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.
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.
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.
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.
I would say Aikido “works” for me. Does it “work” for you and how does it “work”?
Ki in daily life is the writing prompt Ron gave me a few days ago. I asked him to take it back but he didn’t.
I am feeling blah around it but I am practicing new behaviors so here we go.
I have noticed lately that I am feeling low. I am not excited to get out of bed. I am having a lot of negative thoughts like:
“I have worked my whole life and this is where I have ended up.” I need to make more money or have more recognition.” Now the more money would be nice but I don’t need someone telling every second that I am doing a good job.
As I have said before I am turning sixty in a few days. I think the pall that I feel is because something in the back of my mind says 60 is the big one: the one where we really are all done. No more fun…just grown up hard stuff.
That being said…and I am going to keep telling about it until it passes because I know that it is a lie and if I keep telling it will diminish like all untruths…only the truth lasts and I want to live in the truth.
That being said…I feel great. Last night Ron and I went for a bike ride after work. We had a nice healthy dinner and then cleaned up the kitchen.
We played mitts and sticks and then an exciting game of “Ticket to Ride” where we had some healthy fun feuding. He gets to wear the imaginary engineer hat and scarf because he won yet again.
Work felt long yesterday and I felt lonely for a bit and sad because I think I don’t get to see my family enough.
I noticed all this because I pay attention to my feelings and notice when they arise and how long they last and if they are true or a deliberate manufacturing of self-pity.
Ron and I have a lovely life together. Yet I can wander away from it to torture myself with “what ifs”…”what if we lose the house?, what if I die first?…what if I die last? What if I get dementia? What if I am a street lady?”
I can let myself get filled with self-centered fear like a helium balloon that breaks the string and flies off to balloon heaven (or hell).
I practice ki in daily life by coming back to what is real. And what is real in each moment is that I am ok. I am so ok.
Then I can see if I am ok in this moment maybe I will be ok in all the moments. One moment at a time.
I come back to now by doing something physical…it may be going for a walk, hopping on my bike for a spin, doing some ki exercises, juggling for a few moments, vacuuming the floor, sweeping the cobwebs off the lights and my mind. Sometimes I go out to the dojo and do rolls just to remind myself that I can.
I might write down what is bothering me, or I might write a gratitude list and share it with my gratitude group. I might write an email to my sponsor or tell Ron what is going on. I might write my blog. Sometimes I just get on my knees and pray for help. I have many tools to bring me back to the moment where all is well.
I think the challenge of getting older is to stay in the now as much as possible and to appreciate all the gifts that abound around me.
I do not have to give up and sit in my chair like my mother did. I want to grab the rest of this life and live it. I love to be alive and I am happy for the chance to see what my sixties look like on me.
I used to think that all men were saviors. Then I thought all men were abusers.
When I was a little girl I thought men kept us safe and protected us from the world. After I started training I thought all men hurt women and there was no hope.
Now I know the truth is complicated. Good men exist. Good men do bad things sometimes. Bad men do bad things and maybe good things sometimes.
No man is coming to save me. That is my job. I can learn from all situations. Every single moment can teach me more about survival and thriving.
I spent many years looking for my knight is shining armor. Trust me…he is not sitting on a bar stool.
I starting training in Aikido and found a good man: but better than that I found a good woman who no longer was willing to be saved or be abused.
In aikido I found my own power. It started subtly as I trained with men who were rough around the edges but had good hearts. Men who encouraged me to roll and to wear my white gi pants to fit in; that didn’t care if I looked pretty or got sweaty.
There were men in that dojo that were self-absorbed and sexist …just like there is all over the world. There were men who did not want to be taught by a woman and who told me that women can’t get strong enough to protect themselves.
I just kept training and teaching. People that did not like our way at our dojo went away. We find that good people stay. We found that men are good and strong and respectful just as women are good and strong and respectful.
As we change, the people that we surround ourselves with change too. I am responsible for the choices I make. As men and women train together they can receive and give the best from each other.
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.
You were my first. My first death. What a shock it was when I realized you were gone and never coming back. I was fourteen and you were 79. I love you so… still, writing this brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat. Who will sit on the hillside and count train cars with me? Who will trek up the hill in the woods by the tracks and get Gramma’s greens for her Christmas window boxes? Who will sit in our chair together and read the same stories over and over? Who will love me even when I am not speaking to them because they read the wrong words just to tease me?Who will hold my hand and walk around the farm with me ?
Who will I sit and watch wrestling with? No one can yell at Big Moose Sherlock like you did. Who will sing the soft Irish songs or chuckle at my school troubles and make them better with a joke or a poem?
No one can fill my Grampy hole. You were it for me. After you it was a mess. Thank god you still look out for me. I know you helped me through drunken scrapes when I was lost. I still feel you and know that your love is real. Thanks, Grampy for teaching me about love. I do believe in it and feel it in the world today because of your love for me.
Love Mary Catherine