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This is a "daily life" type blog entry some people might be interested in....
When we do the clean up that in some ways is part of the Shinto belief and maybe also Buddhism, it is a chance to reflect on gratitude. Maybe thinking of this will make it seem less of a "chore".
But, to begin with, an interesting concept is brought out in the Japanese version of "grace before meals." They say "Itadakimasu" which means, "I receive.."
When I first learned this word, it was explained that there is a chain of events and people that resulted in this meal, or this particular food item ... the store, the commercial carrier, the farmer, etc. And I'm sure all the way back to God. I've seen this concept in writings by Christians too....
But how about after the meal, when rinsing the cans for the recycle or if you have recycling for plasic wrappers and food trays (our town just set that up a couple of years ago a few years after a woman who manufactured lawn chairs etc. out of previously unrecycled categories of plastics could no longer keep her company going...)
Anyway, whatever your town does or doesn't recycle, cleanup is a great chance for gratitude over the "Eew, what a drag, cleanup type feeling." It might help get the job done quicker, or then again you might want to take a bit longer, thinking about your feelings of gratitude for whatever you ate, or whatever you enjoyed in the container .... for example, they now take broken plastic flower pots.
Next time, I may tell you about a lady who lived in our town, whom I call the patron saint of recycling, but for now, back to Aikido.
I'm a recycled Aikidoka, so here are the techniques I have found this year, having convinced my karateka, judoka, and kung fu person husband who also trained in Aikido to help me get back to Aikido. First we did Ikkyo, because that's a good place to start, and so is the katate tori a good place to start.
Then a few weeks went by, and ...(am I ever going to step back into that river?) Hey, Chuck, let's do some Aikido. So here comes yokomen uchi and I forgot how to step back. I got what I wanted, a training partner so I'd better do something. Okay, irimi! Now I've got a handblade in his elbow and my other hand is up so he can't hit with the other hand. Tenkan turn!
Ended up shiho nage, which I certainly wasn't planning. In the old days, I was always fascinated by the at least three kinds of irimi nage (kokyu nage) from yokomen uchi. I used to love this back at NY Aikikai especially the one where you take the yokomen uchi by stepping back and continue it in a circle drawing uke into it and a hand on his or her shoulder assists him or her to the ground....
This is probably something many of you do every day or every week, but to me it's like new, because I just started again, I'm recycling myself. As for the shiho nage ura that just appeared naturally from the irimi entry to yokomen uchi... It reminds me of a time long ago when Yamada Sensei walked up to me, bringing a new student for me to help. He would think for a while and then say "do some shiho nage". Nothing surprising about that so far, but every time he brought over a new student, he would think for a while, and it always ended up shiho nage. Now, there must be something significant about that.
I always mentioned that story to my husband over the years, that that technique must be important because Yamada Sensei picked it each time... and it seems to signify now that I've finally arrived at the beginning, to get back into Aikido.
My husband and I practiced on and off over the years but it seems to be time now to make it if not daily, almost daily. Anyway, that's how an article about gratitude and recycling belongs in an Aikido blog. It's also an incentive to keep tidying up the yard and driveway. Friends might visit to train .... But for now, it's just Chuck and me, in the driveway, but when I rake the gravel, partly as an exercise, I think of the garden at Ryoanji which Niall just reminded us of, in his column on Zen and Aikido.
So many things are interconnecting these days.... Mary Eastland and her thread about Spring.... as another example. Thanks, friends. Oh and Carina, I am still thinking about your video about the walk in the mountains. Even though I have a slow dial up computer, I was able to watch most of it last month and enjoy the view as you and your friends walked thru the beautiful scenery of Gran Canaria...