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I am drained. There are no lines left in my planner to fit in another "to-do." Weekdays, work. Weeknights, work. Weekends, house work, feeling not much closer to moving in than when we bought the house in December. Between 9- or 10-hour workdays, dinners at 10:00pm, house maintenance and repairs, and falling asleep on the laptop over some random work project toted home, there is the training—wedged in between the everyday chaos like an ephemeral oasis of stress relief. For an hour of keiko, possibly another hour of extra practice, the world is calm. Crazy escalations don't suddenly arise; ideas, thoughts, snippets of rushed conversation do not whiz by in a whirlwind of meaningless turbulence. Sure, there is the frustration of not getting a technique right, the lack of ability to do something, the constant desire to attain grace and flow in my movements. But mostly, there is just the sound of training, and the moment. When you are in the moment, the moment is all there is.
It is the Eastern zodiac Year of the Tiger. A year for taking action, embodied by a beast possessing immense energy. What can I do to tame the tiger? The need to be on the hunt, to move non-stop, to always be on guard, saps my will. I grow dry to the core, feeling like I've got nothing else to give to its incessant demands. "Aikido is like walking," Sensei once told me. As simple as that, putting one foot in front of the other, the techniques thought out and tested to make the footwork adhere to movements most natural to the human body. At first you fumble, analyze, maybe even trip over your own feet. It's hard, too much is going on, you can't keep track of it all, feel like giving up. But then you remember the basics, the fundamentals of putting one foot in front of the other. Because in aikido, and in life, sometimes that's all there is left to do.