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I came back here after I was cleaning the guestroom, when I got to my Aikido equipment. The months since my ‘retirement' I have longed to get back to the mat, and to reclaim that part of my life… to feel as balanced as I once felt. Sidelined by pregnancy is a noble enough reason to step back, but still I miss being able to tumble and roll and the general sense of connection that I always felt. I feel like a leaf on the wind, tumbling away, losing sight of what once was.
Aikido was and will always be my freedom. No one told me I was too fat or too short, or that I wasn't built right or that I was lacking some prerequisite for entering into the fold. I was accepted and embraced, and the feeling was wonderful. I had been afraid to dedicate my self wholly to anything after my many years dancing and the injuries within and without that I had sustained.
I actually cried when I went to fold my hakama, as it had come undone in the move to our new home. I had hoped to be able to take my tumbles in this simple piece of apparel. My family doesn't understand but between my hakama and my Gi, there are memories, blood sweat and tears that brought me to the point I was some months ago. Its not a trophy, but a monument to growth of the mind and body. To Funny thing is that I remember someone posting to the aikido-l list long long ago, that the Gi its self and the hakama combined are merely rank indicators. I have to disagree, I remember watching everyone at the Mile high Aiki Summit, and I remember fondly studying the various Hems and sleeves that flew past me in the moment. Even in movement, when a single moment seems to hold on for ages, I stopped to observe. Torn, worn and battered hems, repaired by hand, ductape, glue or anything else available. Like scars, witnesses to days long past. I think everything we are, and everything we give remains in that oh so simple and seeming unfeeling fabric.
I hope someday to return back to mat, and to this part of my life. I watch longing sometimes when I pass the local dojo's, having to look down to my little belly and sigh. For in this world and this life, patience is the name of the game. Perhaps my unborn daughter will inherit my love and demeanor for this special part of me, and maybe someday I will watch her from the side of the mat, as she takes the very same steps we all do in our paths on the mat.
But I know in my heart that this is no farewell, but merely a small trip away from this path, and that soon, I will return. Maybe not this year, nor the next, but soon. Life if not so short that I will rush the road I've been given.