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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.

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner!

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.

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much thanks

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.

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no introspection allowed

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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.

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the truth about lies

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We’re told our whole lives to not lie.  Don’t lie to your teacher.  Don’t lie to your parents.  Don’t lie to your friends, or your boss, or your attorney, or your auto mechanic, or your brother’s friend’s sister’s husband.  We hear it all the time, and then we get that rebellious moment when we do it.  We lie.  We lie to our teacher and say we didn’t do it.  Hmmmm, it works.  So we do it again.  Later in life we might lie to our boss and call in sick when we’re not.  Some people, if faced with a life or death situation, may have to lie to save their life or their families.  Unless you’re in the CIA or something, most of us usually won’t stumble into this extreme of a situation, but who knows, right?
What I’m saying is that no matter how noble we may think we are, lying happens.  The most self-proclaimed honest person you know has lied and is lying to you as soon as they tell you they’ve never lied.  Here’s the catch, though.  Lying may ‘work’ with others.  It may even be practical at times.  Lying to yourself, however, is never permissible.  We get away with lying to others and we think that it works with ourselves.  When we lie to ourselves, we close off and lock away crazy amounts of garbage.  Being brutally honest with yourself is huge and leads to ridiculous growth and ousting of bad mojo.  It takes courage, though.  It’s scary to face certain issues we may be trying to hide from ourselves, so it’s easier to lie to ourselves and say that it’s not a problem.  As long as we continue with this mindset, we’re just fooling ourselves.  Being brutally honest with ourselves brings whatever it is to light and we deal with it, either letting it go, changing it, whatever it is that suits us best, and we can move on.  More often than not, we suffocate it with the proverbial pillow of our ego until it goes into dormant mode, popping up when we least expect it.
In aiki, we meet the energy no matter how bad it may be.  Usually, when brought to light, the dragon isn’t as bad as it seems and just wants to pass through, but we don’t allow it to.  I think that the more honest we are with ourselves, the more honest we’ll be with others.  Then again, I might be lying.  Only way to find out is to try it and see.

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