Road to 1st Kyu – Week 1 Day 4

Originally uploaded by markdeso

We’ve been working on a few interesting themes lately at our Aikido school. Sensei has been working with the state of “la la land”, “neutral zone” and “embodiment”. I’m working on a more thorough post of these states that I will publish later but as a part of my process towards 1st kyu, I’ll relate to it from that angle.

Some quick definitions:
la la land – that place we go to when we “check out”. The place that we allow ourselves to go to when we are not present. There is some attractiveness to this place or magnetism but it’s a place that leads us ultimately to entanglement.

Neutral zone – the state where we catch ourselves and start to pull out of la la land. We start to become present and in the moment.

Embodiment – the state where we are simply “here”. We have all the attractiveness of what brought us into la la land, but we have it in a fully present state of being.

So the goal of the past few classes have been to simply realize that there are these three states, and note what things happen in the body when we move from one state to another. This has been an eye opening practice for me. There are MANY different states of La la land that I find myself in.

As of late, I’ve been in the following: My son has been having some tough times in school with his grades. We’ve been working with a tutor but it’s been a hard road for him. The particular flavor of La la land that i go to is – Since Steven is not doing good right now in 8th grade, he will have a hard time at high school, won’t get into college, work jobs where he will feel less than and have a difficult time for the rest of his life. Yes, I know it’s ludicrous. But that part of my brain that goes there goes there for a reason. I think it goes here because it removes all the unknowns. I don’t have to be present and can indeed check out because his path is already mapped out.

The fact is his life is NOT mapped out and there is a world of possibility between now and then. There is a world of possibility between now and the end of the trimester. In fact, there is a world of possibility right now. Seeing this, having the ability to be present and at the very least understand why I go there is a huge thing for me and very empowering.

O’ Sensei founded Aikido with this in mind: “the martial arts are a way through which we fulfill our divine mission by making the spirit of the universe our own and fostering within us a spirit of loving protection for all things.” We cannot have the spirit of loving protection within us if we give up and resign ourselves to an outcome that is days, months or years away. Embodiment can only happen when we realize that there are a myriad of possibilities in front of us at all times.


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