Saturday, February 13, 2010
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.