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It's pretty amazing how circumstances can get overwhelming sometimes. Take a 95% busy schedule, add 10%, and like a road at more than its capacity, things come to a grinding halt. Long hours working, weather that for months seemed hell-bent on raining during daylight hours every weekend, even a few fun events and projects... These things and others conspired to put me into to-do list overload, and off-the-chart stress for much of the beginning of the year.
I tried applying my limited skills in randori - dealing with multiple attackers - but it felt like doing randori in the middle of the freeway. I was at the end of all my ropes, and needed to make a change. I renegotiated some deadlines, completed a few projects, dropped some commitments, and thankfully the weather has been cooperating. All the long overdue chores I'd been putting on the back burner, waiting for "when I'd have some time" are finally getting done. I got my oil changed, got new tires, and registered my car. I gave the donkeys their Spring baths, and got their former farrier out to correct a botched trim that left Clementine lame for weeks. I finally followed up with my PT about a hip injury from months ago, and got the all-clear on that. And I've done just enough yardwork that you can now see the California natives I planted in the Fall; they've been thriving on all the rain we've gotten. There's still plenty left to do, but the critical things are under control now.
As for Aikido, I have been training as usual, about 2 hours, 5 days a week. It is what keeps me grounded, happy, and healthy. I am so grateful to have a teacher and a community of friends who provide inspiration, support, and perspective. I've had some very rough days recently, but none so bad they could not be improved by the vigorous physical activity, connection, and joy of training.
About a month ago Patrick Cassidy Sensei came to our dojo. He and Dave Goldberg Sensei co-lead a 3-day Evolutionary Aikido seminar. That deserves several posts of its own. For the moment I'll just say that it was an extraordinary experience. I have a couple-thousand photos to go through, and a lot of thinking (or maybe meditating) to do about that weekend. Intense, and brilliant.
We had another round of exams at the dojo two weeks ago, so preparing for that with the test candidates was great fun.
This Sunday Sensei is offering a kumi-jo workshop for dojo members 4th-kyu and up. Wouldn't miss it. I'm not alone in that - the sign-up sheet is getting quite long!
The biggest thing (big, big, big!), coming up in only two weeks, is a 3-day retreat near Sebastopol, CA. The subject is "O Sensei Revisited" and it will be lead by Robert Nadeau Shihan and a group of senior CAA Division 3 instructors, including Goldberg Sensei. There are 12-14 of us going! I'll be driving up, making an awesome road trip of it, and I've had some very (very!) nice surprises for things to see and do along the way. I'm really excited about the whole adventure - the retreat itself, and the getting there and back.
More on that soon. Right now, sleep is a priority.