Let the movement be a joyful celebration so that it uplifts, vitalises and enriches both tori and uke.

Vibrant and joyful

“Always train vibrantly and joyfully.”  Morihei Ueshiba

Even when tired or dispirited, we can change so much by smiling, by deliberately feeling joyful (not just thinking it: feeling it with every cell), by softening and allowing breathing to deepen, by being mindful of ki flow, by strengthening posture.  Fatigue and distraction float away.  There is such power in thought and posture.

with thanks to Charles M Schultz

Enjoy the journey

When you’re learning something like meditation or snowboarding, you’re GOING to fall over a lot! This is to be expected.

The trick is to see the value in the PROCESS rather than only the end result.

Remember to enjoy the journey … even the falls!

An old Zen saying goes something like, “The brittle branch breaks in the wind, but the bamboo is subtle, it bends and therefore does not break.”

In snowboarding, the easiest way to descend is in a zigzag pattern. You balance sideways on the board, skiing at a 45-degree angle down the mountain.

Sounds good so far, right? 🙂 The only problem is that sooner or later you run out of mountain and you have to turn the board the other way! To do this, you actually have to point the nose of the board DOWN the mountain … and this means you start picking up speed … VERY quickly… Eeeeek!

To keep your balance, you have to do the very thing that is not obvious at first. You must point the snowboard DOWN the mountain and lean into it. It’s a counter-intuitive thing.

Of course your natural reaction is to lean onto your back foot. Unfortunately this only makes you go faster without turning until you eventually fall over.

Same thing applies in mind-body practice. You need to go WITH rather than against the flow of life.

Look at the flow of a river.

Does it get frightened or upset when it runs up against an obstacle? Does it hesitate, resist or blame itself when an obstacle appears in its path? Of course not.

The water just allows itself to go where it must, redirecting without effort or resistance. When we run up against [an obstacle] there’s no need to fight it. Instead we dive into the feeling of it – just like the water – all we need to do is allow the flow of our being to redirect.

Above all, when we’re learning a skill, it helps to have someone keep reminding us what we need to do step-by-step… [but of course in aikido we don’t ‘step’…]
Matt Clarkson, The Mind-Body Training Company