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For 5 days, starting bright and early this Thursday morning (May 17th, 2012), I will be off on an Aikido road trip. I'll be driving to northern California and back for the "O Sensei Revisited" workshop, at a lovely little camp/retreat center. You're invited to come along. You don't even need to pack, just get in the car!
Here's the description from the flyer: "The inner work of O Sensei should not be lost. Nadeau Sensei believes that it is critical to preserve this face of Aikido and to experience the O Sensei process of development. Through direct practice as well as techniques, weapons work, and discussions, we will highlight this aspect of O Sensei."
I'm planning on posting all along the way, time and internet access permitting.
Please note that I will not be posting here. Instead, please go to www.grabmywrist.com to follow along. Why? Several reasons: There will be a lot more posts than usual, possibly several each day, a lot of it won't be about Aikido, and I'll be mostly posting from my phone. It will be a bit of a mess. When I get back I'll write up a proper post here.
If all goes as I hope, there will be a class with Saotome Sensei on the way up, visits with a few friends, and an annular solar eclipse on the way back. The scenery should be amazing. I'm expecting the workshop itself to be an intense one, with five brilliant instructors over three long days. A dozen people are going from our dojo
Today, May 5, 2012, it's three years since I first stepped onto the mat.
I had a post half written, about dates and seminars and exams, but wasn't feeling it. Those things aren't important. Instead, it's the tiny things that have made this year exquisite. Warm smiles, sharp corrections, chats over meals, and everyone growing and becoming more confident together - these are the things that continually open my mind and touch my heart. Little "aha!" moments, meditating on big questions, feeling and finding connection, and remembering how to let go and play. Laughter, joy, and vigorous jiyuwazas, jumping up to take ukemi as often as I can, and sinking into seiza to bow out at the end of class, breathless and elated.
How fortunate I am, to have this opportunity and ability to train, this insightful and inspiring teacher, and this loving and compassionate community, in our dojo and in the world! I am grateful beyond words.
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.