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Old 07-19-2008, 10:13 PM   #10
jennifer paige smith
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Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
Re: When did you stop being a beginner in Aikido?

Hi All,
A little change of pace.....
Two days ago I sat with my 20+ year old cat as he passed in form from this life. He has been my truest companion and foundation since the y=before I even began my journey in aikido. When he cam tot me he was a young adult cat, distinguished, present and guiding. I knew that he was my friend from the moment I met him and I couldn't have imagined the years that we would travel together. For the most of our years he was the wise guide;pulling me home after class so I could feed him, sit with him and watch "Just Shoot Me". He felt so much more stable than me. As I grew in my life and in my practice he always seemed to be with or ahead of me in some intangible wisdom that he xpressed by 'being'. After 10 years I renamed him "Master Shook", referring to him as "the master" frequently.
As his years went along, he became more frail, childlike, and dependant; often waking me 2 and 3 times a night for a much needed bite of food and a stroke on the head. More chilldlike in his needs and wiser in his presence. I tried everthing I coud to make him comfortable until the end, which came in so many more years than I have any right to expect. On the last day I called my mom in a certain state of pre-grief and expressed to her the guilt I was feeling about his frail condition, I so wished I could have made him happier. My mom told me, as moms can be so good at, the story of a young girl who took on the temporary commitment of a cat that turned into a lifetime commitment of unconditional love that ended when the cat knew the young girl was happy.
And so when my cat took his last breath it was while I was laughing over an episode of M*A*S*H*. I was happy and he could move on. He was returned to the state of a child in his needs and body and I was returned to the state of a child in my innocence and joy. And if there is anything I can say for sure, the beginning mind and the new beginning mind are cycles we must go through over and over again, joyfully, willingly, wisely, humorously, honestly, innocently, and terminally. That is love. That is beginners mind. That is to say there is only now, ever and eternally. So don't forget to remember. Then Forget.
In loving honor of all my friendships new and old,
Let's all begin together, again

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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