August 17, 2020
For those of you who know Crystal Aldrich from earlier ASNJ-days: Rachel and I just were thrilled to host her bridal shower at our home this past weekend. She will be eloping with her fiancé, Dan Hoisington, in October. Sharon Dominguez, whom most of you know (especially those of you who have done the NYA-road trip) will be officiating the wedding. Please join Rachel and I in sending love and blessings to Crystal and Dan.
Connie Trumper just passed the 1st phase of her yoga teacher certification. Some would say you have to bend over backwards to be a yoga instructor. Let's all give her a big congratulations on her accomplishment.
Two new members joined last week, one each for Iaido and Aikido classes. If you see a new face, it is not just Alzheimer's setting in, say “Hi.” We are getting a mixed turn out at some of the classes which is to be expected with the current world but I hope to see more of you more often to support the dojo and your fellow aikidoka. Our strength is our community. During hard times as these is when our best selves need to be shared.
I have been discussing many topics in the TCC class and realized not everyone can join so I want to share with you some of the lessons. Obviously, I cannot go into as much detail in an email as I can in class (although some of my emails seem like I can) but I wanted to share what I can.
First, I was asked what books to read. I suggested the Tao Te Ching. Sensei Lehrman's favorite translation, https://terebess.hu/english/tao/bynner.html, is by Witter Bynner. I have not read this version but if it is good enough for Sensei Lehrman, you get the idea. Also, you can read the whole book free online if you prefer not to buy it.
We discussed the secret to “discover your center” last week. I used to charge people thousands of dollars to go on a TCC mountain retreat and give them the secret but now, for a limited time only.... Sorry, I was having fun. There is no secret. We talk about “our center” all the time. It is not a secret, for some practitioners it is a mystery but not a secret. It just is. We have it, we experience it, but like our heart beating, we ignore it most of the time.
Use your practice to slow down, quiet the mind and pay attention to your body. [Sensei Lehrman's Wednesday meditation class is a perfect environment for this and a great way to practice this.] When you practice this way, at some point (which is different for everyone) something clicks and you discover a connection: sometimes it’s your spine, sometimes your hand to your toes, sometimes it’s everything. You may have an epiphany in awareness, and then it disappears. Just keep practicing, it will happen again. And then another time and eventually more frequently. That is the big secret. Practice but with awareness.
On the mat, if your focus is on the throw, you will most likely not rediscover it. If your focus is on your body, your foot touching the ground, uke holding your wrist and how that affects your foot and the ground, you will discover it. After a while, you will no longer think this is anything other than normal. When you put weight in your foot and turn your waist, your arms move. That is it. You can see why I don’t take people to a mountain retreat anymore. Too many of them wanted refunds.
If you have any thoughts or questions, let me know. I am always reachable by email, cell phone and am at the dojo at least 4 times a week, unless I have a bridal shower to cook for.