca who came from Torricella)