Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday season

I am finding the holiday spirit quite interesting this year. My personal spirituality is of the universal light. Such a simple statement, yes it is true. How can such a thing as spirituality be described in a simple statement? I question that myself. For one, there is the individual perspective of spirituality. Then, of course, as one has an idea about spirituality, it may happen to be of a particular group perspective. Some beliefs may be of a group that has more followers than others, or less followers than others or there may be non-believers(or antagonists to societal norms). I feel that those that wish to chose what they believe, how they believe, or whether or not to believe is entirely up to the individual.
I have had religion, belief and worship in my life. It started when I was very young and has continued (sporadically) until this day. Along the road I have questioned everything as it has been portrayed to me. This is normal to me and I accept it as so.
Although the practice of Aikido is presented to me in a non-spiritual way, Aikido has ultimately enhanced my spirituality in a way that I am not quite sure how to describe. The practice of Aikido is for me, not a religious venture. From what I read on the internet, there are those that describe their spirituality specifically in relation to their practice of Aikido. That is o.k. to me. Those that can pinpoint the spiritual aspect of themselves by practicing Aikido, I can relate to on a certain level. Aikido may be that venue, albeit, so can Judaism and all of its denominations, Chrisitianity and all of its denominations and Islam and all of its denominations. Or, whatever Eastern religions or beliefs out there that may exist. How can I question what one is to believe to be spiritual?
I sat through a Roman Catholic sermon today. It is not unfamiliar to me, as I attended catholic high school, but I am not catholic. But the priest gave a wonderful speech about humanity. He asked that everyone look at someone nearby or close by, and describe what their faces looked like. He continued, and said that one may see the superficial aspects of the facial attributes and be able to describe those attributes. This, is of course, a description of someone that you don't really know personally. However, if one were to be asked to describe someone in which one had a close or intimate relationship, the description may offer more detail about the individual. Such as: she is really struggling with her relationship with her child, or anything else that can come to mind about that individual, but on a more personal level.
Then the sermon examined, questioned or enlightened(whichever one may view it), about what the face of their worship may actually look like. This particular face, as explained, may look very different from that person that one sits next to, and may actually take on the light of all that is destructive and evil in the world, i.e., abuse and war. That face, as terrible and horrific as it may be, reveals the suffering of those in this world and is as real as the kind gentle face of the neighbor next to you. What does the face of humanity look like? The glory and the pain.
Where does my practice of Aikido fit in to all of this?
I practice Aikido on the mat at our dojo. There are many different types of people that practice with me. We are all friends, old and new. I don't think about who believes in what. We all gather to practice Aikido and have fun. In order for us to connect with one another and perform a technique to a level in which it "feels correct"(a misconception in most cases, for me), the humanity of the individual(s) reveals itself. This, to me, is the true spirit of Aikido and the source of what Ueshiba intended in his creation of this art form.
Let us not seek the path to peace and love, for it is there for us to see in many forms, presently.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy and Healthy holiday season to all. Thanks for the memories of the past year and looking forward to the next year with all of you.

2009

This year, as usual, has just flown by in a blink of an eye. I think back to were I was last year this time, wondering where life may lead me. An important concept to ponder as I am writing these words. Wondering where life may lead me. Does life really lead me anywhere? Or, is it my view or perception of life that reveals whether or not I am being lead or whether I am doing the leading. Last year, without direction, life lead me. Why was I without direction? Because I didn't know how to lead myself in a positive way. As I have diligently practiced Aikido for the last 12 months, I have begun to discover that I can lead myself along this path, or that path as it may be. The point being, that I can now chose which path I may take. How do I chose what path I take? In some moments, I feel that the path is there for me to take and the choice is mine, whereas, other moments reveal that the choice may not be mine and there is something guiding me along the way. What does this mean to me? For one, that my life is continuing on an ebb and flow that is both chosen and unchosen. It is certain and uncertain. I used to believe that be contradicting the uncertain with my perceived intentions would inevitably lead to control of the uncertain. I have discovered that this only lead to unhappiness and internal strife. Complete control of the uncertainty in life is an invalid and untrue perception, just as when the certainty of a situation magically disappears. A perception. What reveals itself when all individual/and or group perceptions are non existent?Truth.
On the mat, leading and following in the moment is filled with truths. Truths for nage and truths for uke. Practicing on the mat, reveals many of the truths because on the mat, perceptions just don't work. These truths that present themselves, to me, is and has been the most challenging aspect of practicing Aikido. There is no hiding from "things" that reside within. Eventually, they will appear and will have to be dealt with in order to let Aikido flow in the moment. After 4 and a half years of practicing, I have only begun to stratch the surface of what it means to lead. Be present with one point, connect with uke and take them for a ride. Easier said than done, and much work has been afforded to even get to the scratch.
Well, what first started off as a simple post about last year, turned into a deep inner revelation that I can ponder for the next year and subsequent years.
Looking forward to the new beginning, and beginning and beginning......

teaching a class


is like throwing an uke...offering, accepting,waiting and blending. Enjoying the ride letting go of the results.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

how to relax


do you know how? "RELAX" he said. i got tenser. i relaxed after i believed i wasn't relaxed. there is the question again...? i can relax. Now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Be Still


Winter’s cold and darkness closes in. The days growing shorter as the earth tilts our hemisphere away from the sun. The house is buttoned up against the fierce New England winds. Cold and dark like a cave, a den. I am feeling like that hibernating creature these days. Quiet time... time to be still.

Even my aikido is entering stillness right now. It is like I am taking a slight pause, other things are calling me right now, but aikido is never far. Not on the mat as much as am used to. I do indeed feel the absence. This winter will bring adventure and travel too, but that is later and already the earth will begin her journey back to spring.

Now is time to look within। In Norse mythology this was the time of Isa. I have had a set of runes for many years and thought I’d share with you some aspects that I am exploring.

Isa is associated with the rhime-giants, the Hrimthursar and the wisdom of age। Ice can be considered "static" as many do, however, ice whether one is speaking of the rune or of actual ice, is a mysterious and surprisingly fluid substance.

This is the primal ice, the icy stream (or glacier) that flows from Niflheimr। This glacial image should also convey the power of Isa to shape other things the way a receding glacier can shape the canyon walls as well as the ability of Isa to be formed into different shapes due to the influence of other things.

Isa can bring things to a halt, or place something in suspension. But, the mysterious flow of the glacier is also inherent in Isa as it is related to the primal stream. Ice can also be an expansive force or one that crushes anything caught in its grasp.

This feels exactly where I am in my practice and my life for the two are one in the same. Even in a state that feels still and frozen, movement in happening. One of my options is to resist it and try to rail against a massive force like ice, or enter into the state with openness and knowing that ice is not forever. Isa cannot reign always. Spring will come. But for now be still... but still moving.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

the dance class


that i watched today was eye opening...there is so much to learn and let go of...Someone once told me: "that to become a great teacher I should learn something new very year...so I could remember what it feels like to be a beginner"...hence the dance class!

Monday, December 7, 2009

kata tori shiho nage tenkan


What a challange! I got to watch frustration and blaming and impatience till I was willing to let go...

Finally, I was free to focus on the technique... I had such fun...peace overcame me...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mat


is my friend...as I relax into my roll...mat holds firm as I glide over his smooth surface...each muscle, bone and tendon synchronizing in a gentle circle...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

correct distance


matters so much....taken for granted....it's lost

revisited it's found... correct distance again....