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Old 12-30-2010, 03:18 PM   #6
Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 371
Re: Receiving and Giving Gifts

Greetings Lynn,

Henceforth, I am Francis, and you are Lynn.

Love your angst, originality and your courageous willingness to step into unchartered regions and waters. Probably what makes you effective as a therapist, and invaluable as an Aiki resource and instructor.

Permit me to seek clarification of your statement “The most important gift we can give is of ourselves. The most important gift we can receive is of another person.”.

Is it really possible, feasible or even recommended to be so casually trusting by exposing one’s essence and vulnerability so unconditionally to another fallible human being? I would cringe if someone offered “of themselves” to me without any condition, agreement or understanding of necessary boundaries or conditions to such a gift. The responsibility to my mind would be massive and crushing. Rather, may we substitute the word “from” in the place of “of”, thereby reserving the right to retain certain characteristics or essential features of ourselves that would prove too fragile outside of our control. Perhaps then, throughout the course of the relationship, we can determine which parts to share, to relinquish, and to exchange reasonably, safely, and with full mutual benefit and proper regard for each other.

Training with eyes, ears and spirit wide open and aware means to not haphazardly expose ourselves to needless risk without reward or benefit. The unwritten agreement that knowing and mindful training partners forge for their practice includes a full appreciation, regard and respect for the potential rewards and consequences from honest exchange during such training. Not taking anything for granted is understood by experienced practitioners of any art form, and is a symbol of the high regard each of us should retain and expect for and from ourselves.

The old school tradition of carefully and fully vetting any potential newcomer to training underlay the commitment to fully examine the credential, bona fides and the personal character references from established masters of the time. Trust was never automatic, and the societal standards of integrity were continually challenged, and strict rules of conduct and etiquette always applied. Even this was no guarantee, but it did keep the standards high.

For those who choose to instruct, either formally or informally, it is probably better to encourage rather than to demand, to be empathetic rather than remaining aloof, and to continually guide our charges safely and resolutely towards gaining the experience of proper training and development.

After all, as experienced veterans, we have all been there, and done that.

In oneness

Last edited by aikishihan : 12-30-2010 at 03:22 PM.
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