My birthday is coming at full speed, and it's hard to believe it's been a year already. Although I am behind schedule, I remain on course and have nearly completed the oath I took this time last year. It has been very exciting and it's amazing how much you can learn by teaching. I am very happy with the fruits of these particular labors, they have yielded a far greater crop than I would have ever imagined. Stay tuned for an unofficial press release around April.
Aikido continues to be a source of discipline and peace. I had been struggling with another technique for nearly a week, again freezing up mid-way through, trying to follow the natural flow of energy. It is frustrating to be told repeatedly how to do it, shown how to do it, but remain unable to do it. Again I was observed intently and interrupted by wisdom.
"Do it with your eyes closed.."
I kept them open long enough to see the punch coming and shut them at the point of reception. It is an amazing sensation to follow your instinct, in the *right direction.* Although I didn't see it, it was reportedly the first time I performed the technique perfectly, and I admit there was something satisfying about the sound he made when he finally hit the mat. Again, it's all about the little things.
The next day, I watched as black belt students took turns performing "multiples" meaning they defended them selves against multiple attackers. It was entertaining and incredibly inspiring. I remember thinking someday I'll be able to do that, just as my sensei called me out onto the mat.
There is a strange inner calmness of confidence that is acquired through military combat. And that comes in handy when life throws you these kind of curve balls.
It wasn't as graceful or elegant as the black belts, but it was effective and after only two weeks of training I successfully performed several of the techniques I was taught and two that I had previously only seen. Not only was it a nice rush, it was a profound affirmation. A very nice little thing.
The ministry is going great, I have been cruising along for the last year and a half without any significant problems. The Prison visits are regular, consistent and without incident. I have established services in another state facility, I have been visiting regularly and have been asked to teach a few classes. Until I complete the orientation and get my credentials, they are required to supervise my religious services.
This last Friday the staff person started out next the the rear door and throughout the two hours, slowly leapfrogged her way to the front row and by the time we concluded the ritual, she had received the "communion" of cakes and ale and held hands during the dismissal. We ended with a cheerful "blessed be" and I asked her rhetorically "that wasn't so bad was it?" With a big grin she said no.
It only takes a single grain of rice to tip the scales, it was a nice day to be a piece of rice.
No victory is too small, thank you Lord and Lady for all the little things, and cheese, I love the cheese.