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I hope my neighbors are in their beds, dreaming their dreams, late at night.
I hope they are sound sleepers, sawing logs, not bothered by much.
I hope they are not nosy; not peering from their windows with the lights out.
It's bad enough I feed the donkeys after class, and sometimes after dinner.
The braying at 10:30 could be trying if my neighbors were awake.
The clatter of cat food into dishes, and splashing of water into large bowls,
Might not be too bad. At least the kitties are well enough behaved.
I hope my neighbors are not fearful.
They would surely wonder what that crazy Eskin lady is doing now,
out there in the dark, swinging and swirling a rake handle overhead
while the donkeys munch their hay.
"Has she at last gone completely mad?"
How could they know that practicing the 20 jo suburi in the stillness
is the perfect way to settle down before settling into bed?
If they do see, I hope my neighbors don't worry.
"Why on earth is she lying on the driveway, on her back, at 2 a.m.?"
Maybe they haven't seen the observatory in the yard.
Maybe they didn't read the news about the meteor shower.
"And why is that rake handle lying across across her chest?"
Perhaps they haven't noticed the raccoons,
Who've come to eat the cat food.
Earlier this week as I was doing a few hours of mundane chores - tasks that required no mental effort - I noticed that my mind was dwelling on random things. I wondered about the kind of person who would leave a Mercedes SUV idling for 30 minutes near the open door of the dojo, while they waited for someone shopping next door. I admired the craftsmanship in a piece of artwork as I dusted it, and thought how we can be known by the quality of our work long after we are gone. I reminded myself, again, that I really ought to clean out my car. I thought about community, and how everyone contributes in their own way. I considered patching a few little nicks in some drywall, and wondered what a stray half-inch sheet metal screw might have fallen off of.
I noticed the amount of energy and creativity that was necessary to think these pointless, and sometimes negative thoughts, and decided it would be better spent planning the kids' class I was going to be teaching later that day, or generating ideas for future writing projects. If I was going to put so much effort into thinking about something, it might as well be positive and useful, right?
So, I tried that, and within moments was off thinking about something else - maybe the design of the stepladder, or how it is that some people can't figure out which way to drive through our parking lot. I didn't even realize my mind had wandered off, of course, until later. "Hey, wait a minute… Wasn't I supposed to be outlining chapters i
In addition to writing my blog, I am part of a group of women called "The Mirror," here on AikiWeb. We write one of the monthly columns, taking turns each time. My most recent one, "What I Learned by Not Going to a Seminar" was published on December 31st. Enjoy...
"For months my teacher, Dave Goldberg Sensei, had been planning to participate in the Dead Sea Seminar, led by Miles Kessler Sensei and Patrick Cassidy Sensei, in Israel. There were to be other stops along the way, making this a 15-day trip for him. Before the seminar, Sensei would stop in Switzerland to train, and was to teach an Aikido Without Borders class in the Ramallah, in the West Bank. A couple of dojo mates were planning to participate in the seminar as well. It was a big deal, to have a contingent from our dojo going, and it would be the longest time Sensei had been away.
I'm so excited about this year. I've spent the past 6 months, the last half of 2012, getting ready. I transitioned from full-time to part-time work so I could focus more on Aikido and writing. I've started organizing my work, found resources, learned new tools, and gotten ongoing coaching. I launched my own publishing company (which has yet to publish anything, but it'll be there when I need it), Shugyo Press. I've finished up projects, and gotten rid of things I'm not using. I've given musical instruments away, put horse stuff on consignment, and donated books. I've cleared out and cleaned up space, in my house, on my shelves, and in my mind. Yesterday, New Year's Eve, I spent the whole day cleaning, right down to the cobwebs on the ceiling and the gunk on the baseboards. Michael and I enjoyed a quiet little celebration with a long-time friend.
Now, fueled by a good night's sleep and two cups of coffee, I'm on a ridge looking over a vast plain. I have time to think and room to move. I won't try to plan out 2013 - there's too much I don't know - but I have an idea of the direction I want to take. I can see what lies just ahead pretty well, though, and I'm really excited about it. Here's what I have planned for the next few weeks:
Today, New Year's Day - Clean the dojo in preparation for a seminar this coming weekend, and then head to another local dojo, Jiai Aikido, for a joint Kagami Biraki training session and potluck with the nice folks the