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The last three years have flown by so quickly that I am shocked by the sudden loss of time. When last I was practicing, I had gone into a temporary retirement due to pregnancy. That was august of 2003, now here in february of 2006 my life has come full circle. I gave birth to a seven pound ten ounce baby girl named Hannah, and within a year we were seperated and now divorced. I've been delt so many low blows in the last months that its is hard to keep my head up. My court battle for custody was a joke, no matter what I did, our evidence our proof was always twisted and shut from the record. Three days ago, my daughter was taken from me, all based on heresay. Three days ago my life as I know it ended. And now today, I am rebuilding my life, preparing for another battle, preparing for the long fight for justice.
Thus I return to Aikido, to find my center of peace in the midst of the chaos in my life, to find my balance in the quiet moment when there are no papers to sign, no rush to get to work, nothing but the silence and emptiness. This is my zen, my own bauble if you will. The one thing I hold for my self.
I came back here after I was cleaning the guestroom, when I got to my Aikido equipment. The months since my ‘retirement' I have longed to get back to the mat, and to reclaim that part of my life… to feel as balanced as I once felt. Sidelined by pregnancy is a noble enough reason to step back, but still I miss being able to tumble and roll and the general sense of connection that I always felt. I feel like a leaf on the wind, tumbling away, losing sight of what once was.
Aikido was and will always be my freedom. No one told me I was too fat or too short, or that I wasn't built right or that I was lacking some prerequisite for entering into the fold. I was accepted and embraced, and the feeling was wonderful. I had been afraid to dedicate my self wholly to anything after my many years dancing and the injuries within and without that I had sustained.
I actually cried when I went to fold my hakama, as it had come undone in the move to our new home. I had hoped to be able to take my tumbles in this simple piece of apparel. My family doesn't understand but between my hakama and my Gi, there are memories, blood sweat and tears that brought me to the point I was some months ago. Its not a trophy, but a monument to growth of the mind and body. To Funny thing is that I remember someone posting to the aikido-l list long long ago, that the Gi its self and the hakama combined are merely rank indicators. I have to disagree, I remember watching everyone at the
I had hoped to be able to continue with my training over the summer, however, between financial emotional and health issues I am unable to continue through with that goal. I work late nights which leaves me feeling slightly more then drained on the two days I actually have off. Not that I'm complaining. It pays the bills.
...I just miss Aikido.
That was the uplifting part of my week, after I got done with class, homework, work work and whatever else I had to do. There is a value in having this "hobby", to me more a life style change. I was happier and healthier when I trained.
Lessons learned as always. A lesson of taking things for granted, of thinking the "small" things are truly small when they matter almost as much as the bigger things. Now things are changing. I'm getting married and moving into a house with the man I love in a little under ten weeks.
Now I have a larger commitment. How do I balance marriage and Aikido, as both are important and meaningful to me. My husband to be is understanding, but the game has changed. Things are not so simple. Aikido has changed. At least in my way of thinking.
Another level of complexity in the big jigsaw puzzle I have started...
Hopefully after I've finished moving I will be able to train again...
There is no end.
There is no beginning.
There is only the infinite passion of life.
— Federico Fellini
Tonight was my last night training with the wonderful people of our grand junction Dojo, and yet I feel no sadness in leaving. Times change, people change, but the spirit which empowers the drive which has us train remains. It is an intersting feeling between hope and the reserved tides of wistful remembrance. I didn't cry, which I thought I would, nor did I brood, which I probibly would have.
An interesting thing happened.
A mini epiphany.
I felt the "stillness" that as a dancer, an artist and author, had been so illusive. I was able to dip my hands into that stillness and understand, feel the very essence of the movements that I have been so clumsily cluttering up the last few weeks. I as an Uke, became softer. My rolls and movements lost the stop and go drag which had been so frustrating. I was comlimented several times on just how good of an Uke I have become. This from the days of fighting technique and even tripping Nage (Or "Tipping Nage" as we call it).
Testing was interesting to watch. I know I should simply sit and watch a little more often. Three people tested, all passed. There was laughter, frustration and ofcourse the all omnipotent "blank stare of bewilderdness". But the atmosphere was wonderful. Silence used to bother me, but silence this time was different. A welcome afgan around your shoulders.
"Life, we learn too late, is in the living, the tissue of every day and hour."
-Stephen Butler Leacock
How quickly time comes and goes. What was now, here but a moment ago is now yesterday. Just five months ago I was a withdrawn and fearful person. I was terrified to be touched, afraid always that I would be hit, beaten , hurt by the people around me. I was slowly dying under the strangling weight of my own fears and old habits.
Bus ticket in hand, I took a chance, to see what really going on in the upstairs gym. I wanted to run away from college, from the sudden responsibility and loneliness that had come to me. I learned a life lesson, one that I am still learning from and will to continue to until the day I leave this world. I learned to live. To trust. I had to trust, I had to have faith in my self and my partners. Staying closed and tense was not a healthy or logical choice.
I learned to let go.
And in letting go, I finally touched down and held onto the world that I had abandoned. I am different person then I was then, I am no longer afraid to be touched. I made it through a huge seminar, with oddles of new and interesting Ukes and Nages . Never once did I run away.
You see someone once told me that "An epiphany is a cosmic two by four"
Quite the reawakening..
I look back and smile. I cried, I screamed, I raged and I made it through one of the toughest times of my life. Those tears I shed have brought me here, and I am proud. I know that I am so m
Maybe I would have an answer for the questions that are plaguing my mind and pulling at my spirit.
Do I quit?
Do I fight?
Should I be this scared?
Am I hiding from the eventuality?
This is such a hard choice to make, so hard to fathom and to find the strength to surpass my fears. Once again I had another on the mat injury with a particular black belt, taking an elbow to the temple, which was no fun. I asked him politely to slow down, which he did for a while, but that lasted only so long. What bothers me, is that even though I'm a beginner with pretty good ukemi, he of all people should know, and as Nage feel that I am not ready to work at his lightning fast pace. I still have yet to find a clear way in which to convey this, as all other attempts have yielded rather poor results.
With Crocker Sensei leaving, there is only this black belt and a female 2nd kyu (soon to test for her black belt if I remember correctly) to take the teaching of the class. I'm not sure that I can learn from him. He lacks warmth and patience, in my little opinion, for those less experience, with the expectation that you will know and absorb every intricate little detail.
Do I quit? Or do I fight? I feel like I'm being torn apart, this integral thing that is mine and mine alone is suddenly in danger of being destroyed. Quitting seems logical, but then I would be letting my training partners down, and my self. I've come miles f
I have new found respect for break falling, a new sense of humility. Once upon a time, when I was still wet behind the ears, I did something incredibly stupid, now that I can look back on it. During my first round of Iriminage I truly lost my balance and hit the ground like a board. I pulled the muscles up my back and spent about six weeks being miserable and sore.
At class tonight I was breakfalling all over the place. I simply couldn't find my usual groove and relax as uke. We worked on a lot of unfamiliar techniques and even started Kaitenages, which were … different.
I tried, I really did. Tonight was one of my tired nights, I hope I didn't disappoint my partners. Focus kept on slipping. I "lost" about twenty fingers in the tanto-dori stuff we did. Note to self, don't try to catch the blade. Blade bad, blade very very bad.
On a duller note, Sensei announced that he will not be returning to teach in the fall semester. He received a job offer in another state and opted to take it. It was a somber class tonight. His teaching style is wonderful and he is perhaps the most patient person I have ever had the chance to work with. I hope that things go well for him and the future is bright and prosperous.
Denver is waiting for me, and so is the lurking beast known as "testing". By the time I will have been home a week or so, I'll have been practicing for five months, thus I'm being urged to apply for and test my fifth kyu.
I used to believe that there is inherent good in everyone.
I used to believe that my tears could heal the wounds of the world around me.
I used to believe that there is only right and wrong.
I used to believe in hero's and happy endings.
I used to believe in third and forth chances.
I used to believe that I was what other people said I was.
I used to believe that when forced to react there is no choice, this no fault.
I used to believe that if I tried hard enough I could get things right.
I used to believe that the past dictates the future.
I used to believe that my dreams would come true.
That was once upon a time, when there was that simple line between right and wrong. Stealing was wrong. Telling the truth was right and good. Hurting others was wrong. Helping others was very good.
Now, many years , tears and scars later, things are not so simple. No longer does stealing to feed your two children seem wrong, nor does helping others bring you compliments and comfort. Murder is only murder if proven beyond a doubt, prison and "correctional training" are nice and peachy. The disappearance of a child is but a whisper on the bottom of the news paper. Doing the right thing doesn't always guarantee reward or respect.
So many shades of gray, so very slippery.
We practice the "art of peace", do we not? Yet there is that trembling line that separates victim from aggressor. Things become blurred, the lines fading and obscuring, roles reversing and the old quest
For the first time in many months I watched the sun rise, quietly listening on to the sleepy noises of the night. In my transition into yoga, I learned to dip my hands into the stillness inside. The calm that resonates in that spiritual pool has eluded me for three years now. Instead of breaking into my usual routine , I sat out on the balcony , wrapped in my blanket and simply listened and absorbed everything around me.
.I think sometimes, we as individuals, and especially as Aikidoka, forget about focus.
You see, I was amazed when I first came to Grand Junction… I was in a place where there were no skyscrapers to overshadow me, no smog clouds to burn my lungs. As time has gone by, being on my own has taken its toll. Stress and illness have brought my spirits down and depression has waited for me to drop back into its vicious cycle. Now, as more issues arise, I found my self to be verging a breakdown. I spent the last many nights restless, upset not knowing why.
Yet I awoke this morning, two hours before my alarm clock was set and crept away from the warm safety of my bed. Looking out the window and past the cars in the parking lot, I saw the first lines of dawn begin to crawl across the Mesa's . I had stared so long at the things around me that I forgot why exactly I was here. Watching the Mesa's warm with morning light, I realized how small and insignificant I am in comparison to those natural landscapes. Cool, comforting calm settled over me.
Tuesday and Thursday I will hopefully be able to practice with aikido program based out of DU. Hopefully has to stretch for now, as the pain in my joints in almost excruciating, mixing with altitude sickness. Ah the joys of being home and making the five thousand foot altitude transition..
My doctors upped the dosage of my Lortab. Drosyness , upset stomach.. ugh. More misery. I could barely keep my eyes open today, sleeping about fifteen hours (this for a person who has survive off four to six hours the last month or so..). If I were to go to aikido in this state I would be an extreme danger. I wil have to attend aikido and try to work through the pain. I started a thread based on this choice. I've looked and looked, and can find relatively no resources for non medical techniques to control pain.
It's come to my thinking, musing really, that some people don't realize the physical limitations of their partners. I got to thinking about this after refusing Kosa Dori (I think). I don't believe Sensei would have approached me to try the technique if he had realized how much pain I was in. Admittedly I did snap at him when he told me I needed to do more warm up techniques. I was tired and hurting and trying hard not to take out these things on others. I'm not sure anyone could understand. Not to say that it is a matter of worthyness or experience or anything like that. Gah.. I don't... have the words to express it. Perhaps I am closing my self off again, trying to limp awa