Sunday, November 8, 2009


Back at home for a while. My gi bag is unpacked new t-shirts admired Flowers put in vase, sweet card read, certificate resting on the table…. I can’t help but smile. Today was a special day, but it was also just a day. A day of moving and exploring, a day of love shared, and of recognition of our aikido journeys; a day that carried such significance for me. And it was just a day in many. Sun-shining, seasons changing… there unto itself and along with everything else, I noticed the “day” itself. I appreciated it in its own grandness beyond what was happening for me.

Oh how lovely to be alive and part of this day’s greatness. Beyond my own, but shared along with so many other beautiful people. Each and every one of you is amazing and to have so many together in one place… well that is immeasurable, inspiring, and humbling. Today I was able to share with cherished friends on and off the mat my love and passion for this art, which is as much about who we are as what we are doing. What really amazes me about our community of aikidoists is that we really do seek the feeling of harmony and connection. We also have a darn good time and share a lot of laughter and joy as well as our fears and struggles. What most stands out for me though is this willingness to journey and grow together; to gaze fully into each other’s lives, even if just for that time on the mat. It is incredibly special.

And today is just a day already giving way to night, on it’s own journey. The earth whirls and the stars twinkle grander and greater than anything my small self may be able to comprehend. I will keep showing up, as will many of us. Each day will hopefully renew finding us living, seeking, and growing. And on the mat!

Thank you everyone for making so many days noticed and for celebrating on this momentary pause of noticing each other on this shared day.

Here are the poems I wrote and read.

The Beginning

I remember wanting
To move like that
To be in the flow like that
My mouth fell open
My eyes fixed
My body vibrated
Like the ringing of a bell

The black and white blurred
Who was who?
I saw mere people fly
Maybe they were not
Mere people, but some
Special beings that could
Loosen the bonds of gravity
And become like great birds

I only knew I wanted
To be as they were
To become a great bird
If only for an instant
I could not take that step then
My want was not enough
To overcome the fear
That had long sat in my belly

I tried to forget
Cradled my fear and anger
A little longer, telling myself
This keeps you safe
But you know you cannot
Contain the wind
Once it starts to blow
Even if the slightest breeze

The wind was blowing now in me
Blew me back to the place
Where I first saw them
Mere people as great birds
Again I felt the yes
The ringing of a bell
The breeze now a full force gale
Blowing me beyond my fear

The Unraveling

Left and right
I don’t know which is which
How hands and feet
Are supposed to move
All together
What do you mean?
It’s not about the hands and feet
This thing called One Point

So many black belts
I am not one of them
I can barely tie my belt
I wonder if they notice me?
Please don’t notice me
Try to hide behind others
Just keep rolling
Somewhere in here is One Point

Testing brings new colors
Brings new expectations
Brings new fears
Are these people safe?
Do they really see me?
Accept me with all my faults
I wonder if this is home
Sometimes stumbling over One Point

I have become noticed
I think I have found One Point!
Oh there it goes… oh now it’s back
Sometimes a great bird calls me
Loosens the bonds of gravity
Gives me a chance to fly
Harder to hide now
Old fear and anger have been waiting

I weep for the world
Because so many have so little
The dojo is far away
My center unknown to me
My teachers, the great birds
In an unexpected place
Remind me I have a place
A home for my full self

The Continuing

I have found home
Where my absence is noticed
My full self opens
Sometimes the slightest breeze
Or a full force gale
No one turns away
Instead we enter and turn
Finding the common center

Maybe I could teach
Just teach what you know
I know something
I know nothing
That’s the gift; it’s both at once
Student and teacher are
One in the same like
Black and white blurred

Beginners teach me even as I teach
Always back to beginner’s mind
Which is no mind, just doing
Loosens the bonds of gravity
Loosens the bonds of ego
To overcome the fear
One Point now felt in my belly

You know what?
We are not great birds
More like flying squirrels
Or opossums and otters
Stretching, tumbling, rolling,
We can still soar through the air
But only for an instant
Always we must return to earth

The wind is blowing in me now
You cannot contain the wind
Even in a mere person
No need to question who is who
It is the common center
It carries us along
Our bodies humming, vibrating
Like the ringing of a bell

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