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I Got Nothing
I Got Nothing
by Lynn Seiser
12-31-2014
I Got Nothing

Breathe in, message
Breathe out, vehicle
I got nothing

Sometimes we have those days. You know what you want to say and you have a vehicle to say it and you sit down and you have just got nothing. Its writer's block. I figure it usually works if I just sit down and start writing something, anything, knowing that I can edit it out later until I find that groove, that flow, that thread. And I got nothing. Mentioned it to my wife, my proofreader and muse, and she said, "Then write about that".
Message: (1) communication, (2) meaning, significance, lesson, moral, point and understanding, (3) errand, (4) commercial
I often have the same message in my columns, my training, and my life. When confronted with a negative turn it into a positive. So if I breathe in (experience or encounter) a negative person or situation, I want to find a way to transform it, see through it, so I do not give back in kind.

In the dojo, I train. It is my safe place. Many people go because it is a safe context to push their comfort zone into a place of confronting fears. For me, the real world of social superficiality has been far more fearful than what I experience on the mat. But, whatever intent/purpose we train for, it is available to us. O'Sensei suggests that Aikido could be the medicine for a world in confusion, chaos, and conflict (sick) world. The message in non-resistance training is that force and power (anger and hate) are the weaker inferior messages and that we need to cultivate, facilitate, and perpetuate a message of love if we are to heal.

In life, there is the message of empathy, compassion and love. When we look at what we all profess to want, what usually comes to the top of the list is love. I may want many things, but usually it is that someone who will hopefully, finally love me. As a couple's and family therapist, I see it all the time. If we feel loved, than almost any problem is solvable because we do it together and will be stronger because of it. If we do not feel loved, everything leads to that one wound.

So I got a message, but how do I communicate it?
Vehicle. (1) a means or structure of transportation, (2) a communication medium, (3) performance, (4) a mixture or blending, (5) a channel, instrument, conduit, or tool
In the dojo, I communicate my message through my training and teaching. Just showing up is a message of appreciation for the context, the opportunity, and the willingness of others to show up too. I am not alone. We are different ages and different skill levels, and probably with a different purpose to our training, but we are here in the same place, at the same time, to do physically the same thing. We are here to train something even if we are unsure what that is yet. The dojo and training is our structure and means/medium of communication. We are communicating that we want to be better and live in a better world without all the confusion, chaos, and conflict. We could find the opportunity to train these desires anywhere, but we choose to use today and each other as the vehicle for that change.

In life, we come together in relationships to resolve old issues in an attempt to find that often-illusive love. Yet, we often just repeat and reinforce what we have always done. They say if you always do what you have always done that you will probably get what you always got. We are also taught that if you try something and it does not work that we should try the same thing more and harder. Perhaps we need to try something else. Most of the time I hear people (out of their hurt and anger -- a very close association) complaining and accusing the other person of wrong doings that prevents them from feeling loved and being happy. The other person responds in kind. We have two people doing exactly what they need to do to get exactly what they don't want and perpetuating a system that will never work. The relationship is the context (not content) of letting go of the past and learning how to let love in and let love out.
Nothing: (1) not anything, (2) something of no importance, (3) not having quality, (4) zero amount, (5) a state of nonexistence, nonentity, nobody, or unknown, (6) no-thing
Yet, when I sat down to write, I had the message and I had this column as the vehicle, but I had nothing. Perhaps like a Zen koan or zazen meditation, I had to sit with my nothingness until I accepted it, appreciated it, and embraced it.

In the dojo, there are many days I got nothing. No idea why I was going. No idea what I was doing (could not find a rhythm if I had to). And, no idea what I got out of it. In the moment, I got (and probably gave) nothing. But, nothingness has an accumulative effect. It is one more exposure, experience, and repetition to that magic number that will allow me to move beyond my current training plateau. Perhaps it is not that I got nothing, but I got nothing yet, or I am not aware of what I got.

In life I often say that I do not have a dog in this fight or that fight. I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. At times, I can kick back and with calm mindfulness watch and accept the world as is spins without my assistance. In the big scheme of things, I am not so important. In the big scheme of things, it is not that I got nothing, but I do not need or want anything more than I already have.

So there you have it, the messages (repeated once again -- but remember that repetition is the means to skill acquisition), the vehicle (that Aiki-Web has provided me), and the truth (I got nothing).

Breathe in, message
Breathe out, vehicle
I got nothing

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!

Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for over 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation and Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance. He is the co-author of three books on Aikido (with Phong Sensei) and his martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders, victims, and families of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He is a professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains and teaches at Kyushinkan Dojo, Roswell Budokan.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:19 PM   #2
JP3
 
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Re: I Got Nothing

My lady-wife just began a new job in which there is a leadership philosophy based on comparing two triangles, one above and one below, reflecting one another. The difference in the "points" of the two triangles (remember, they are reflections of one another, so if one is positive in an up-down paradigm, then one is "positive" the other "negative" in the scheme)).

For example, the top-most point in the upper triangle is Leader, the bottommost point in the bottom triangle is Rescuer. It's like the parable teaching a man to fish, and feeding him and others for a lifetime, rather than giving him a fish or two, and feeding him for a day.

Sometimes.... you have nothing. It strikes me that is when learning can take place. It is often times the something that we have that gets in the way of learning. I am positive that anyone who has trained for more than a couple years knows about this.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:51 PM   #3
crbateman
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Re: I Got Nothing

Mushin. No mind. The older I get, the easier I find it is to achieve...
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:15 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: I Got Nothing

Quote:
John Powell wrote: View Post
Sometimes.... you have nothing. It strikes me that is when learning can take place. It is often times the something that we have that gets in the way of learning. I am positive that anyone who has trained for more than a couple years knows about this.
Yes agreed.
I like the concept that we both reflect and complement each other. Its an inter-connected and inter-dependent thing that works best by being inclusive.
Learning does occur best in an empty space that is receptive. What is that old saying: the mind and heart work best like a parachute, when its open.
Cultivating the mindset that "got no-thing" isn't a bad-thing is often difficult, but very worthwhile.
Thanks for reading and responding.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:20 AM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: I Got Nothing

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Mushin. No mind. The older I get, the easier I find it is to achieve...
LOL
Yes agreed.
Though I try no to confuse being forget-full and an air-head (okay, we can add a senior-moment and a blonde/grey-moment) with mushin - but then again ... (got nothing).
Thanks for reading and responding.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:03 AM   #6
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Re: I Got Nothing

Great column Lynn! Happy New Year! I wish you and your family the best.

Chris Sawyer
Training day is every day
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Old 01-01-2015, 05:51 PM   #7
Susan Dalton
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Re: I Got Nothing

Good column, Lynn, thank you! Clark, it's not that I have no mind; I just can't remember where I put it. Or what I had in it a minute ago.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:16 PM   #8
crbateman
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Re: I Got Nothing

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
I just can't remember where I put it. Or what I had in it a minute ago.
Can't remember where you put WHAT?
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:11 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: I Got Nothing

Quote:
Chris Sawyer wrote: View Post
Great column Lynn! Happy New Year! I wish you and your family the best.
Thanks Chris ...
Good to see you back with the Tenshinkai family ...
Remember that training is accumulative, so even on the day you think you "got nothing" you are still making progress towards that threshold of having "something"...
Read George Lenards's book on Mastery ...
Thanks for reading and responding ...

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:12 AM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: I Got Nothing

Quote:
Susan Dalton wrote: View Post
Good column, Lynn, thank you! Clark, it's not that I have no mind; I just can't remember where I put it. Or what I had in it a minute ago.
My sons always remind me that I cannot lose what I never had ... LOL

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:13 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: I Got Nothing

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Can't remember where you put WHAT?
Exactly ... LOL

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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