Be Here Now again.

Be here now. I never really thought about this until this morning. I just expected myself to do it. I was challenged today to ask myself: Where am I?” Here. Then, “What time is it?” Now. I saw this 3 word sentence in a new way.


I brought this questions to class. I asked Ron, Jocelyn and Anne where are you and what time is it? We focused on that for a moment then I asked them to let go of the story they brought to class about who they were, how they felt about themselves and this experience this morning.


Then I challenged my class to mirror their nage as uke and the same as nage. So if uke felt stiff to nage, nage was to respond in kind. If nage felt quick to uke …uke could become quick. We did this with any attack and the technique that rose up organically through the interaction.


The results were illuminating. Our habits got shook up because we interrupted what is normal for us.
Jocelyn had a startling break though with Ron as uke. She was so in tune with him he thought he was going to get to rest at usual place during the throw and just as he started to settle in she turned again and down he went in a smooth soft circle.


When I attacked Jocelyn she felt quick so I got quicker and it was such a revelation to change my routine of steady aggression. I continued to move quicker than what is normal for me. I used this interaction as a talking point to further illustrate what I meant to the class. Vague concepts can be hard to understand especially when well-loved habits are challenged.
I then invited nage or uke to ask questions or give feedback at any time after a series of throws.


Class was interesting and uncomfortable. I feel like I may have changed an idea that was so ingrained in me that I did not know it was there. I am still letting in come to surface.
Aikido training can be many things to many people. At Berkshire Hills Aikido I challenge long term students to examine the things that they can change, to notice how they feel and how the person feels to them and to watch their own thoughts.


It’s so easy to go sleep and to accept the mediocre from ourselves or to blame others for our choices. My life is enhanced when I feel what is here and now and make centered decisions that rise out of shared energy.

Mindful again

Aikido helps with mindfulness because each nage must be in the now with each uke in each moment. We feel what happens as we move to reconciliation together. Uke offers their energy as a gift. Nage creates a framework and accepts the gift as it is offered and moves with uke in the trough of energy.  Energy is given by uke, nage and the blending of the two.  The sum of uke, nage and energy blending creates more than is given. It creates harmony and a beautiful feeling of peacefulness.

Darkness descending

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This time of year I can feel the darkness in my soul. Ron lights candles for the front windows so I can see the flickering light when I drive up the road after work. This year we put up a holiday tree. It sparkles gaily in the last window. Just writing that makes me smile and shores up the hope in my heart.

When I look out the windows at work at 4: 15 PM the blackness is descending. The street lights get long in the snow flakes and tears form in my eyes. I walk back into the light of the office and finish up my day’s work reminding myself of the candles, the tree and Ron waiting at home for me.

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Each day is a new day. I share this because I know I am not alone. The darkness feels lonely, isolating and heavy: all an illusion. I have tools to cope. The light always comes back. Long summer days will return and the warm sun will shine again.

Does Aikido work?

There seems to be need to defend aikido. As in :”Why do you train in Aikido. It doesn’t ‘work”?”

It depends on how we define “work”.

The benefits I have received from my training include:

* Spacial awareness
* Safety consciousness
* Enhanced spirituality
* Increased flexibility
* Enhanced physicality (ability to move freely at 60 years of age)
* Awareness of what it mine and what is yours regarding what to change
* Enhanced ability to see my own side of the street
* Enhanced ability to see the good and not so good in others and accept them as they are
* Not to mention, I am more patient, and much less likely to blame others for my responses.

We all train in our own ways and get our own results.

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I would say Aikido “works” for me. Does it “work” for you and how does it “work”?

 

triggered again

 

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Last night I felt hopeless…just not wanting to do anything which is not like me. I sat curled in my comfy chair sniffling…without the energy to even give it a good cry. At work I had some conflict and it triggered me again. I felt unsafe and locked the door.

 

I am learning what triggered feels like from trying the solution that Ron and I have agreed on. I tell him that I think I am triggered and we work together to get me back to the zone of tolerance by doing the exercise that includes noting 5 things that I can see, 4 things that I can feel, 3 things that I can hear, 2 things that I can smell and 1 thing that I can taste.

Being triggered manifests in me with hopeless thoughts, like no ones loves me, life is meaningless and I suck. It does not make sense to me as I write this but the solution worked so brilliantly that it must be true.

 

After  I did the sensory exercise to get me back into the tolerance zone I was right back to my chipper self.

The simplicity of this astounds me because I have suffered a lot from this over the years. I am so grateful for this new process and I  accept it gratefully.

Call her back

 

Our power circle is what it is for each of us.

 

Mine includes god, people in 12 step fellowships, Ron, members of my dojo and my daughters, my ancestors and angels, and people everywhere that are recovering from hurts.

 

On the show Longmire, the picture of the young woman on the couch describing her feelings after she was raped was me. I saw myself in her. She was in the exact position on her couch as I was on mine, with our blankets at the same place under our chins. She shook me to my center as she spoke for me. Ron suggested that we had had enough of that show for the night.

 

The next night we watched the woman call herself back.  The old wise woman said that “her self” was taken from her. The old wise woman insisted that she call out “Morning Star, Come back.”

Morning Star dared to call herself back. “Morning Star,” she called out, softly and bravely. “Come back.”

 

Then she cried and her circle of women embraced her.

 

I thought to myself, “I could do that.”

 

That night I prayed, hopped into bed and slept soundly. I awoke in the early morning hours. I noticed how comfy and safe I felt in my warm bed with my husband Ron sleeping peacefully next to me. It occurred to me that it was time to call myself back. I called out softly and bravely, “Come back, Mary Catherine, come back.” I fell back asleep. When I woke up in the morning I could feel her. Mary Catherine is back. I am so grateful.

 

I am sharing this with my circle. I know that my circle includes all who been hurt and have had themselves taken from them. I want to tell you again that I called Mary Catherine back as Morning Star called herself back. Mary Catherine did come back. Healing can happen. It takes time and patience and work. It is happening for me. Mary Catherine is back and I am so happy to have her.

It may not seem like a big decision to you but calling myself back was the most important decision I have ever made.

Letting myself slip away, first as a child unknowingly and then as an adult unconsciously, I had diminished myself to a shadow. I am sure I looked like a person to others on the outside. On the inside I felt frozen and missing. Missing from feelings and emotions but not actions. I could act and I did.  I had been acting for years; acting like I was normal and having a fine time with daily life.

When I saw the scene in Longmire I related profoundly. I felt Morning Star’s pain and I felt hope that I could be called back too. I didn’t even know I was missing until that moment. I felt like an observer to my own life. I would think to myself, “I wonder what someone else would feel like in this circumstance,” and then I would act like I thought a real person would act.

Separation from me must have started very early because I have been an observer of myself for years. Grade school was painful and I learned that to be part of children’s life you must adapt on the fly. Being invisible served me well. I would try out a behavior and then notice how humiliated I felt when again I did not get the social norms. I would go back into my barely seen self. I seldom spoke and often pretended to be sleeping. Some might call it shy but I felt more like the unseen. If I could not see myself then I was not there.

I could blend in at home too….if my father slammed the door in a particular way I remember slinking off and disappearing in the house. I suppose they could see me but I kept my energy level low and was less likely to get tossed about the house or screamed at.

My teenage years were especially painful. I wanted to be seen but could not bring myself to speak. I did learn some facial expressions that conveyed sarcasm and wryness while still covering up my rotten gaping teeth.  Once in a great while I would forget myself and smile only to be reminded of my folly with the look of disgust or pitying questions about the dentist.

The only place I felt comfortable being seen was in motion. Whether shooting a basketball, running after a grounder, swimming, diving or riding my bike; I knew freedom. I lost the bondage of myself in the ecstasy of the exercise.

I got my teeth fixed at 17 and started peeking at myself: tiny, fleeting looks cut short by sever self-judgment. I started drinking alcohol at 18 and understood freedom of self. I could act extemporaneously for the first time since early childhood. I loved it. Unfortunately I drank too much, too often, and caused real problems for myself.

I stopped drinking for good at 29 and unconsciously went back into observing, judging myself and disappearing.

I have lived a long sober life and finally the pieces are falling into place. It was safe to call myself back and when the time was right I was given the tools and the wherewithal.

So come back, Mary Catherine, come back to stay. It is necessary. Everyone won’t like and admire you but some will and most important you can continue to learn to accept and love yourself.

Come back, young Mary, Come out from behind that couch. Daddy is dead and will never throw you across the room again for breaking a plastic clock. He can’t beat you with his belt for running and laughing and playing. Your father’s blue eyes and early kindness in captured in your grandson. You can see the pure love in those blue eyes and trust that your father loved you too though caught in his own web of fear and volatile anger.

Come on back, teenage Mary. Yes, your grandpa is dead and will never hug you again or sit on the side hill counting rail road cars with you. But he walks with you whenever you see the wind in the poplar trees or hear a train’s whistle. And whenever you feel that presence that you can’t explain… Grampy is there…he is your guardian angel and will never go away again.

 

Come back, young mother, Mary Catherine… yes, you were overwhelmed and made many poor choices based in self-centered fear and ignorance.  A few have suffered greatly because of your behaviors and you still must come back. They are still with you in your life and will benefit greatly from knowing you now.

Come back, older mother, Mary Catherine…with children running from you and memories of rape and abuse coming back and the same thing happening to your children. Come back, come back. All can heal. We can heal together but we need you here. There is nothing that is too bad to be faced and healed together.

Come back, perimenopausal Mary Catherine, yes, your anxiety caused you to make more choices to save yourself. It is okay…jobs left and teaching opportunities lost were for your greater good. It is okay. You are here today. We can move forward.

 

Yes, come back, Mary Catherine, dear. I need you here in the now. It is okay to feel and to see and be seen.  A lifetime of being unseen and disappearing is over. I see you now. I love and need you. You can continue on your path of healing.  The love I give to Ron and receive back from him is tangible.  That feeling of completeness is real.  It my connection to my mother and her mother, to my daughters and to my grandchildren, and to the beautiful large mother that is. It is real….I have faith, unshakable faith. I am here. I am seen and I can feel. Welcome back, Mary Catherine, You are loved here.