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"We need to be reminded to wake up and pay attention, to feel into our experience so we can respond fluidly and appropriately, to look and see if action is called for, and to summon the courage to take it."
Just published! Please check out this month's column by "The Mirror" on AikiWeb. It was my turn to write, and I'd been struck by the similarity between a recent meeting with my teacher, Dave Goldberg Sensei, and the half halts we use to bring horses back to a centered, responsive place.
If you ever want to make a year fly by, here's how to do it.
First, anticipate that you will likely be testing for shodan at some point this year.
Next, sign up for a study course to be certified as a Group Fitness Instructor (GFI). Plan to be done with it by summer. Ready to rock in your new career. Along with your writing you can help people be healthier and happier. Buy a notebook, highlighters, and pens. Put everything in a big tote bag so you can study anywhere, even at the park. Dive into the material. For a week.
Now, decide that this is the right time to remodel the house. Drop writing studying like hot potatoes for 6 months and instead focus on choosing flooring, rearranging furniture, and picking paint colors.
Meet with Sensei, along with a friend who will also be testing, and schedule your shodan exam for December 13th. Many months away. Plenty of time to train and prepare.
Refinish the kitchen cabinets. Landscape the driveway entrance. Collaborate with the contractor. Throw a big party when it's all done.
Check the calendar and note that if you don't schedule your pre-paid GFI certification exam in the next 2 days you will have to pay again to schedule it later. Schedule the certification exam for Friday, October 24th - as far out as you dare without being too close to your ranking exam. Dive into the material again.
Discover that you don't know anything that's going to be on your shodan exam. You've seen and done it all before, of c
Just the thought of checking the oil in the truck feels like I'm plotting the murder of a dear old friend.
And I am.
I rarely use the truck anymore, since I gave up horses. I need to make sure it's safe to start it. The truck and trailer are in the way. At least he won't have to go in the trailer. He hates trailers. I think most donkeys hate trailers.
Yesterday I called the neighbors, the ones with the grandkids and the pool, to be sure they would not be around. Bible camp this week? Convenient.
My chatty neighbor is full of kind advice. "You're doing the right thing. With our old horse… I wish we had… It's always hard. We'll pray for you at camp."
And then the vet's office. I had to schedule around other commitments. "Thursday? 9 a.m.? OK then. We'll arrange everything. We're so sorry." Simple.
I hang up and cry some more.
Convenient and simple, but terrible and hard.
For years he's had a hitch in his get-along. Arthritis. He'd stand up in the morning and cuss under his breath for minute, then shake it off and get on with his day. Just a bit of a limp in the right hind. Happy for ear rubs, excited about treats, glad for company.
We all have our aches and pains, right? I do, and I'm not ready to give up. He didn't look ready, either.
More and more often, though, he rests lying down in the shade. His favorite place recently is under a pecan tree up the hill, where he has a view of the yard and the house, and the ground is slo
I have a podcast to recommend to you. I've listened to it a few times before, and just listened to it again, twice, while doing some gardening at sunset out in the front yard.
The interview provides an excellent, clear, accessible, and thought-provoking introduction to Aikido. If you are not yet familiar with Aikido you'll learn a bit of its history, and how it's distinct from other martial arts. Even if you've trained for years, there's probably something new here to consider about your practice.
The podcast is just over an hour long. At about 16 minutes Walker Sensei makes a very interesting point about the practice of Aikido, in contrast to non-contact practices like (most) yoga and meditation. He also discusses his work in neurodiversity and autism rights activism.
The source is Shrink Rap Radio, with interviewer Dr. David Van Nuys, Ph.D. (AKA "Dr. Dave.") He is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Sonoma State University.
According to the brief bio on the site (from 2012), "Nick Walker received his M.A. in Somatic Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies, where he now teaches in the undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies program. He holds the rank of 6th Dan (6th degree black belt) in aikido, and has taught the art of aikido to adults, teens, and children for over 30 years. He is founder and senior instructor of the Aikido Shusekai dojo in Berkeley, Calif