Changing of Seasons

It seems lately that our seasons are changing in the flash of an instant! I never know , when I travel to teach seminars, whether or not to pack jeans, shorts or a snow suit! But it’s always changing, so to try to control it would be futile. Our training seems to be the same. Actually, our life and training are not separate. It’s just life. Just this moment, happening right now.

When we first begin training, we do so with so much energy and enthusiasm that we are at the dojo every day. We fall in love with aikido and tell ourselves that this is going to make our life less stressful, less hectic and more fulfilling. In six months or less, life takes over. Demands at work seem to require more hours away from aikido and the little time we have, we feel guilty if we do not give it to our families or significant other. We miss more aikido classes. Sensei calls or emails and we are embarrassed to return. What’s the use, right? We have just fallen back into the cycle of life and death. Want to break out of it? Do you want to not be subject to life and death? Ok. Here’s the secret. Wait for it….quit fighting yourself. Stop seeing yourself as separate and special. To transcend this cycle, you must realize that you are the cycle.

This reminds me of a wonderful poem by the Layman P’ang.

In my daily life there are no other chores than
Those that happen to fall into my hands.
Nothing I choose, nothing reject.
Nowhere is there ado, nowhere a slip.
I have no other emblems of my glory than
The mountains and hills without a spot of dust.
My magical power and spiritual exercise consists in
Carrying water and gathering firewood.

We are frequently subject to life circumstances that require us to miss training. But isn’t our life training, as well? Our life is training and training is our life. Once we complete our latest project at work, take care of our sick child or visit our parents on their birthday, we return to our training at the dojo. In reality we have never left our life.
Enjoy your training and your life. Don’t be too hard on yourself and know that your teacher wants the very best for you in your training-life.

Train every day, every month and every year because your life could depend on it.