Competition. Get a point. Make the other guy fall. Punch him in the face. Block his punch. Sweep the knee! Whuh? If a fight is the end all, be all, have at it. Keep your focus right where it is. Good luck getting real world results with that mindset outside the ring, mat, gym, club, office, school, dinner table, or wherever you may be duking it out. In above situation, the obstacle is the focus. We’re fighting the competitor. We’re locked into dealing with the problem. Wrestling it. But then what? What happens when we do that? Usually, if this is our mindset, we just move on to the next problem and rinse, repeat. I propose we do something else. With Aikido, I’ve learned that we need to realize said obstacle is essentially unimportant and to focus on the positive outcome, whatever that may be. If you can do like O’Sensei, and do it while someone’s shooting at you or coming at you with a live blade, please, email me, and you’re guaranteed a guest post. Something to work for, though.
Routine. The word tends to bring to mind negative connotations. It resembles the boring grind. It exemplifies complacency and monotony. I agree that being stuck in a routine can be a bad thing. There are some aspects of having a routine that can serve us well though. I think ‘routine’ may be the wrong word for what I’m getting at. What I’m thinking of is more of a ‘ritual’ than a ‘routine’.
Through time rituals have been developed and passed down from generation to generation to keep a certain idea or way of doing something going. Mindfully used, rituals can be a good thing. When rituals become dogma, that’s when it turns into a mindless ritual and loses its purpose. Having mindful rituals can be great and setting the right ones up can really help us. In Aikido, we have many routines. They all have purpose though. In our dojo, we bow and clap twice at the beginning and end of every class to shoe away the bad mojo and bring in the good mojo and awareness. We mindfully bow to each other before and after training to make the short time we have to train with that particular person that much more meaningful. Rituals can be a good thing. Set some up. Try it out. Stay away from ritual sacrifices, though. Leave the farm animals alone. Other than that, go nuts on the rituals and use them to improve your life.
So, in case you were wondering why I haven’t been updating AikiLiving much last month, it’s because I’ve been consumed with, among my daily life responsibilities, writing my 50,000 word novel for a win in the 2011 NaNoWriMo contest, which I achieved at the very last minute the afternoon of November 30th! It was a great accomplishment and I kind of decided at the last minute to do it. It took about 90 minutes a day for 30 days straight of non stop writing and brain vomiting. Thanks to Ommwriter for the software that helped get me in the zen mindset to commit myself to it. Anyways, stay tuned, because you’ll be seeing the regular posts resume here at AikiLiving.
By the way, kind of playing around with the new look. How bout that header logo heh? I really liked the old one, but this one has some features I really like which are too geeky to get into here. Lemme know what you think.
I just want to take a few minutes to say thanks. I figured it was fitting being Thanksgiving and all. I Thank all of my friends, family, strangers, and enemies who have supported, subscribed, read, and spread this blog over the past 11 months. I know, a lot of you I promised bribes to if you read it, and I’m sorry I haven’t delivered, but… you’re still reading it, aren’t you? In all seriousness, thank you. Writing this blog has changed my life, and I won’t get all deep and cranberry saucey right here on ya, but please know, I appreciate all of your kind words of support. A lot of you have joined the conversation here at Aiki Living, and that’s great. I hope you’ve gotten as much out of it as I have. To all of my Aikido friends, I couldn’t be more thankful for a crazier group of aiki freaks than you. You’re the best, and it’s been wonderful growing with you on our journey through this great art. To all of my non-Aikido friends, well, you’re crazy too and I love ya. Here’s to a great Thanksgiving.
Why is it weird to meditate in public? It is. Think about it. You go to a park and see someone taking a nap under a tree or on a bench. No big deal. At that same park, you see a kid amped up on Mountain Dew and whatever else, with his mom screaming at him while his little sister lies on the grass crying because he just tested out his suplex on her. Not out of the ordinary. See someone meditating though, and you’re kinda like, wtf? It’s just kind of weird and out of place. Even for us who do meditate and are open to that kind of thing, it’s still kinda weird to see it in public in our western world. Why is that? I believe acceptance of it is growing, and although it’s not a big deal, I think it does say a lot about where we are. Complete unconsciousness is normal. Complete frantic chaos is normal. Relaxed introspection and practicing inner awareness is out of place in public. Just an observation.