Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Aikido”

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  • September 1, 2022

    Every Day Gratitude: It's in the Noticing

    Every Day Gratitude: It's in the Noticing

    “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” 
    ― Rumi

    Recently I was in a group under a tent on a beautiful day. The purpose of the gathering was to celebrate a beloved soul taken too early from a happy, meaning-filled life. The speakers were kind and considerate, and often tearful. I sat in the very large group, one of many who loved this person, and I looked about me at the loving faces, feeling the warm sun, a light breeze, and the depth of our common connection. And I noticed the ki moment....

  • March 1, 2022

    Love's in need of love today

    Love's in need of love today

    The gospel according to Stevie Wonder goes like this: 

    Love’s in need of love today

    Don’t delay, send yours in right away

    Hate’s goin' 'round breakin' many hearts

    Stop it, please, before it’s gone too far

    Love’s in need of love today

    And from Thích Nhất Hạnh 

    When you understand and you show you understand, you can love, and the situation changes.

    I recently returned from The Magic of Skiing program, held yearly by my friend and mentor, author and teacher Thomas Crum. It was indeed a magical program--a week of meditation, physical activity, deep conversation and community in the magical town of Aspen, Colorado. And, of course, skiing!! What I walked away with was a renewed sense of wonder at the love that exists in each of us.....

  • February 1, 2022

    this mystery called existence

    this mystery called existence

    Last month I wrote about my intention to be more patient. I would ask for "just a little more" patience with life, with obstacles, with other people, and in general.

    Today I'm being patient with myself. My energy is low, I don't feel like myself, and it's hard not to wish for a different state of being. So I'm just noticing, wondering and writing. As Rumi says in my favorite Rumi poem...

  • November 1, 2021

    Thankful to Be Thankful--It's a Practice

    Thankful to Be Thankful--It's a Practice

    From early on in my professional career, and probably my whole life, I've been thankful that I'm thankful. Because I'm an aikidoist who teaches conflict skills, and because aikido teaches that the attack can be a gift when we embrace the energy, my ability to notice what's good has grown.

    My first book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict consists of 28 stories dedicated to this theme. And my blog is filled with posts about gratitude as a path to center, and the people in my life who have shown me how to be thankful, even when there seems to be nothing to be thankful for.

    And there are days, of course, when I forget to practice. I don't start the day with gratitude and I don't say "Thank you very much," when someone gets in my way. And that day isn't usually as easy or as fun. I notice what's hard and what's not good in my life, instead of what is.

    But because I do practice most days, I usually find my way back. And sometimes I get reminded. 

    I was reminded recently by a movie....

  • August 9, 2021

    The Mask as Metaphor

    The Mask as Metaphor

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about masks. Of course I'm always alert to situations in which conflict might rear its head. I'm not looking for it, but I pay attention when it arises. I process, often in the moment, what I do, how I feel, and where I am on the centering continuum.

    I'm also curious about how people are managing this whole crazy pandemic world we're in, and what I might learn from talking with those who feel differently from me. Also, this was a friend I trust to be thoughtful, kind, and as curious as I am about these things. 

  • May 4, 2021

    Questions About Common Conflicts

    Questions About Common Conflicts

    In my workshops and coaching, I'm often asked about how to resolve specific conflicts. Especially now that workshops are happening on Zoom, the questions that appear in "Chat" will often have similar themes. Two themes that appear frequently are ones around new relationships and others around "letting go."

  • January 12, 2021

    What is Leadership Presence? -- Finding Center, Accomplishing Purpose

    What is Leadership Presence? -- Finding Center, Accomplishing Purpose

    Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose...."

    ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., "Where Do We Go From Here"

    "Presence" can be tricky to define, and "leadership presence" trickier. Google searches produce thousands of pages and hundreds of thousands of hits. We're interested, it seems, in knowing what they mean, whether we have them, and how to acquire them.

    Fact is, we all have presence--a quality of mind, body and spirit that is us. Sometimes our presence is more evident to others, sometimes less. Sometimes we feel big, sometimes small and contracted.

    When we walk into a room, we influence the people and the environment in that room by our presence in it. It has changed because of us. And we are changed by our experience of what is already there.

    If you're aware of energy flow, you'll observe these changes when people enter and leave, and you'll gain awareness of how you can be more intentional about the influence you have.

    How would you describe your unique presence? ...

  • December 1, 2020

    Shifting Attention: Finding the Gift

    Shifting Attention: Finding the Gift

    The way we know is fateful... Human beings and organizations move in the direction of what they inquire about. 

    ~ Jane Magruder Watkins, Appreciative Inquiry Theory and Practice

    Tell me a story about the best Christmas, best Hanukkah, best holiday season you ever had. What made it so wonderful? Who was involved? What about that time makes you remember it so vividly? How did you contribute to its special qualities? Write the story down if you like.

    As you think about this special time of year, what do you think is at the heart of the holiday you celebrate? Can you look for that this season?

    Sometimes, when the world feels upside down, fear and anxiety dominate our thoughts, and we forget to appreciate the gifts all around us, and especially the beauty and joy of this season. It happens to me, too. Just like any practice, however, we can get better at shifting toward what's good, what works, what is there to be loved and appreciated....

  • August 25, 2020

    Awase in the Time of Covid

    Awase in the Time of Covid

    by Aaron Cass

    The word Aikido (合気道) is made up of three kanji. The first character, 合(ai), may be translated as ‘harmony,’ ‘confluence,’ or ‘agreement.’ This kanji can also be used on its own as the verb 合わせる(awaseru) meaning to ‘match,’ ‘fit,’ or ‘join together.’ If I wanted to set my watch to someone else’s we would 時計を合わせる, tokei wo awaseru, ‘set our watches to the same time.’

    In the context of training, much of our practice is 合わせ稽古 (awasegeiko), or what might be called cooperative practice. We refer to the person who applies the technique as 投げ (nage, ‘person who throws’) or 取り (tori, ‘person who executes the technique’). The attacker, who later finds himself on the receiving end of the technique, is called 受け (uke, literally, ‘person who receives’). These are prescribed roles, and in class we alternate between them with our partners as we practice.

    One of the greatest criticisms of Aikido on the Internet--for those who pay attention to these sorts of things--stems from this approach to training. When uke attacks, he knows he’s going to be thrown or pinned. As nage, we know we’re going to ‘win’ and successfully apply our technique to the other person because that’s our role. The criticism then becomes that Aikido is merely an elaborate performance in which people take turns falling down for one another like some sort of martial dance....

  • June 2, 2020

    Not Too Close! New Normal, New World

    Not Too Close! New Normal, New World

    Friend and colleague, Susan Poulin, produced a sweet video--The Coronavirus Shuffle--when the C-Virus first started making itself known here in NH and Maine. Susan's an author, playwright, and performance artist aka her wise and funny alter ego, Ida LeClair from Mahoosuc Mills, ME. In the video Susan/Ida reminds us what we should do to stay safe, while singing, dancing, and gesturing phrases like: "Wash your hands!" and "Wave to your neighbor!", and "Not too close! Not too close!" 

    Ida would be happy to know how often I think of her when I'm washing my hands, waving at a neighbor, or when I've wanted to respond to a close shopper or runner the way she does: "Not too close! Not too close!" Instead, I laugh at myself and regain my center.

    There is plenty about this new virus that doesn't make me smile, of course, at least not at first. One of the changes I've had to make, for example, is moving most of my in-person training (workshops, presentations, one-on-one coaching) to an online format. What?! Aikido movements on Zoom? How could that possibly work?

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