Wow. I think I’ve trained, maybe, six times since January 1, 2012. That’s 15 months back from today. Life got in the way, as it does sometimes, but this is all part of the training process, I suppose.
A lot happened, to say the least. Half of that time was spent helping my dad on a project he got funding for (which was awesome) which failed (which sucked), seeing his hopes shattered at the age of 68 of climbing out of the financial hole he’d been in for decades.
And the other half was spent seeing his health decline (going), caring for him during his bout with cancer (going), and finally, his passing (gone).
Not to get too bleak here, as this is not my intention, but it’s been a rough 15 months to say the least. It’s why I haven’t been writing here much. But to shed some light on this, the good news is, my wife and I are expecting a baby this summer. I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced the whole spectrum of emotion lately – from extreme anguish and depression to ecstatic joy and love.
Even though I haven’t trained much in the dojo, I feel that some of my toughest training days have taken place off the mat these last months. Seeing my father, within a matter of weeks, transformed from the man who once showed me how to drive a car to wasting away into a skeleton who needed my assistance eating and showering, among a myriad of other things I never thought I’d have to help him with.
It was like that sword coming out of nowhere that you have no choice but to sloppily blend with in whatever way possible in order to not be cut down by.
You have no time to fear what’s happening and all you can do is quickly find your center and move.
There were times I completely lost my cool, screaming at the sky to remove me and my family from this situation that we didn’t choose to be in – caring for a depressed man who only wanted to leave this world – only to calm down minutes later and realize how foolish a request that was.
This is life. The good and the bad of it. The high and the low.
And those times of screaming at the sky in nightmarish despair were balanced by those similar earnest, quiet whispers of thanks and appreciation for what is to come in replacing that lost life with new birth.
It’s amazing, really. I wouldn’t wish what I experienced with my dad on anyone, but I also wouldn’t change a thing. My dad is the one who introduced me to the art, giving me my first aikido book when I was about 10 years old.
I remember being mesmerized by the pictures of that tiny old man throwing those huge guys around the mat. I remember doing the ki breathing exercises in my bedroom (I was a weird kid, what can I say?) and feeling how relaxed and balanced it made me feel.
Although I couldn’t afford to sign up in a dojo until much later in life, it was the spark that led me to this path, and I’m forever grateful to him for igniting it.
Aikido has brought my shouts of anger and displays of affection from being directed at the sky to being brought inwards towards the center of my being, as I now realize that ‘out there’ doesn’t really exist.
I can only hope to imbue my future little girl with my lessons learned on the mat, as one is never too young to learn from a good old fashion Shihonage:)
The good news is, I can now look forward to becoming a father, and getting back in the dojo while writing more in this blog. Aikido has never left my mind during my time away. Once you find a path, it’s something you come back to no matter how far you stray. Onegaishimasu.
Thanks to Triratna Photos for the image!