Monday, November 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Am I enough

even if I am broken or bent? "Of course!" I say to others.
Inside me there is a tiny voice that says "NO, go hide until you are better. Don't drag your chair out on the mat and throw. How embarrassing! What will people think?"
The little voice...(I have named her Mildred), is a negative part of my brain that would like me isolated, alone, drinking myself to death.
As I sat in my chair in class yesterday I noticed she had really quieted down, especially after I led warm ups. After I got to throw shomen uchi sankyo from my chair she completely disappeared. Have you ever noticed that when you shine the flashlight of your heart on the demons in your mind the demons melt away into the nothingness.
See ya on the mat. I will be the one in the chair for a little while longer until my knee really heals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I hold hope in my hand
It is tiny and fragile
Like a small bird newly born
So when fear steps in
I must resist the urge
To clench too tightly
To crush the hope
I need most then
Instead let my hands
My heart
My being
Be open
Hope to be realized
Must leave me
And enter the world
To grow its wings
Fly to the hand
The heart
The being
Of all

Last night I really

felt what not being on the mat four times a week does for me. I felt lost, alone and that it was always going to feel this way. Dark thoughts seem like reality in the middle of the night. Hearing Dora’s voice in my head reminded me that when it seems the darkest is when it seems like it will last forever. It really is neither dark nor forever.

Training for me is everywhere. Last night in my bed…I trained. I prayed…I remembered what was real. I can’t ever blame uke. What is going on inside of me is my reaction to the circumstances at hand. Breathing deeply I looked at myself and my choices. The thoughts I was entertaining were hurting me. I looked for other possibilities. I changed what I could. I could breathe more. I could focus on my breath. The anxiety lifted slowly. I woke up later not refreshed but not crazy with anxiety. I slept again…grateful for my training that I can do anywhere.

Monday, October 4, 2010

sore toe,

sore knee...good attitude...all is well...healing thoughts appreciated.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

i am grateful

i practice this art of peace. i can take my judgement and need for revenge to class. peace will be restored in me and my universe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Restrict Without Restricting

Sometimes the body needs to have its way.
An injury needs time to heal
But the ego-mind do not always get it
Not wishing to relent to that greater will
So the body has to make itself more clear
More pain is clear

How to restrict movement
Without restricting the entire body
Without restricting the heart-mind
Ki does not seem to flow and I am impatient
Slowly the body and mind begin to loosen
Restriction uncoiling brings new clarity

Less can be more for now
It will not be forever
I love this body for what it can do
And the wisdom it has to teach me
Who better to be the most loving with me than me
It is all so clear

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

i had a

body memory yesterday that caused me to be really confused in class. Ron demonstrated at kata kosa tori where uke goes behind the back of nage (sort of)...i love this throw. I got so lost every time i got to do it...then we got to do it Again with no hands...lost in the weeds was I! I hope today feels different. ;o)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

bite, bark, bark, bite?

My mother used to say “his bark is worse than his bite” I never got that. So was he not responsible for his bark? Anger dealt at others can be hurtful. I am responsible for the energy I put out into the world. My bark, as well as my bite.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It is summer still.

Classes, hot and sweaty,

Gis stick,

Hakamas clench at ankles,

Ukemi feels relaxed,

Joints are lubricated,

After 22 years at 52… it’s summer still.

Aikido takes life and makes it livable.

It’s summer still.

Monday, August 16, 2010

to be a beginner every day

is my goal. My mind, when fresh and open, learns. Kai learning how to do back falls yesterday was a wonderful example of taking encouragement and practicing a skill again and again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

connection past my ego

Me: How can I make my experience with nage different?

Ron Sensei: Connect more, follow more.

Me: But, but, but…aren’t I responsible only for myself? For following where nage leads?

Ron Sensei: Yes.

Me: Then how come I have to do more?

Ron Sensei: Do you want to connect more or be right?

Me: Both, to be truthful…and by taking your suggestion have changed the experience. Thank you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My bokken floats

through my finger tips,

Stopping only when the turns stops,

Directed lightly by my hips and hands and energy.

What happens to my uke when handled the same way?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two hot days in July

…two very fun, sweaty classes.

Small classes but lots of Aikido experience on the mat …the same 5 people both days. Mary, Ron, Charlie, Dora and Ann…we saw from behind our eyes, with our eyes closed, we stayed on the mat and then stepped off and gave up our turn…then we attacked and defended with tanto’s…it got really unorthodox and we forgot we were hot.

Such fun, on the mat, during the hottest days of the year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back on the mat

This is my 13 year practising Aikido. Long enough that I cannot imagine my life w/o it. As many of you will likely affirm in yourselves, I start to get cranky when I can't go to class. My body begins to ache in ways it does not normally. Not just for the fun physical activity, but the closeness and touch that comes along with it. We practise a very intimate art, yet it feels so safe and pure in our dojo spaces that I miss it deeply when I have lengths of time off the mat. 

I also see a great importance in having time off the mat, that I did not understand much until this year. It is the moment I return. that my be-ing knows I have come home.

I am about to take one of my wonderful yearly excursions to the desert to play with stone and mud. The starkness and harshness and colours of the land speak to me. It is a well isolated and fairly free of human impact and noise. A true quiet space where I feel the smallness and greatness of my being and the grandness of earth. Friends and more from all over the US and Canada are coming to be together. A true safe and intimate space. Completely outside patriarchy. Because I share a deep resonance with you my dojo-mates I want you to understand why I go there.

But back to my original thought.... the absence of aikido in those times. More and more aikido has become internalised for me through training. Aikido is generally a shared activity and in its most joyous expression is a whole dojo full! Nothing beats a rambunctious class! but because of being an adventurer. I want to visit other places that take me away from regular practise for varying lengths of time. How not to lose my connection to my beloved art and minimise the absence of shared practise?

Well thankfully I took to heart many years ago what Mary and Ron Sensei told me. Do your ki exercises, everyday. Work with a weapon regularly, and of course "shadow practise". (doesn't hurt to do a few rolls either!) I am also grateful for the sister practise I have with t'ai chi/qigong. All the principles are nearly identical, so I find that the solo practise of t'ai chi qigong (empty handed or w/ sword) helps a lot. Keeps in body memory my connection to my centre.

A bit more than a month seems like a long time, but as I wrote, I know when I have returned home when I step back onto the mat.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Are 5 classes a week enough?

How come I still want more? I considered driving up to Pittsfield tonight to train with Kim. The brush pile called me instead and then the lawn mower. Maybe next week.

Friday, May 28, 2010

no classes this weekend

feels good and like something is missing. I like a couple of days off so I miss it and I hate a couple of days off cause I miss it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kai coming to class

opened my heart in a new way. I loved seeing him feel the joy of Aikido for the first time. He had a great time. Thanks everyone, for sharing your experience with Kai.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Today I had an opportunity to say a few words at the end of the seminar and now I can't remember what I said. :-)

I do know that I found myself feeling frustrated with my inability to communicate clearly. I often have the experience of speaking to a group about something and afterward knowing that what I managed to say was not nearly adequate enough to express what I wanted to say. It's interesting to me that verbal communication seems so clumsy sometimes in terms of making the connection with people in the same way that I experience on the mat nonverbally. I do experience connection in conversation, one to one. Speaking to a group however, is not easy. I use that occasion to practice keeping one point. That includes letting go of self judgement.

Finding the appropriate ideas and words to express myself clearly, is challenging. Self consciousness, nerves, whatever, pop up. And that just freezes me up and makes access to thoughts difficult. It's definitely a good practice for me. (I'm glad we're taking a break from talking after class. I needed it. Didn't know I needed a break but I did.) It's funny that I don't experience this so much anymore when I'm teaching aikido. Maybe because it's specific and focused in that moment and I know the topic. :-)

When I look at where I was in this one thing, speaking in front of a group, before aikido, and then look at where I am today, I know that aikido has helped me grow in confidence, self acceptance and courage. I understand more deeply how my aikido practice can be applied in my daily life. This is one of those ways. I'm very grateful.

Friday, April 16, 2010


of how I feel or how others feel is my practice. After awareness comes acceptance...then I can decide if I want to do anything about the situation. When uke attacks I can step in, I can step aside or I can turn. Each response is in the moment. When I really pay attention I can see the details. I have the wherewithal to do what needs to be done in the now. Freedom is here. Freedom is now. (Did you see the hawk in the picture?)

Monday, March 8, 2010

as i walked by the river today

i was present. i felt sun on my face, teased away by a tiny breeze. i smelled mud. i threw dry, craggy branches into the current to watch them float or get tangled up with other branches. i love running water. rivers are my mother's veins. i feel the earth's life force. i appreciate her strength and beauty by the river. my ki is restored.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Perspective-winning and losing

This morning I was playing a simple card game with my 7 year old. We call the game high low, or more commonly called war (for adults). The only rule is that upon the toss, the person who throws the highest card "wins" both cards, and subsequently adds an additional card to their own stockpile for future throws. The game ends when one person is out of cards to throw. But who "wins"? Along the way, my creative child decided to change the rule from whoever ends up with the most cards wins, to whoever loses his cards first wins. This child just wants to win! It's o.k. with me, because, as you may or may not know, this simple game can seemingly last forever! Ah, but the tides turned once more and wouldn't you know, the rule happened to change once more back to the original. Once again, fine with me. The emotional tie to winning, however, showed itself prior to the final rule change. Sadness appeared when the game was nearing it's finale. One may think that I should have not let my child change the rules along the way, and let my child accept the consequences of losing. But, as a result of my Aikido training, I saw a potential teaching and learning experience for myself and my child. You see, it was quite amazing to view the different emotional ups and downs throughout the game that were experienced as a result of the ties to the perception of winning or losing. Winning is good, losing is bad. Both are perceptions with links to emotions. It appears to be an innate drive for survival. Generally, in life, their are many more losses than there are wins, when something tangible is linked to the game. Casinos were made to play on that emotional perception and supports my statement. Nobody wins all the time, and most not even some of the time. The odds are against us.
Getting back to the game with my child, we continued the the near completion of the game and less and less cards were in my hand. Happiness was in the eyes of the holder of the most cards and victory seemed eminent. This is when I had the idea that I would favor the second rule, while my child could chose whichever rule to abide by. This was a sort of compromise that turned a game into just playing, with no matter who technically wins. I could have easily sad the one who loses "wins". It wouldn't matter. When winning and losing were taken out of the equation, by simply stating that no matter the outcome, we both we had fun in the process. So, I hope that taught my child that there will always be times to win and lose, such is life, but in the process and in the moment, their are always different ways to look at, or perceive those moments and that the game is not who wins or loses, it's how you play the game and what you learn as a result. The chips are going to fall where they may, many times out of our control with rules created by those who are out of reach and unknown, handling and managing perceptions during the process is the key to being happy in life. Feel and let go, feel and let go. Lead and follow, take and give. Be open to it all and experience what comes and goes.
So, my Aikido practice has revealed to me that by letting go of my preconceived perceptions or notions of what my uke will do, I am more able to blend with what my is giving or offering me in their energies and movement, especially while practicing randori on the mat. The moment when both or all of us realize that we are out to not hurt on another(we would lose members all the time) and we are there to partake in the give and take, ebb and flow of the moment, and truely learn and experience what Aikido has to offer us, the more satisfying and gratifying Aikido is for me. That is the internal challenge that exists in long term practice. How can I release all of the walls, notions, preconceptions and misconceptions so that I could be free to see what is being offered and in response take care of myself and others.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Weather

The other day I went for a walk in the park near my home. It was quite sunny while I was at my desk and as I dressed for the cold outside air. As I stepped out the sun slipped behind some clouds. I stared at the sky and grumbled a little, but began my walk down the street towards the park. All along the way I kept my eye on the sky. I could see that dark cloud obscuring my sun. All the while I walked though the woods, across the field, up the hill, and down to the river. I kept wishing for the cloud to move on its way. The wind was blowing steady on the ground, but that cloud hardly seemed to move. I was halfway on my usual walk, feeling agitated and annoyed. The weather and that darn cloud were just not cooperating and it was ruining my walk! And then I had an aikido moment. Somewhere in all that annoyance and mild agitation I had the a-ha. I had before me an opportunity. That cloud could be an annoyance or it could be an uke. Ukes on the mat give me many opportunities to face and let go of my issues of control. When I have felt annoyed or agitated because my uke was doing something “wrong” (not conforming to my preconceived agenda) I most often find the resistance in myself. My Uke is merely giving me a gift; an opportunity to not have an agenda and just receive what they offer. My only concern on the mat is to meet uke where they are and take in what they offer. When that happens the easy and joyous blending of aikido happens. So I took another look at that cloud. I asked myself, “if this is an uke what gift am I being given?’ I paused at the top of the hill and took in the sky with a different gaze. I saw the sky, brilliant blue with masses of winter clouds all through it. And though they looked dark they were aglow with the light of the sun behind them. The sun was not gone, but instead illuminating the clouds, letting a myriad of colours come through and of course the edges of cloud let the light rays out in suspires, which would never have been seen if the clouds were not there to begin with. I smiled and found myself humming and cloud-watching the rest of the way home. Uke can come in many forms, even in the weather.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

guess what?

i get to pay attention again. be in the moment again. that is the secret. again and again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ron made a suggestion

last night...

he is my teacher after all

my ego rose up to protest

we talked a bit more

by bedtime i thought it was a good idea....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

river of ki,

sea of ki,

in the flow,

turn you boat around and go with the current,

keep moving,

relax against the rocks,

brick hits velvet curtan and is enveloped,

extension of feeling to greet and welcome,

river of ki,

sea of ki.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

learning frustration

Changing in time and allowing your self to over come frustration on the mat with techniques that you have done in the past and now they are some what strange and foreign to you , It is all in part of ones self development or refinement . It is like polishing a piece of metal it will eventually yield a very bright and shine product.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All That is Required

Enter and turn is all that is required
Even if I don't know what comes next.
The result will be whatever it is
It is that moment of blending
The fit of uke and nage that matters

Sometimes in aikido (and in life) I think I have to know the outcome. I try to impose my will and make uke do what I think they are supposed to. When that has happened to me as uke it feels uncomfortable, forced. The moment of "aikido" is lost and it becomes more martial than art, even if it is both. When those moments arise I know I am being offered a gift. A chance to experience freedom from preconceived notions of endings. The end result of the throw or pin is just the last part of something greater and bigger than my or uke's actions. It is the fit, the coming together of our energies that matters . I only need to show up, to have and open mind, to let go of my agenda. Enter and turn. the end result will be aikido.

Monday, January 4, 2010

my intention for the new year is

to continue my journey as a "getting better uke"! i used to hate to be uke....i was always waiting to be nage. now i love to uke and enjoy Aikido so much more.