I used to think that all men were saviors. Then I thought all men were abusers.
When I was a little girl I thought men kept us safe and protected us from the world. After I started training I thought all men hurt women and there was no hope.
Now I know the truth is complicated. Good men exist. Good men do bad things sometimes. Bad men do bad things and maybe good things sometimes.
No man is coming to save me. That is my job. I can learn from all situations. Every single moment can teach me more about survival and thriving.
I spent many years looking for my knight is shining armor. Trust me…he is not sitting on a bar stool.
I starting training in Aikido and found a good man: but better than that I found a good woman who no longer was willing to be saved or be abused.
In aikido I found my own power. It started subtly as I trained with men who were rough around the edges but had good hearts. Men who encouraged me to roll and to wear my white gi pants to fit in; that didn’t care if I looked pretty or got sweaty.
There were men in that dojo that were self-absorbed and sexist …just like there is all over the world. There were men who did not want to be taught by a woman and who told me that women can’t get strong enough to protect themselves.
I just kept training and teaching. People that did not like our way at our dojo went away. We find that good people stay. We found that men are good and strong and respectful just as women are good and strong and respectful.
As we change, the people that we surround ourselves with change too. I am responsible for the choices I make. As men and women train together they can receive and give the best from each other.
Last night I felt hopeless…just not wanting to do anything which is not like me. I sat curled in my comfy chair sniffling…without the energy to even give it a good cry. At work I had some conflict and it triggered me again. I felt unsafe and locked the door.
I am learning what triggered feels like from trying the solution that Ron and I have agreed on. I tell him that I think I am triggered and we work together to get me back to the zone of tolerance by doing the exercise that includes noting 5 things that I can see, 4 things that I can feel, 3 things that I can hear, 2 things that I can smell and 1 thing that I can taste.
Being triggered manifests in me with hopeless thoughts, like no ones loves me, life is meaningless and I suck. It does not make sense to me as I write this but the solution worked so brilliantly that it must be true.
After I did the sensory exercise to get me back into the tolerance zone I was right back to my chipper self.
The simplicity of this astounds me because I have suffered a lot from this over the years. I am so grateful for this new process and I accept it gratefully.
Uke is a positive role. It is not just waiting to be nage. Aikido is not about overpowering each other but learning, together, how to resolve unrest, conflict and disorder.
Uke provides nage with the opportunity to feel another person’s energy, physicality and essence. Nage provides uke with the opportunity to let go in a controlled environment, to not have to be in total control and to give a gift of energy.
Aikido happens when uke and nage work together to resolve the conflict or attack of the moment. Being as in the now as one can be makes the experience so fun and educational.
By being the best uke or nage we can be in each moment we provide earnestness.
Earnestness is defined as: sincere and intense conviction. It is such a sacred gift to give to each other. In this world where really being seen and heard by others is rare and fleeting we come together in the dojo to see and feel each other deeply as we strive to become safer and more comfortable in the world.
Everyone can’t be a wildly athletic uke or a smooth polished nage. Yet we can start right where we are and do our best. That is all earnestness requires of us. We just be who we on any given day.
Some days I feel totally healthy and happy. Other days I feel grumpy and sore. I have practiced when I was limping because of an injured knee from carrying too much weight for my frame. I got to practice from a revolving armless office chair that was actually fun when I got over my ego. I had a chronic back injury for years that is finally fixed by a super intuitive physical therapist and now I can sport freely in all realms. I lost weight and my knees have healed completely.
What I learned through that 10 year process was that I had value on the mat anyway; whether I was perfectly healthy or not. I do have way more fun when I am healthy. But all practice is valuable. So challenge yourself to go to class when you want to be a couch tater.
We love to see you. Yes, even if you can’t fall. Even if you are just watching. You matter. As do we all.
I am leaving this just because I like it.