Join Date: Jul 2008
A heartfelt thanks.
To Janet and everyone, I truly feel compelled to thank you. It has helped me, personally, more than you could know, to read this thread. I have come to the following place, and I just wanted to share it in the hope that I may reciprocate in some small way to anyone finding his/herself in a similar predicament. Please know that though I may speak definitively, I do so only by means of my own conviction to what I say, feel and think, not in any way to make generalizations or to impose my beliefs on anyone else.
You cannot help who you love. Love doesn't let you choose. However, you always, at any singular moment, have the choice of what to do with that love, or that anger, sadness, etc. I find reassurance in Ms./Mrs. Rosen's words. The answer lies in the art itself: aikido. The way of harmony of the spirit. Few things may be more spiritual than love, and love takes many forms. I think the difficulty is in distinguishing between love, lust, adoration, obsession- and those answers come only with having the courage to know yourself. Once knowing yourself, the even more challenging task of being true to yourself. Aikido will give you that, if you let it.
I have had a deep fondness and attraction to one of my senseis for nearly one year. For me, I have found a great love for him. It continues to grow. It was painful only at first, but now I truly believe that was only because I allowed it to hurt me. If I let the myriad physical ramifications take hold of my mind, then yes, the nights of wishing and longing and hoping can consume me. I actually found myself digging deeper into my training. I found myself welcoming contact with him, welcoming the dichotomous joy and pain it brought, forcing myself to feel everything to the utmost, letting it in and not letting it go until I found the lesson waiting inside. Emotions can teach us so much if we let them. I truly feel there is this stereotype, if that's the right word, that says that love may only be realized if it is reciprocated by the one with whom you are in love, and through the prescribed acts thereof, i.e. sexual intercourse, and so on. But where I stand today, I feel I know differently. I'll try to explain.
I am still very much in love with him. I do not know or, in truth, care if he feels the same way for me. That's not to say I wouldn't be ecstatic were it to be possible, but it is highly unlikely. Regardless, I have been true to myself and acted accordingly to the best of my ability. I did not seek out another more attainable relationship with which to divert my feelings for my sensei. I remain true to him because I have to face what I feel and who I am, and for whatever reason, I do love him, and for whatever reason, it is through this love that I am growing, becoming a better person, much stronger, and it has everything to do with how much aikido means to me this very moment.
I would never want to burden him with my feelings. It would put him in a terrible position, and to lay the responsibility of trying to deal with me and maintain his status at our dojo is something I could never do to him. I would never want to make him uncomfortable, or to break the beautiful harmony that occurs when training begins. I know he is very fond of me as a student- his words and actions dictate this, and in his case due to his profession outside the dojo, it is particularly rewarding to him to see his students progress over time. Of this joy I could never deprive him, not for a moment, not on my account, never for my sake. He is far too valuable to our dojo, and to the art of aikido, and for me to put him in that position would be asking of him, though inadvertently, more than I would ever want to ask of anyone I care for so much.
I love aikido. I love all my senseis, but I love one sensei in a way I've never loved a man before. The aikido and love are at once separate, and at once entirely the same. As many of you have said, time is often the best course, and it seems the answers we're looking for are already in our own questions. Sometimes just the act of asking means an answer. Sometimes we know what we want, or what we think we want, and we ask questions for validation; in the end, it is of no consequence- we can no more hide from our own truths than we would, truly, wish to avoid them.
Being human, as human is all any of us can ever hope to be, I feel it is dangerous to set parameters on human nature. It is almost an absurd yet understandable notion to think that we can tidily put such situations in a box and label it "ethical", "unethical", "immoral", "moral" or "inappropriate" and shelve it, neatly, in the catacombs of our mind if only to make living in our own skin more manageable. Every being and every circumstance is unique. The threads may weave a similar pattern, but the threads always are different. If anyone conducts his/herself in a manner inconsistent with the most intrinsic basis for human compassion and consideration, then the issue is the behavior, not the circumstance. Love has no boundaries, no stipulations, and no "rules" to play by. Could you call it love if it did? I truly believe, and please try not to take offense, but I truly do believe that there can be nothing wrong between any two people, regardless of what label we impose on them, be it "sensei", "student", "boss", etc., loving each other. It is up to the individuals to conduct themselves in a manner consistent to that love, and in honoring their commitments and obligations to those around them. It doesn't have to be about what is tricky or difficult, complicated or perhaps met with resistance. It is only ever about what is worth doing.
I never thought I would see things this way. I never thought I'd find peace in myself again. The desire to be as close to him as anyone could be- to be his confidant and supporter, his lover, and the longing to be desired by him, was all-consuming, and there were many times, countless times, I thought I'd never overcome or resolve this. Time is what it took, and only time could've done it. I am so pleased to share this with Janet- I now have a newfound respect for time and all its wonders.
Love can be anything you let it be. Of that I feel certain. For me, my love for my sensei has grown into a profound respect and admiration for aikido. It has inspired me to train even more devotedly. It has compounded, rather, an already keen appreciation for the art; I could never leave this dojo, permanently, or my training companions. Were I to do so due to something such as love unreciprocated, or a love failed, that would be truly in poor form, selfish, egotistical, even, these all of which, as we all do know, have no place in the heart of an aikidoka. To run away from that pain would mean a great sacrifice to training. We are our own enemies; the discord in our minds our only opponent. And I walk through the door to the dojo, and step onto the mat, and my love grows, and I'm joyously overwhelmed, and for even a few hours, a few days a week, I am more myself, more alive, than ever I was even moments before. And when this glorious man, for he is a man, first and foremost, comes in, and we bow, and he steps on the mat, I am more his student and a student of life than ever I could've been, otherwise. He has made me a better person, and I have let myself become better because of him. If that's not love, if that's not aikido, what is?