A Furry Three-Legged Trooper Named Duke and Heijoushin (平常心)

The cool “Duke”.

I met and walked a three-legged dog named Duke with a friend a few evenings ago.  He is a cool “dude.”  He had lost a leg that had to be amputated a year ago.  He would move by skipping forward with short hops.  I was amazed by him.  Despite the loss and challenge in walking, he seemed completely immersed in experiencing the environment.  He would sniff an area of grass or bushes as if getting high on it, saunter off to a new area nearby and then repeat this two-step process.  And periodically, he’d roll around on the grass.  He seemed happy and I wondered if the loss of his leg ever registered in his mind.


Duke relaxing.

Duke reminded me of the expression “Heijoushin” (平常心) which means an “always calm mind” [Yaegaki-kai Heijoshin] [Kendo-guide Heijoshin] or “normal mind” [BudoBum_Heijoshin].  A very important concept no matter what the situation according to many teachers.  He seemed to be a living example of Heijoushin.  Having that calm mindset when and when not experiencing life’s challenges and tough circumstances.  And being “present and available” to this “moment” rather than holding on to a sense of loss or regret.  On what could have been or should have been.  He apparently walked right away after the surgery and the loss of his leg.  What a trooper!

How many individuals could have such a mindset given a similar loss or tragedy?  I doubt if I could.  Yet there are those who somehow managed to.  They include:

  • Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing,
  • Joni Earckson Tada and Brian Sternberg who sustained neck injuries and lost the use of their legs and arms as detailed in [Yancey_Hurts].
  • Gabi, the daughter of William Ury, who had “fourteen major surgeries,” as recounted by Ury [Ury_Yourself, p. 72]:
    • yet she doesn’t lose any time looking back with resentment or regret or feeling sorry for herself.  She shakes it off.  She has a zest for life and finds enjoyment and excitement every day.

Their stories, Duke’s and those of many others help put my life and the adversities into perspective.

A “Thank you” to my friend for sending me the pictures to post in this article and for the opportunity to walk with Duke. 🙂


May all be well with you!

Updates:  Added Gabi, the daughter of William Ury on Nov 2, 2019.


[BudoBum_Heijoshin] Peter Boylan, “States of Mind:  Heijoshin,” The Budo Bum, Nov 3, 2015.

[Kendo-guide_Heijoshin] Hiro Imafuji “Kendo Terminology: Heijoshin,” Kendo-Guide.com.

[Ury_Yourself] William Ury, Getting to Yes with Yourself: and Other Worthy Opponents, HarperOne, 2015.

[Yaegaki-kai_Heijoshin] Heijoshin 平常心, Brussels Yaegaki-kai, Feb 22, 2010. 

[Yancey_Hurts] Phillip Yancey, Where is God When It Hurts, Zondervan Publishing, 1997.


Copyright 2019 KendoNotes.com



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