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A challenge for now, can I be a warrior for compassion and kindness when I feel like the universe conspires to hold me down? I see those thoughts march by and chuckle to myself "Let's pick another story for these feelings."
Let's practice our practice no matter what thoughts and feelings arise from the fecundity of our humanness. Let's reap the rewards of our practice. It is here and now and true.
To claim one's warrior spirit; to be totally present to what is now, is the purpose of aikido training.
Techniques, weapons training, group exercises and meditations are all vehicles to summon and then challenge our warrior spirit.
Challenge yourself to be ever in the now. Watch your thoughts and feelings. Let them pass unfettered by anchoring stories. Let the distractions float into the ether to join the millions of other un-tethered nothings that matter not.
Thursday at 6:30 PM, January 2, 2014 we will have our first class of the new year. So what's new? Nothing and everything.
We have had about 2 weeks off. Just enough to make me antsy...I get a little weird when I don't train. Aikido is a mood stabilizer for me. I can feel like beetle poop when class starts and when it ends I am smiling and happy... relaxed as a new born.
Speaking of newborns, Princess Muffin is no longer that...she is something else. She is still the same yet totally different just as we will be on this new year...new day...new class...new me.
After reading an article in Real Simple magazine about being home alone I reflected on my own fear of being alone in the house. Her fear was that someone was outside the house. My fear is that there is someone in the house with me.
When I was a child my dad would pop out of nowhere raging and hitting. The poor man has been dead for several years now yet my fear lives on.
When Ron is not home at night I hear every noise that I never notice if he is home. I know that my fears are irrational. We live in a rural neighborhood surrounded by woods. It is not a high crime area. For women my age statistically any real danger is from a violent relationship. Not a problem for me…we do give each other bruises sometimes but only on the mat.
So even though I know how to defend myself, my house is safe and I have thought out many strategies I still have illogical fear. She (Real Simple article 2/2013) had a way of dealing with it…just by staying home alone for 3 nights in a row. By the third night she was okay. Maybe I will try it. I used to stay alone when my kids were small …whoops, I guess that is not really alone. I was more vulnerable with small children. I just can't figure it out…so I hold my fears out to the universe in open hands. The winds of time may blow them away.
Aikido is going back to what we knew when we were born before social niceties bred it out of us. When children don't want to be around Grandpa or don't want to kissed by Auntie Lou that should be respected. It could be that Auntie smells bad or it could be that she is really mean and untrustworthy. Or it could be that the child just doesn't want to be hugged by that person on that day.
This Christmas I got to see Aikido at its finest being practiced by my grandson, Tony, age 5, who has been on our mat a bit only to twirl and run and laugh.
First, let me tell that Tony is not shy. When he was 3 he would walk up to anyone and say, "Hi, friend." And he is sometimes not friendly. He has hit other kids when bothered too much and also knows how to use his words to take care of himself.
Tony and family were getting ready to exit after our Christmas gathering. He was giving hugs and kisses to everyone. He came up to my daughter Emily's boyfriend Jay who he does not know every well. Tony was going in for the hug and then realized he was not comfortable with that. You could see the momentary hesitation on his face and in his body language. So Tony gives a huge smile and enters towards Jay and says, "High five." They slapped out and all was well. It was so graceful; Aikido in action with not one bit of training.
Tony's action was totally cool with everyone. Nobody said, "Oh Tony, give Jay a big hug." Tony's response was accepted as normal. What a long way my family has com
Will it ever go away? 25 years of training….20 years since he died. A noise, a smell, a word said wrong, a door slammed… can still set the response off. I can go from being perfectly comfortable to crazy adrenaline kicked in, hyper-sensitive, breathing getting choked out of me fear. I can relax through it mostly, nowadays, yet I can't stop it.
Many a night I stare out the window to catch a glimpse of I don't know what… straining my ears to hear another sound like the one I thought I just heard. I never believe myself…doubt riddles the fear adding shame to the adrenaline.
Now I can think and breath…I can check in with Ron about what is real this day. Training does help…as does prayer and compassion for the process of outgrowing how my father showed his love.
When uke and nage speak different dialects of the same language can communication and deep listening still be accomplished?
This summer we have had a few visitors and a couple of new students. We had a young man who is a brown belt in Karate come to a few classes. He was so busy in his head I don't think he heard or saw anything new. He kept talking and explaining and apologizing. We both are fluent in English yet little communication has occurred. I heard him yet he can't hear me. He hasn't been back.
Another youngish man has been training regularly since the beginning of the summer. He is very quiet and good humored. He had trained for a few months in an aiki jujitsu style, so he knows how to fall and is very open to rolling. His native language is Spanish so our communication is technique and ukemi and body movements with a little language. I feel like I can hear him and he hears me through aikido.
We had a visitor from Japan from very traditional dojo who was in his 50's yet appeared much younger, he was so fit and trim. We had a great time training with him. He came to 3 classes and was very teachable and open. We were able to communicate with him mostly through aikido since we speak no Japanese. His English was wonderful but I could understand his Aikido better.
Last week we had another visitor from Eastern Massachusetts. She is from an Aikikai dojo. I look forward to seeing how communication occurs between us.
On another note, I just realized that comm
I greet the world with open hands on this day, ready to receive. A point that we touched on during the seminar was not using the fingers tips to throw. Not grasping or grabbing just letting and guiding.
Ron suggested to me the other day when I was griping about my ukes that I needed to go more inside. I have been thoughtful about that for many days. At the seminar we did a ki test where I could feel my partner directing me without moving because she was moving my center by moving her center. Thanks, Dora, now I understand a little better what Ron was talking about. I see I have a lot to work on. Yay! It has nothing to do with my ukes. I knew that in my heart yet without the chat with Ron I wouldn't have known what to do next.
Growth spurts can be hard. I throw too hard; get impatient with people, think I need to drive to Texas….and any other distractions could fit in that blank. Really, what I need is an honest chat with a good friend or in this case, husband and then implement his suggestions into my practice. This is all part of what makes Aikido so interesting. Of course, hindsight is much nicer than the unrest I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. Yet here is some compassion I hold for myself. I kept training and taking care of my uke. No matter what. The inner stuff is uncomfortable but my process has come to point where it is not noticeable to others. This is progress. I
Our summer seminar's theme is "Let's Wrap the World in Peace. For me the inspiration has come from my newest grandson Vinnie. When I hold him, he looks up at me and tells me the secrets of the universe. I feel at one with what is. I feel at peace.
It seems to me that peace is all around us... accessible at anytime if we but look and feel and let.